Candidates sought for competitive scholarship review committee

There are two seats available on the Doyon Foundation competitive scholarship review committee. One reviewer must be from a rural community in the Doyon region. Individuals interested in giving back and helping students achieve their full potential are encouraged to consider serving on this important committee, which reviews, evaluates and scores student competitive scholarship applications. Applications are due by Friday, May 7, 2021, at 5 p.m. Apply online here.

To qualify for this position, candidates must:

  • Submit a current resume.
  • Be a Doyon shareholder.
  • Be age 18 or older.
  • Value and support higher education.
  • Be committed to serve a three-year term.
  • Have an internet-accessible computer with recent version of web browser installed (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera).
  • Attend an orientation in June via teleconference.
  • Spend 30 – 40 hours reviewing, evaluating and scoring all competitive scholarship applications online via the Doyon Foundation website.
  • Attend a one-day teleconference meeting in July/August to award the scholarships.
  • Meet with Doyon Foundation administration to review and recommend competitive scholarship policy changes.

Please note that per IRS regulations, committee members cannot be employees of the Doyon Family of Companies or Doyon Foundation. Board members are also not eligible to serve on the committee. Also note that service on the scholarship review committee is on a voluntary basis.

Interested candidates should complete and submit the online candidate application, as well as a current resume, by Friday, May 7, 2021, at 5 p.m. The Doyon Foundation board of directors will select the new committee members at their next regularly scheduled meeting.

For more information, please contact the Doyon Foundation at 907.459.2048 or scholarships@doyon.com.

Photo courtesy of https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/03/08/23/17/alaska-1245029_960_720.jpg

Xisigidasidhut, thank you, to our speaker Elizabeth Keating for sharing our January 2021 Native Word of the Month in Holikachuk.

Xiyh xoolanh. = It’s winter now.

For more translations, view our Native word of the month archives on the Foundation website.

We also invite you to access free online language-learning lessons by signing up for Doyon Languages Online! We currently have lessons available for HolikachukDenaakk’eBenhti Kenaga’ and Gwich’in, as well as a special set of Hän lessons based on the work of the late Isaac Juneby. All interested learners may sign up and access the courses at no charge – sign up today!

Congratulations to the 320 students who are receiving a total of $752,400 in scholarships for the spring 2021 semester!

We are pleased to award 176 full-time basic scholarships, 100 part-time basic scholarships and 44 competitive scholarships.

Students, your scholarship is on its way! Log in to your student account if you have questions about your scholarship application status.

Also, mark your calendar for our next scholarship application deadline: Monday, March 15 at 11:59 p.m. is the deadline to apply for scholarships for the summer 2021 semester.

Learn more about our scholarships in our scholarship brochure, vocational scholarship brochure and scholarship resource handbook, or read about some of our past and current recipients on our blog!

The total amount awarded is significantly higher than last spring, as Doyon Foundation recently increased our scholarship amounts. The increase allows us to better serve our students as they pursue their educational goals in the face of continually rising costs of higher education.

A special thank you to our generous donors who continue to support the scholarship and language revitalization programs at Doyon Foundation. View a list of our donors or make a gift on our website.

For more information or assistance, contact our scholarship program manager at 907.459.2048 or scholarships@doyon.com.

First come, first served – apply by March 15

The application period for our summer 2021 basic scholarships is now open! Applications must be received by Monday, March 15 at 11:59 p.m. Students planning to attend classes this summer are encouraged to apply early as our basic scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Scholarship applications must be completed online at www.doyonfoundation.com.

The Doyon Foundation board of directors recently voted to increase scholarship award amounts. Part-time students are now eligible to receive a $1,600 basic scholarship and full-time students can receive a $2,400 basic scholarship. Students can be studying a wide range of fields, including vocational areas of study.

To be eligible for a Doyon Foundation scholarship, you must:

  • Be enrolled to Doyon, Limited or be the child of an original enrollee
  • Be accepted to an accredited college, university, technical or vocational school
  • Meet our minimum GPA requirements
  • Be enrolled in the required minimum number of credits

View our scholarship resource handbook for full eligibility details.

To apply for a summer basic scholarship, you will need to submit:

Remember, official transcripts only need to be submitted once per academic year (which runs August through July). That means:

  • If you didn’t receive a spring 2021 scholarship, then you need to submit official transcripts by the March 15 deadline.
  • If you’re a “returning” student (meaning you received a fall 2020 and spring 2021 scholarship), you can submit unofficial transcripts. We know you won’t have transcripts for the spring semester by March 15, so the deadline for you to submit them is Monday, May 10, 2021.

