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In January 2016, 11 years from when he first started at Oregon State University and one bachelor’s degree later, Alfred Estimo became the director of finance for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
From an early age, Alfred knew he was going to be an OSU Beaver. He grew up in Warm Springs and every year from seventh grade through high school he would visit the OSU campus in Corvallis as part of the SMILE (Science & Math Investigative Learning Experiences) program, a precollege program supporting learning opportunities for students underrepresented in higher education in Oregon.
The visits had an impact on him. “Many of my family members support the Ducks, but I’m a Beaver,” he said.
After he graduated from Madras High School he headed to Corvallis to attend OSU. He did not finish his degree, however, and returned to Warm Springs to work.
Alfred took an entry level job with the Confederated Tribes in accounts payable. As he begin working his way up the ladder, he decided returning to complete his bachelor’s degree would be a good idea. The OSU campus in Bend would be an easier commute than Corvallis. Alfred became a Bend Beaver.
While earning his degree at OSU-Cascades, Alfred worked full time for the Confederated Tribes.
“There were a lot of late nights, a lot of working on the weekends,” he said.
His persistence to achieve even when life presented barriers was noticed by faculty.
Alfred came out of his shell at OSU-Cascades, working on team projects and even getting good at public speaking, something he says benefits him in his current role.
He earned his degree in 2012. That year First Lady Michelle Obama was the commencement speaker on the Corvallis campus. Alfred had the option to attend the ceremony in Corvallis, but chose to walk in the Bend ceremony instead so his friends and family would have an easier time attending.
As the director of finance for the Confederated Tribes, Alfred oversees all accounts payable, payroll, budgeting, contracts and grants, and cash management.
“Every day is something different, and challenging, and keeps me busy,” said Alfred. “I like providing service to my tribe and my community.”