Pfawnn Eskee’s glad to be home after a ten-year education tour

The newest member of the UNHS Behavioral Health team is a young lady whose passion for helping the people in her community inspired her through a long, ten-year journey that eventually led her home.

Pfawnn Eskee grew up in Red Mesa, Arizona and graduated from Red Mesa High School in 2007. While in high school she participated in the Upward Bound program at the College of Eastern Utah – Blanding Campus and loved the experience. After high school she left Red Mesa and spent one semester at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff. She then headed to Cedar City, Utah, where she attended Southern Utah University and received her Associates Degree and later her Bachelors Degree in Psychology in 2013.

Armed with her Bachelors Degree, Pfawnn tried to find a position in her field, but was unable to get a job. So, she went to work for Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. at the Blanding Family Practice Community Health Center. She worked as a Medical Assistant and Screener and loved her job. However, she knew this wasn’t what she wanted to do with her life. So she packed up one more time and headed to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend the University of Nevada Las Vegas and pursue her Masters Degree in Social Work.

“When I went to UNLV I said I wanted to come back to the community I was raised in and the community I was always around. When I left it was hard to leave,” Pfawnn explained. “I loved the people I worked with and I loved the company so it made it easier to come back, especially to UNHS.”

Pfawnn started working as a Certified Social Worker (CSW) for UNHS in June, two weeks after graduating from UNLV with her Masters Degree.

“I got the job a month or two before I graduated,” she said. “It was very satisfying knowing I was going to graduate, already having job security especially with my newborn, who was born during my last semester.

“My mom was a second grade teacher since I was in 2nd grade and she decided to retire during my last semester in grad school. She really wanted to me to be able to graduate on time. So she retired and moved to Vegas with me and has been my full time babysitter allowing me to come to work every day,” Pfawnn continued. “With-out her I couldn’t have become the woman I am today. She taught me that being a single mom doesn’t stop you from accomplishing your goals. She’s been the best role model. She showed me that with 4 kids and no high school diploma you have no excuses. She was able to be a single parent of 4 children and go back and get her GED, all the way up to her Master’s degree. She showed me that women can do anything, with all the struggles and hardships you can still come out on top.”

“I think it’s a great story. She’s young, she starts working at the front desk at BFP she has an interest in bettering herself and she goes and does that and comes back to a job,” said UNHS Behavioral Health Director, Rick Hendy. “As her boss I appreciate that she shows flexibility, is eager to take any assignment I give her, does research, meets with younger people and older people, and represents us well when state officials come. It’s true. With ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) I think it’s pretty amazing, she was a participant in the last class we had a year-and-a-half ago and a year-and-a-half later she’s a trainer. That’s a great story.”

Pfawnn said she was inspired to pursue a career in social work after growing up in Red Mesa and on the Reservation.

“I was aware of the fact that a lot of people were going through things. I knew a lot of friends who were dealing with alcoholic parents and substance abuse problems. A lot of them were depressed because of low income families and a lot of hardships in families,” she explained. “But it kind of took a personal approach because I lost my cousin when we were both 16. And so then I started therapy myself and found an amazing therapist who kind of turned things around. And now I work beside her (Diedre Piotrowski). I know everyone goes through the same stuff. It’s the same story and I know a lot of people feel like they have no one to talk to and no one’s there to listen and no one’s there to help them. So I felt like I could be there for someone else.”

“She’s becoming our expert in sexual assault prevention and working with victims and that’s very needed,” Hendy added. “I’m happy that she’s here – a female therapist that comes down here to Monument Valley. I’m happy to have her here.”

Pfawnn is the youngest of four children. Her sister is teacher at Montezuma Creek Elementary and both brothers live in Red Mesa and are in construction.

“It’s been amazing. I feel like I’ve been away for ten years now, after high school, going off to college at Flagstaff, Cedar City and then Vegas. I was always alone and I’d only come back for holidays, summer breaks, winter breaks. So it’s amazing now having them always around. Being able to go next door and see my sister and being able to see nephews and nieces, and go to basketball games,” Pfawnn said.

Pfawnn loves baking, playing with her son and taking care of him. She also loves traveling or going to powwows, but most of all she loves going to her nephew’s basketball games.

“It’s great to come home to my community, where I’m passionate about where I live. I’m passionate about the people I work with and the people I get to help. It’s kind of the best thing for me,” she added.

Pfawnn said her mother originally spelled her name ‘Fawn’ but her father said no.

“My dad was like ‘let’s make it difficult. Let’s add the P and then add the N,” she explained.

Maybe he knew what he was talking about. ‘P’ is the first letter in Passionate. Maybe the ‘P’ in Pfawnn is appropriate for someone with so much ‘P’assion for where she lives, what she does and the people she works with and helps. She is a great addition to the UNHS family and we’re glad she finally made it home.

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