Be sure to log in to your student account before the scholarship application deadline to check that you have submitted all the required materials.

Check out our scholarship resource handbook for all the details on transcripts, eligibility and application requirements. If you have any questions or need assistance, contact us at scholarships@doyon.com or 907.459.2048.

“The biggest challenge is to grow Denaakk’e teachers”

Hᵾkk’aaghneestaatlno Lorraine David is the daughter of the late Joe and Celia Beetus of Hughes. Her paternal grandparents are the late Little Beetus and Ida of Hughes; her maternal grandparents are the late Jimmy and Annie Koyukuk of Allakaket. 

Lorraine and her husband, Richard David of Allakaket, have five children: Tillila Beetus, Leonard Bergman, Shara Shewfelt, Richard (RJ) David, Jr., and the late Sharon David. Lorraine and Richard have 12 grandchildren (nine grandsons and three granddaughters). Lorraine’s siblings include sisters Alberta Vent, Helen Attla, Dorothy Vent, June Walker and Peggy Patterson; brothers Bob Beetus, Sam Beetus and Wilmer Beetus; and the late Arlo Beetus and the late Jimmy Beetus. 

A recipient of Doyon Foundation scholarships, Lorraine attended the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in human resource management and is employed by the Fairbanks Native Association, where she directs the Indigenous Language Project. Lorraine’s language is Denaakk’e (Koyukon)

Doyon Foundation: Family has played an important role in your language learning. How has that background helped shape your commitment to Denaakk’e teaching and learning?

Hukk’aaghneestaatlno Lorraine David: My father and mother, Joe and Celia Beetus, and Elders Julia Oldman and Maria Dummy from Hughes and Catherine Attla from Huslia were instrumental in teaching me to speak Denaakk’e. It was my first language — I wasn’t introduced to English until I was 6 years old. 

When children are grounded in their language, culture and traditions, they have a sense of belonging and are more academically inclined. They’ll be proud of where they came from and who they are. If I can help one child live a good healthy life, I will have fulfilled my dream. 

DF: You’re an accomplished, lifelong teacher. What’s a language learning strategy that successful students tend to have in common?

HLD: Speak the language as much as you can. 

DF: You’ve devoted much of your time to developing activities where people may do just that. 

HLD: When I worked at UAF for 30 years, I taught Denaakk’e to college students in the evenings for six of those years. At Anne Wien Elementary School in Fairbanks, I created a Denaakk’e classroom that completed its third year in 2020. There are two primary teachers and one classroom aide; I teach them to teach the language to 3 to 5 year olds. 

I was involved with the Denaakk’e Hᵾdelnekkaa language group for parents and other adults and I taught the language part time for two years at Effie Kokrine Charter School in Fairbanks. I helped with “Molly of Denali” by translating and recording Denaakk’e words and phrases. (“The Molly of Denali” series aired in 2019 and was the first-ever TV show to feature an Alaska Native child as protagonist.)

Whenever anyone wants to know how to say and write a word or phrase, I help by making and sending a recording. As long as I’m able, I’ll help whoever wants to learn to keep our language alive. 

DF: That’s a substantial legacy. What’s on your mind as you look ahead?

HLD: I’m nearing retirement age soon so someone else needs to take over. The biggest challenge is to grow Denaakk’e teachers. I’m fortunate to have the same staff for the past year — they’re learning the language and learning to teach. But staff turnover is a challenge.

Getting parents and other community members involved, hopefully in a future language school, will help grow teachers to teach Alaska Native languages. Doyon Foundation is doing an amazing job in creating resources for Alaska Native languages. Keep it up!

DF: You’ve mentioned the importance of recordings in Denaakk’e.                 

HLD: I never used to record the language because our belief was that if you record your voice, you’re giving away your spirit. I spoke to my mom about it before she passed and she gave me permission to record. Nowadays I record as much as I can for whoever wants to learn. 

About Doyon Languages Online

Through the Doyon Language Online project, Doyon Foundation is developing introductory online lessons for Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Deg Xinag, Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana). The project officially launched in summer 2019 with the first four courses, now available for free to all interested learners.

Doyon Languages Online is funded by a three-year grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), awarded in 2016, and an additional three-year grant from the Alaska Native Education Program (ANEP), awarded in 2017.

As Doyon Foundation continues to grow our language revitalization efforts in the Doyon region, we believe it is important to recognize people who are committed to learning and perpetuating their ancestral language. We are pleased to share some of these “language champion” profiles with you.

