“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.”

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