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I’m forever grateful for help I’m receiving from Doyon Foundation. Baasee!”

We’d like to introduce you to one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Angeli Kristovich. Even though we are unable to hold the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic scholarship fundraiser this year, we still want to highlight our 2019 – 2020 Morris Thompson students and honor their hard work and achievements.

Angeli Kristovich is the daughter of Carol Endresen of Fairbanks and the late Richard Kristovich of Ketchikan. Her paternal grandparents are Patrick and Jeannie Kristovich of Washington; her maternal grandparents are Angeline Evans of Koyukuk and Carl Noble of Fairbanks.

Angeli attends the University of Alaska Anchorage-Mat-Su campus where she’s pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in property management and real estate. She anticipates graduating in 2023. Angeli is from a family of Ketchikan fishermen.

Doyon Foundation: Congratulations on being awarded a Morris Thompson competitive scholarship. How did life prepare you for this moment?

Angeli Kristovich: I dropped out of high school at 15 and earned my GED. It was scary to find myself in back in class as a non-traditional student who had been out of high school for 15 years. It was hard getting back into school at first, but I learned there are many outlets and resources to help.

Studying hard is key and being involved on campus is important too. As I made more friends and used the tutoring center, the campus felt more like a home away from home rather than a scary place full of people who are smarter than me.

DF: That will sound familiar to lots of students who find their first semester at college pretty intimidating.

AK: My first semester was scary! I would go to the library and try to study but, needless to say, it was super overwhelming. So I’d check Facebook and other social media and end up spending time on my phone when I should’ve been studying.

I was able — luckily — to realize this trap. I ended up deleting all of my social media profiles. Since then I have felt freer! My decision might sound extreme, but for me it felt great. I have more time to study and I’m focusing on what I need to be focusing on.

DF: You’re involved in campus life to help concentrate on schoolwork and navigate college life in general?

AK: Yes. Volunteering and school work keep me very busy. I’m student government president at the Mat-Su campus and I’m vice president of the Alaska Native Cultures Club. I write for the Mat-Su Monitor, the student-run newspaper that’s distributed throughout the Mat-Su Valley.

When I’m not volunteering or involved with school stuff, I spend time with my husband and family. I stay very busy and out of trouble.

DF: Scholarship recipients like you nearly always mention specific things that would have been hurdles without Doyon Foundation help. Anything come to mind?

AK: I want to say thank you to all the donors who make Doyon Foundation scholarships possible. Without your help, my life as a full-time student would have been much harder. The Morris Thompson scholarship helped me with money to buy books and pay for gas to get back and forth to school.

I know my Grandma Angeline Evans is looking down on me and so proud that I’m finally putting all the wisdom she taught me into practice. Getting an education will open a lot of doors in my life. I’m forever grateful for all the help that I’m receiving from Doyon Foundation. Baasee!

DF: What’s on the horizon for you?

AK: I’m a wife and full-time student. After graduation, I want to be a real estate agent to help low-income families get into their dream home.

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. While the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

BertinaOur language is the missing link to our identity”

Bertina Titus is the daughter of Carol Reid of Minto and the late Carl H. Ramay Jr. of Missouri. Bertinas maternal grandparents are Neal and Geraldine Charlie of Minto; her paternal grandparents are Florence and Melvin Ockert of Missouri. Bertina wishes to recognize her husband, Gabriel Titus; children Leanna Knight and Tehya, Desirae, Eliah, Asher, Traeton and Jerren Titus; brother Byron Charlie; and sister Annie Silas. 

Bertina lives in Wasilla and is a language specialist whose employers include the Yukon-Kuskokiwm School District and Doyon Foundation. She received a Doyon Foundation scholarship while enrolled in the University of Alaska Fairbanks where she studied accounting and rural development. Bertinas language is Benhti Kenaga, spoken by Alaska Native people of the lower Tanana region

Doyon Foundation: You see a connection between the example of Elders and language learning efforts today. Can you say more about that?

Bertina Titus: Our Elders were very strong in all they did because they operated out of every part of their Native values. This is why they lived and endured so much not only for their survival but our survival as well.

My grandparents Neal and Geraldine Charlie are among people who were instrumental in teaching me to speak my language. The list includes my husband, Gabriel; his grandmother Elsie Titus; and Sarah Silas. I’ve learned from some of the nicest people I know.

I truly feel that our language is the missing link to our identity. Without this language that God gave us, we may never reach the full potential that God created us to be.

DF: You consider yourself a language learner even while you’re helping to teach others.

BT: Yes, I’m still trying to learn. I’ve worked with Doyon Foundation on video lessons and with Susan Paskavan with Yukon-Kuskokiwm School District. One of the best language-learning techniques is repetition. Hands-on strategies, such as activities at home, would be good too even though it can seem hard at times to put this approach into practice.

DF: What advice do you have if people are unable to practice regularly?

BT: A big challenge is if you have nobody to speak the language with, someone who really understands it, or if you’re just not using it every day. To overcome challenges I just still try. I have the language in my heart and keep trying.