If you know a language champion, please nominate him or her by contacting our language program director at foundation@doyon.com. Language champions may also complete our profile questionnaire here. You may learn more about our language revitalization program on our website, or sign up to access the free Doyon Languages Online courses here.

“Goals influence all of your decisions”

A software developer based in North Pole, Shane Derendoff is the son of Cece Derendoff-Nollner and Francis Nollner, both of Huslia. His maternal grandparents are Angeline Happy and Richard Derendoff, both of Cutoff-Huslia. Cutoff, a flood-prone site, was established in the 1920s and eventually relocated to the area known today as Huslia.

Shane has served as president of the Doyon Foundation board and is a past director of the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center in Fairbanks. His hometown is the Koyukon Athabascan community of Huslia.

Shane Derendoff believes that setting goals for yourself — including goals that others may consider far-fetched — are a key to steady success.

“It never hurts to ask,” he said. “These goals influence all of your decisions from that point forward, most times subconsciously.” Pursuing higher education is among self-assigned goals he values, but he’s realistic about obstacles.

“My challenge has been to keep motivated, to keep pushing to completion,” he said. “Often it’s easier to just get a job and make a wage. But sticking to your educational goals will pay long-term dividends and raise your potential career ceiling.”

Shane earned a bachelor of science degree in 1998 from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he was a recipient of Doyon Foundation scholarships. Before enrolling in the master’s of business administration (MBA) program at Alaska Pacific University (APU), where his emphasis is information technology, he served as technical service manager at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and owned Koyukon Consulting. He anticipates graduating from APU in 2022.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Shane went on to volunteer for several years on the Doyon Foundation board. “I gained key nonprofit experience,” he said. “Once I started my MBA, Doyon Foundation has funded me each step of the way.”

Shane plans to continue working as a software developer while attending APU and then start a consulting practice after graduation. His interests are management and nonprofit and leadership training. He enjoys seeking out other professionals whose early-career experiences mesh with his own. And he makes time for traditional activities such as hunting, wood-cutting and helping Elders.

“Doyon Foundation has been a key part of my educational and professional background,” he said.

Each month, Doyon Foundation profiles a different student or alumni. If you are interested in being highlighted in a student profile, please click here to complete a short questionnaire. To complete the alumni profile questionnaire, please click here.

It’s the holiday season and the end of the year is quickly approaching, making it a great time to make a gift to Doyon Foundation. Not only can you take advantage of possible charitable giving tax deductions (speak with your tax advisor), you will also be supporting students and language revitalization efforts throughout the Doyon region! A gift to Doyon Foundation is also a wonderful way to recognize or remember a loved one this holiday season.

There are three easy ways to make your end-of-year gift to Doyon Foundation:

If you’re looking for other easy ways to support the Foundation, consider:

Your generosity will provide financial assistance to students pursuing their educational goals, which will set them on a successful course for the rest of their lives. A gift to Doyon Foundation will also forward efforts to revitalize the Native languages of the Doyon region, ensuring they survive and thrive for future generations.

As scholarship recipient Rosemary Messer shared, “This scholarship changed my life and was the difference to help me achieve a career and financial security.” Hear more student stories and get inspired by watching our fall 2020 scholarship recipient recognition video.

Thank you for your support, and happy holidays from all of us at Doyon Foundation!

The New Year is almost here, which means it is nearly the start of Pick. Click. Give. season!

As you complete your 2021 PFD application, we encourage you to consider making a Pick. Click. Give. pledge to Doyon Foundation. These dollars go directly to our general scholarship fund, which provides basic scholarships ranging from $1,600 for part-time students to $2,400 for full-time students.

These scholarships support not only students pursuing traditional four-year degrees, but also certificates, associate degrees and vocational training. We invite you to visit our blog to read profiles featuring students who have benefitted from our donors’ generosity!

As a small, private foundation, we rely on support from our donors and volunteers to achieve our mission provide educational, career and cultural opportunities to enhance the identity and quality of life for Doyon shareholders.

Here are some highlights of what Pick. Click. Give. gifts have helped us achieve in the past year:

  • Awarded 676 scholarships totaling $839,034 to 421 students (the second highest amount in the past 10 years!)
  • Celebrated 77 graduates, including an impressive four doctorate students
  • Launched our Doyon Languages Online project with the release of five online language-learning courses, which are now available for free to all interested learners
  • Presented $50,000 in grants to help fund language revitalization projects throughout the Doyon region

Thank you for supporting Doyon Foundation!

