September 2021

School is definitely a marathon! Take care of yourself”

– Shondiin Mayo

Shondiin Mayo is the daughter of Violet Hunt of Ts’aa Bii Kin, Arizona, and Randy Mayo of Stevens Village. Her maternal grandparents are the late Jean Tallman of Ts’aa Bii Kin, Arizona, and Harry Hunt of Naataanii Nez, New Mexico. Shondiin’s paternal grandparents are Marjorie Sam of Stevens Village and the late Tucky Mayo of Rampart.

Shondiin earned a bachelor’s degree in 2021 from Northern Arizona University (NAU), where she studied creative media and film with an emphasis in documentary filmmaking. She’s pursuing a Master of Arts degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and, in summer 2021, was among student interns at the Doyon Family of Companies. Shondiin’s hometown is Steven Village.

Doyon Foundation: Congratulations on being among Doyon, Limited summer interns, a program aimed at giving students a chance to learn about their Alaska Native corporation and gain resume-building skills.

Shondiin Mayo: Thanks! I’ll be working on nonpartisan efforts to promote “Get Out the Native Vote.” I’m excited to work on projects to let voters know that Election Day is Tuesday, October 5. It’s part of a nationwide effort to protect voting rights and encourage American Indians and Alaska Native people to vote.

I’ve learned a lot about the importance of voting and the history of voting rights for Indigenous people. I’m so thankful for the chance to apply my skills and knowledge as an intern. I wanted to understand more about Doyon, Limited because it plays a big role in a shareholder’s life.

DF: And after your internship?

SM: Starting in the fall, I’ll be a master’s student in the Arctic and Northern Studies Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). I’m really looking forward to learning more about the circumpolar north that we call home. Beyond that, I’d like to pursue a doctorate at UAF and then contribute to my people and the community in a job I’m passionate about.

I’m excited to take next steps in my education – I’m still learning about myself – and Doyon Foundation’s financial support helps in immense ways. Students like me can pursue our goals. I’m eternally grateful.

DF: What did you learn about deciding on a college major? Students sometimes find this challenging.

SM: I had several majors before finding the creative media and film program at my university. Even before I entered the program, I found that I really enjoyed helping friends with their film projects. Filmmaking combines the freedom to tell a story in a creative way with the responsibility of sharing your perspective with an audience.

DF: So you built on what you were most naturally interested in and suited to.

SM: Yes. I found that everyone in the NAU cohort was committed to storytelling. That shared purpose fostered camaraderie throughout our projects. And it was super interesting to learn that filmmaking needs a lot of research in the pre-production stage. For instance, there’s immense effort that goes into drafting schedules, choosing equipment and completing a light study to control shadows and maintain the contrast in a scene.

DF: And beyond the classroom? What was it like attending a university so far from home?

SM: That was the biggest challenge – being far from family and a familiar environment. It was difficult to adjust to at first. A tip for success I’d like to pass along is the importance of finding a support system, whatever shape it takes. Take care of yourself!

School is definitely a marathon, but it was also very exhilarating to explore new surroundings, to visit other states, and to make new friends. It’s a chance to grow as a person. And I knew that Alaska would always be home, it would always be there.

DF: You enjoy volunteer projects that sound as if they could be movie sets!

SM: That’s true. I volunteer with the Fairbanks Outboard Association and now that I’ve returned to Alaska, I hope to volunteer with the Alaska Dog Mushers Association – so yes, I like these environments because of all the energy and the people in the crowd.

Boat races are such great events for the community. And think of the sound of all those dog teams that just want to get on the track and get going. It’s exciting!

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.

Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana) speaker, Avis Sam

Our September Native Word of the Month comes from a set of Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana) language lessons created by Avis Sam and produced by the Yukon Native Language Centre.

Dineh k’èh hǫ̀ǫheeyh? = Do you speak your Native language?

Ąą’, Dineh k’èh hùhheeyh. = Yes, I speak Native language.

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 Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Holikachuk and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (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!

Apply for a spring scholarship by November 15!

The application period for spring 2022 scholarships from Doyon Foundation is now open, and eligible students could receive up to $2,400 for school! Applications must be received by Monday, November 15, 2021, at 5 p.m. AKST.

Helpful tip: Our basic scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so get your application in early!

With our recently increased scholarship amounts, we’ll be awarding:

  • $2,400 basic scholarships for full-time students (undergraduates taking 12 or more credits, or 9 or more credits for graduate students)
  • $1,600 basic scholarships for part-time students (undergraduates taking 3 to 11 credits, or 2 to 8 credits for graduate students)

Helpful tip: Our basic scholarships are for vocational students, too!

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

If you’re in a vocational program longer than 120 hours or one year, you’re eligible to apply. (And if you’re in a shorter program, check out our short-term vocational scholarship.)

Helpful tip: Our scholarship resource handbook has everything you need to know about scholarship types, eligibility and the application process – check it out before you apply!

Ready to apply? Get started by visiting our online scholarship application portal. If you’re a first-time applicant, you will need to create a new account. 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 907.459.2049 or email us at to obtain one. 

Helpful tip: Foundation staff can help with your online scholarship application if you don’t have computer or internet access.

Remember, scholarship applications are accepted online only. However, we understand that some of our students may have difficulty with a reliable internet connection. If that is the case, please call us and we can assist you in completing your scholarship application by proxy.

Helpful tip: Official transcripts must be submitted once every academic year, which runs August through July.

In the application, you’ll see a requirement to submit transcripts. If you received a fall 2021 scholarship, you may submit unofficial transcripts. We know you won’t have transcripts for the fall semester by November 15, so the deadline for you to submit them is Monday, December 20 at 5 p.m. AKST.

If you did not receive a fall 2021 scholarship, you’ll need to submit official transcripts. These are due by the November 15 deadline. We know this can be confusing, so if you have any questions, just get in touch.

Helpful tip: Make sure that you log in to your student account before the scholarship application deadline to check that you have submitted all the required materials!

Remember – the deadline to apply for a spring 2022 basic scholarship is Monday, November 15, 2021! Questions? We’re here to help! Contact our scholarship program at or 907.459.2049.

We’re so excited to announce the 20 winners in our first-ever computer giveaway! The following students were selected in a random drawing to receive Lenovo ThinkPads:

  1. Dreana Taylor
  2. Eva Burk
  3. Annie Williams
  4. Lisa Wentz
  5. Bryan Sam
  6. Buddy North
  7. Donetta Tritt
  8. Lorretta Lolnitz
  9. Nadia Al-Shewear
  10. Joseph O’brian
  11. Josie Heyano
  12. Latisha Roberts
  13. Kai Whitmore
  14. Linda Nicholia
  15. Ashley Merica-Nazurak
  16. Cesa Agnes
  17. Jade Titus
  18. Roselie Carrol
  19. Charlotte James
  20. Leah David

A very special thank you to donors designDATA and the Google American Indian Network for making it possible for us to provide these computers to help our students succeed in their educational journeys!

Congratulations to the 291 students who are receiving a total of $706,000 in Doyon Foundation scholarships for the fall 2021 semester!

We are pleased to award 165 full-time basic scholarships, 72 part-time basic scholarships and 54 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, November 15 at 11:59 p.m. is the deadline to apply for scholarships for the spring 2022 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!

A special thank you to our generous donors who continue to support the scholarship and language revitalization programs at Doyon Foundation. If you would like to join our family of donors, please consider making a gift on our website.

For more information or assistance, contact our scholarship program manager at 907.459.2048 or