DF: Your hopes for language learning including someday moving to Minto where you were raised. There’s a link between fond memories of your growing-up years and your passion for language learning today.

BT: I loved living in Minto. I remember playing outdoors a lot; we felt pretty free! And when I was around my grandparents I’d hear the language being spoken. In school we were taught some basic Benhti Kenaga’ but not very much.

I would love to move back to Minto and teach the language in a class during school or after school. This would be a way to revive our language because it would involve others, not just school kids.

DF: Something you’d like others to know?

BT: I truly want to be a fluent speaker so that I may teach and learn all I can to help others. I want to be able to tell my grandpa someday when I see him in Heaven that I succeeded in his dream — and my dream — of helping others to learn our Native language. Everyone should have an interest in our God-given gift!

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.

108_Join Our Team Promotion - updated_FB-INApply by June 3

Doyon Foundation is looking for a new administrative assistant for our office in Fairbanks. If you are interested in being part of a dedicated team working to support students and revitalize Doyon region languages, we encourage you to learn more and apply today. The position closes June 3.

Our administrative assistant works closely with the Foundation executive director, handles administrative duties and provides support to our board of directors. This position also works with the Foundation team to support our language revitalization program, scholarship program, community relations and fund development.

A typical day may include answering the phone, greeting visitors, scheduling meetings, arranging travel, taking meeting minutes, creating documents, filing, handling mail, and assisting other team members as needed.

To apply, you’ll need to be a high school graduate or equivalent, have three years office experience, be able to type 45 WPM and use Microsoft Office programs, and have a valid driver’s license and access to a registered, insured vehicle.

If you are interested in our administrative assistant position, please view the job description and apply online by June 3. And if you know someone who may be interested, please help spread the word!

156_Fall Scholarship Promotion Extended_FB-INExtra time to apply for competitive and basic scholarships for fall 2020

To give our students additional time during this challenging period, we have extended the Doyon Foundation fall scholarship deadline until Monday, June 1 at 11:59 p.m. This is the new deadline to apply for basic and competitive scholarships for the fall 2020 semester.

For the fall 2020 semester, we will be awarding:

  • Competitive scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $9,000 (see our website for details on the wide range of competitive awards!)
  • $1,200 basic scholarships for full-time students (undergraduates taking 12 or more credits, or 9 or more credits for graduate students)
  • $800 basic scholarships for part-time students (undergraduates taking 3 to 11 credits, or 2 to 8 credits for graduate students)

A reminder that competitive scholarships are awarded through a competitive review process, while basic scholarships are awarded to all students who meet the eligibility guidelines and submit a completed application by the appropriate deadline. Also, our basic scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Note that you don’t have to fill out separate applications for competitive and basic awards.

In order to be eligible to apply, 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

Get all the details on scholarship eligibility and application requirements by reviewing our scholarship resource handbook.

To apply, visit our online scholarship application portal. If you are a first-time applicant, you will need to create a new account. If you need help, see our step-by-step account creation instructions or view our detailed application instructions.

Once you are logged in, select “apply” and the system will ask for an access code. If you do not already have an access code, please call 907.459.2048 or email us at foundation@doyon.com to obtain one.

It is very important to log in to your student account before the scholarship application deadline to check that you have submitted all the required materials. Note that official transcripts are required for the fall scholarship deadline.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact our scholarship program at foundation@doyon.com or 907.459.2048.

North Star Group 2020 Arctic internship opening

We are pleased to offer an Arctic Policy & Communication Internship for the summer/early fall of 2020. This paid internship is open to current college students or recent graduates who have a strong interest in northern/Arctic policy issues such as climate change, Indigenous communities, natural resource extraction, and related subjects.

This is a great opportunity for someone starting their career to strengthen their networking skills while gaining valuable experience in professional communication Arctic-related policy issues.

The start date is somewhat flexible, with the potential for continuing employment. NSG has offices in Anchorage, AK and Washington, D.C., but work can potentially be done remotely from other locations.

Interested applicants are invited to send their letter of interest, a CV/resumé and a photo that best describes their interest in Arctic/northern issues to info. Applicants should submit their resume and cover letter no later than Friday, May 22, 2020; interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis and the successful candidate will be chosen by June 1, 2020.

Thank you in advance for passing this announcement along to your network.

NSG 2020 Arctic Communication Internship.pdf

131_Student_Promotion_BUDDY_FB-IN“I want to inspire students to excel at education” 

Raised in Seward, Buddy North attends Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City where he’s at work on a doctorate in philosophy and education. His mother is Marti Wallis of Fort Yukon and his maternal grandparents are the late Mae and Pete Wallis of Fort Yukon.

Buddy holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and a master’s degree from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He has been a Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient throughout his undergraduate and graduate years. Buddy anticipates graduating with his PhD in 2022.

Doyon Foundation: You’ve identified connections between your studies and Indigenous ways of teaching. What have you found?

Buddy North: The apex of formal education, PhD translates as doctor of philosophy. In this case, “doctor” means “expert” or “teacher,” while philosophy in ancient Greek means love of wisdom. Someone who earns a PhD becomes an expert in the love of wisdom, both a teacher and a leader.