Alumni survey prize winner Charlotte James (left) with Jennifer Mayo Shannon of Doyon Foundation

A big “thank you” to the 90 Doyon Foundation alumni who completed our short alumni survey this fall and were entered to win prizes! And congratulations to all of our winners, selected in a random drawing and listed below.

Set of five “I am learning my language” handkerchiefs with tote:

  1. Justine Attla
  2. Jada Carroll
  3. Anna Chamberland
  4. Phillip Demientieff
  5. Amy Durny
  6. Esther Frykman
  7. Diana Riedel
  8. Larissa Sommer
  9. Erica Whitney

$100 Amazon gift cards:

  1. Anastacia D’Andre
  2. Charlotte James
  3. Keifer Kanayurak
  4. Kristen Moreland
  5. Ginessa Sams
Keifer Kanayurak, prize winner

People of the Water wool blankets from the Athabaskan Heritage Collection™ Spirit Keeper Series™:

  1. Helena Jacobs
  2. Susan Robinson

Your participation helps us better understand where our alumni are today and how your education helped you get where you are now. It also allows us to connect with our alumni and stay in touch on Foundation news and opportunities to engage and support current and future students.

While the contest has ended, it’s never too late to connect with the Foundation. If you have ever received a Doyon Foundation scholarship, please complete our short alumni survey today!

Allan Hayton, Doyon Foundation language revitalization program director, selecting the alumni survey winners in a random drawing

Watch our 2020 Fall Scholarship Award Recognition video!

At Doyon Foundation, we look forward to our scholarship award ceremony every year, but this year we had to do things a little differently to keep everyone safe. However, we still believe it is important to celebrate our hard-working scholarship recipients and celebrate our generous donors.

We invite you to take a few minutes to watch our fall 2020 scholarship award recognition video, featuring welcomes from Doyon, Limited President and CEO Aaron Schutt and our Board President Jennifer Fate, photos and quotes from our students, a listing of our amazing donors, and a heartfelt prayer for our students going forward in pursuit of their dreams.

Then, help us spread the word by liking, sharing and tagging students you know. Congratulations to all of our students, and thank you to all of our supporters!

Watch our video

Photo courtesy of Allan Hayton

Baasee’, thank you, to our speaker Eliza Jones for sharing our December 2020 Native Word of the Month in Denaakk’e.

Huyh = Winter

Huyh neets do’ots’en’. = It is coming to mid-winter.

For more translations, view our Native word of the month archives on the Foundation website.

We also invite you to access free online language-learning lessons by signing up for Doyon Languages Online! We currently have lessons available for HolikachukDenaakk’eBenhti Kenaga’ and Gwich’in, as well as a special set of Hän lessons based on the work of the late Isaac Juneby. All interested learners may sign up and access the courses at no charge – sign up today!

“Doyon Foundation helped me have a more secure future”

Kiana Vondra is the daughter of Vanessa Vondra of Two Rivers and Jason Vondra of North Pole. Kiana is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where shes a member of the Class of 2023. Her hometown is North Pole. 

When Kiana Vondra envisions the future, she thinks about straight teeth — her goals include becoming an orthodontist — working hard in school, and reminding other young people to live in the present. 

“It sounds super-cliche, but even if you have a heavy workload, I still recommend going to school events,” she says. She believes that maintaining a satisfying life beyond schoolwork can help keep the two in balance. She also turns to YouTube for expert advice on using study time efficiently. 

Scholarships provided by Doyon Foundation are helping relieve pressures of completing her bachelor’s degree in chemistry while also looking ahead to applying to dental school. “The application process is very involved,” she says. “Doyon Foundation helped me have a more secure future financially by helping pay for my undergraduate degree.”

When she’s not attending to schoolwork, Kiana enjoys time with family and friends — “by far my favorite activity,” she says. “As long as I’m with them, it doesn’t matter what we’re doing. I know it’ll be fun.” She looks forward to fishing in Valdez and camping along the Chena or Tanana Rivers each summer, and staying indoors in winter to binge-watch favorite TV shows or play video games or board games with family. 

“Especially when you’re in school, it’s critical that you look after your mental health,” she says.  And while she advises letting instructors know first, it can be valuable to take a day off from class every once in a while if stress feels overwhelming. “It’s imperative that you look out for yourself,” she says. 

Her plans include eventually opening a private practice after dental school in the Pacific Northwest. And she hopes to move back to Alaska: “I consider it my home.”

Each month, Doyon Foundation profiles a different student or alumni. If you are interested in being highlighted in a student profile, please click here to complete a short questionnaire. To complete the alumnus profile questionnaire, please click here.

As you begin your holiday shopping, consider a gift that will offer benefits for years to come. A gift to Doyon Foundation will provide financial assistance to students pursuing their educational goals, which will set them on a successful course for the rest of their lives. A gift to Doyon Foundation will also forward efforts to revitalize the Native languages of the Doyon region, ensuring they survive and thrive for future generations. A gift to Doyon Foundation is also a wonderful way to recognize or remember a loved one.

There are several simple ways to show your support of Doyon Foundation this holiday season:

Remember, #GivingTuesday is this coming Tuesday, December 1! If you’d like to start your holiday season by making a positive difference for students and Native languages, we welcome your support.

For more information on the Foundation or how to get involved, contact us at 907-459-2048 or foundation@doyon.com.

My language is my worldview”

An assistant professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), Polly Hyslop is of Dineh (Athabascan)-Scottish heritage from Northway and her language is Née’aaneegń (Upper Tanana). Polly is the daughter of Polly (Demit) Hyslop of Northway and Floyd Hyslop of Roscommon, Michigan. Her maternal grandparents are Bertha (Johnny) Demit-Sinyon of Yukon, Canada (Upper Tanana River region), and Elijah Demit of Ketchumstock in the Upper Tanana region. Pollys paternal grandparents are Elizabeth Hyslop and Thomas Hyslop. Her son, Benjamin Schwartz, lives in Reno, Nevada. 

Polly is a graduate of UAF and holds a bachelors degree in journalism, a masters degree in justice and a doctorate in Indigenous studies. A past recipient of Doyon Foundation scholarships, Polly is a faculty member at the Center for Cross Cultural Studies at UAF. 

Polly Hyslop is among Doyon Online Language volunteers helping to develop lessons for free, self-paced instruction in Upper Tanana language. A noted scholar whose interests include the teaching of Indigenous peacemaking practices, Polly researched restorative justice in rural Alaska for publication in 2016 in the Alaska Journal of Dispute Resolution. She is co-author of a book chapter on Tlingit Elder Harold Gatensby and his contributions to the practice of the Peacemaking Circle in Kake. 

The Née’aaneegń language is fundamental to her understanding of how ancestors thought and viewed the world and the universe.

“I create space daily to practice speaking my language. My language is my worldview,” she said. Instrumental to her language learning are Polly’s grandmother, Bertha (Johnny) Demit-Sinyon, and Paul Milanowski, Avis Sam, Sherry Barnes and Laura Sanford. 

Polly hosts Zoom meetings with Upper Tanana language learners and teachers, and works with other language-keepers to plan summer language camps at Northway. She is involved with Head Start on a language nest, the immersion method for language revitalization in early childhood education. She has developed language literacy classes for teachers and students, and hopes to contribute to the Upper Tanana Northway dictionary. Plans also call for work on digital libraries to document the knowledge and language of local Alaska Native people. 

“The greatest challenge is to find Upper Tanana speakers to talk to,” Polly said. “Next greatest is making time to learn the language.

“Other language groups have been revived,” she said, noting success in Hawaii where Indigenous languages are heard in stores and schools. “We will need to work hard to bring our language back into everyday conversation.”

About Doyon Languages Online

Through the Doyon Language Online project, Doyon Foundation is developing introductory online lessons for Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Deg Xinag, Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana). The project officially launched in summer 2019 with the first four courses, now available for free to all interested learners.

Doyon Languages Online is funded by a three-year grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), awarded in 2016, and an additional three-year grant from the Alaska Native Education Program (ANEP), awarded in 2017.

As Doyon Foundation continues to grow our language revitalization efforts in the Doyon region, we believe it is important to recognize people who are committed to learning and perpetuating their ancestral language. We are pleased to share some of these “language champion” profiles with you.

If you know a language champion, please nominate him or her by contacting our language program director at foundation@doyon.com. Language champions may also complete our profile questionnaire here. You may learn more about our language revitalization program on our website, or sign up to access the free Doyon Languages Online courses here.

As we enter into this season of gratefulness, we wanted to share a heartfelt “thank you” for your support of our students and language revitalization program this year – and always.

Our office will be closed this Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27, as our staff celebrates the holiday.

We will reopen Monday, November 30. From all of us at Doyon Foundation, we wish you a safe, healthy and joyful Thanksgiving.