This idea is reminiscent of the Indigenous way of education from time immemorial. Elders and leaders of Indigenous communities have always been experts and teachers, but unfortunately this has been given less emphasis in our times.

DF: These thoughts are shaping your long-term plans.

BN: Yes. I hope to teach instructors, philosophers, students and Native communities how to motivate a love of wisdom because it’s the foundation of all learning — Indigenous ways and the way of the schoolbook. With a philosopher’s eye toward the examined life, I abstain from drugs and alcohol.

I want to inspire students to excel at education to become Elders, experts, leaders and teachers. My professional goals hinge on giving back to our community and to others. By devoting my life to learning, sharing the love of wisdom, and working toward a healthier society, I hope to be a positive role model.

DF: How did Doyon Foundation help advance your education?

BN: Without Doyon Foundation I would have never made it through undergraduate school; I would not be where I am today. I would not have thought that education is valuable if Doyon Foundation did not also think so. With such support, I feel as if I’ve won the lottery because even if I had, I’d be doing exactly the same thing.

DF: A love of learning hasn’t always been true for you. What changed and why?

BN: I wasn’t inspired to learn through primary and secondary school. I was not curious about school. Then as a freshman at UAA, I began wondering, “How should I live my life?”

I learned that the discipline of philosophy asked this ancient question in a critical way; I realized I should learn more. For the first time in my life, I was drawn to academic education. I began nurturing my own education. I began playing an active role in learning about the world.

DF: You trace this early lack of interest to Alaska’s past.

BN: Since Russian colonialism, there has been a lived struggle between learning Indigenous ways and learning the way of the schoolbook. Schooling — which is distinct but related to education — was used in many ways as a tool against us.

I find it incredible that our ancestors flourished on Alaska’s wild lands for thousands of years. I take this fact as a token of pride. It illustrates difficulties overcome with a modest, sustainable and appreciative conscience.

DF: How are you enjoying life in a big city?

BN: When I’m not busy with school, I am hanging out with my wife and 2-year-old son, going to museums, parks and playgrounds around New York City. But we miss the wilderness.

DF: Does philosophy offer insight when it comes to succeeding in school? What would you like other students to know?

BN: There are character traits — virtues — needed to excel whether you’re in school, building and setting up a fish wheel in the Yukon River, or surviving and thriving in the wilderness.

Those traits are: resilience, perseverance, curiosity, wonder, creativity, imagination, intellectual humility, autonomy, collectivity, attentiveness, carefulness, thoroughness, open-mindedness, and intellectual and moral courage. Tenacity and appreciation for beauty are on the list as well.

DF: If you could sum up the list?

BN: Keep up the good and keep learning!

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Anna Clock is a participant in the teacher training through the Doyon Languages Online project. She has formed a learning group with her brother, William, who is using Doyon Languages Online to learn Denaakk’e. They are the grandchildren of Regina Clock of Kaltag. Their parents are Eric Clock of Kaltag and Cindy Clock of Yakima, Washington. Here, Anna shares with us about their experience teaching and learning via distance – Anna at her home in Anchorage, and William working on his tug boat on the Cook Inlet.

Doyon Languages Online, a Doyon Foundation project, is developing online language-learning lessons for the endangered Native languages of the Doyon region. The lessons are available for free to all interested learners. Courses in Holikachuk, Gwich’inDenaakk’e and Benhti Kenaga’ were launched in summer 2019, and the remaining courses will be released this year. Learn more and sign up at www.doyonfoundation.com/dlo.

If you are teaching or learning a language using Doyon Languages Online, we would love to hear your story as well! Please send us photos and tell us about your experience by emailing foundation@doyon.com.

April 20, 2020, story and photos courtesy of Anna Clock

photo 1 - assignmentsWilliam and I video-called through Google Hangouts after the Doyon Languages Online spring teacher training on Monday night. It was our first attempt at distance-learning, and it went well.

When he logged onto his Doyon Languages Online account, he was able to see the class I enrolled him to, and all his assignments.

We agreed that one lesson per week is a good pace. We will meet on Monday nights, and do part of the lesson together. He will try to finish it by Friday. He is a quick learner, so I think he will be successful while still balancing work on his tug boat.

During our call, he was able to screen share, so I could watch him go through Unit 1, Lesson 2. There was some background noise from the engine on his boat, but I could still hear him pretty well. I couldn’t hear the audio from the lesson as he played it, so I asked him to repeat the phrases and I could hear him well. He was picking up the pronunciation good from the audio clips in the lesson.

photo 2

I remembered from K’etsoo’s (Susan Paskvan) class that it was helpful to me as a learner when she pointed out what an individual part of a Denaakk’e phrase meant. This helped me remember the whole phrase’s meaning, so I passed this practice down to my brother and it helped him as well.

I was thankful to have a close family member I am comfortable with supporting me in my new teaching endeavor. It took the pressure off, and we had fun.

After going through part of the lesson, we took a break to play “show me.” We used a few of the flash cards K’etsoo shared.

Our whole call lasted for about an hour and went by quick.