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RSVP today to join us May 22

The Doyon Foundation graduate reception is going virtual this year! While we will miss coming together in person in Fairbanks, we are excited for the opportunity to include students and supporters from across the country in a way we’ve never done before.

Whether you are a graduate, student, alumni, family, friend, teacher or other supporter, please mark your calendar and plan to join us:

Doyon Foundation 2020 Graduate Reception

Friday, May 22

2 p.m. AKST


RSVP to by Wednesday, May 20 at 5 p.m. to receive the ZOOM link to join us

Our agenda includes a welcome from our executive director, Doris Miller; Doyon, Limited’s president and CEO, Aaron Schutt; and our board president, Jennifer Fate.

Plus, we’ll hear from our 2020 graduate speaker, Bruce Ervin, who graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) with his bachelor’s degree in Alaska Native studies, and our alumni speaker (and board member!) Matthew Calhoun, who received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) in 2002, his master’s in civil engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2010, and a doctorate of philosophy in civil engineering from UAF in 2015. Calhoun is currently a tenure-track assistant professor of civil engineering at UAA.

Then, all of our 2020 grads in attendance will have the opportunity to introduce themselves live from wherever they are!

If you are graduating this year, please be sure to complete our 2020 graduate information form in advance of the event so we can include you in the graduate reception presentation.

A special thank you to Doyon, Limited’s communications and IT teams for helping us arrange this very special, first-of-its-kind Foundation event. We hope you can join us to celebrate the Class of 2020!



“I am a lifelong learner. Baasee’ for supporting me”

A school district administrator for the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Bev Kokrine is a veteran educator who’s pursuing a doctorate in Indigenous studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). She is an active supporter of the mission of Doyon Foundation as it works to enhance the lives of shareholders through educational, career and cultural opportunities.

Bev’s parents are the late Franklin and Lillian Simon of Huslia. Her paternal grandparents are the late Edwin and Lydia Simon of Huslia; maternal grandparents are the late Grafton and Agnes Koyukuk of Allakaket.

Doyon Foundation: Your efforts to advance the work of Doyon Foundation are inspiring, Bev. How did you become involved in Doyon Languages Online, the Doyon Foundation project to help people learn the Alaska Native languages of the Doyon region?

Bev Kokrine: I was hoping to learn more Denaakk’e and when the opportunity to work with Doyon Languages Online came up, I was thrilled.

My late mother and her sisters, cousins and close friends would speak Denaakk’e and giggle; they had a bond through the language and I wanted to share the joke but my siblings and I didn’t learn the language except for a few words. I do remember “wash the dishes.” My emotion was tied to that phrase and I remember it well!

DF: How do those early experiences help shape your work as a content creator with Doyon Languages Online?

BK: Listening to mom and dad speak the language was music to my ears. I admire any youth who can speak his or her Native language.

When I was living on the UAF campus as a student, I loved listening to my friends speak Yup’ik and today I enjoy listening to a friend sing in her Native language to her grandchildren.

I love the singing and dancing at the Koyukon Athabascan potlatches of Huslia, where I’m from. I love potlatches — I feel whole during the singing and dancing and I want to know the words being sung.

All these experiences inspire me to work with Doyon Languages Online because I hope someday we’ll hear more youth speaking Denaakk’e. They’ll know their culture and heritage if we teach them their Native language now.

DF: Walk us through some your tasks as a Doyon Languages Online content creator.

BK: I help develop conversation phrases by composing a dialog in English and then working with language experts who provide phrasing to express that dialog in sentences in Denaakk’e. Language experts including Eliza Jones, Susan Paskvan, Marie Yaska and Dewey Hoffman then help me say those sentences so they’re recorded. My mother shared her knowledge, too, and I’ve learned that even though she lived in Huslia for many years, her dialect is somewhat different because she was raised upriver in Allakaket.

DF: What attracted you to teaching? You earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1992 from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and have worked in education ever since. That’s real commitment.

BK: I always wanted to be teacher, from the time I was little and playing school by lining up old gas can boxes, pretending they were student desks. Sometimes I’d play postmaster — my mother was village postmaster for 30 years — but usually I’d play the teacher role.

As a student in Huslia from kindergarten through 10th grade, I admired my Alaska Native teachers like Dorothy Jordan and Lois Huntington. I saw that it was important to let children know that they’re loved, cared for, valued, that they can achieve whatever they dream.

DF: You’re in your second year as an administrator with the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. How did a love of encouraging children shape your career?

BK: I began as a preschool teacher with the Fairbanks Native Association, then director of its Head Start program and then was hired by the school district where I taught for 20 years, mostly in kindergarten. I love children. I’ve learned that the “difficult student” has a story to tell.

And I like to establish bonds with students and their families so they feel welcome to participate in the child’s education.

DF: Can you share some highlights from your teaching life? Things that might inspire future teachers?

BK: You never know whose heart you’ll teach as an educator! Once my sister and I were at the fair and I heard someone say, “Mrs. Kokrine?” It was a “challenging” student from my first year of teaching. That 6-foot young man gave me a big hug. My sister took our picture.

One summer I received a random phone call from a young woman whom I taught as a kindergartener. She found my number in the phone book. She just wanted to say thank you!

DF: How have Doyon Foundation scholarships helped you achieve your education and career goals?

BK: Baasee’ to Doyon Foundation for supporting me. It’s with Doyon Foundation help that I graduated as a young mother. That scholarship money goes a long way: I remember having $5 and treating my children to French fries and a place to play. I don’t take those sorts of memories for granted.

DF: How did being a Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient lead to your commitment to learn Denaakk’e?

BK: Doyon Foundation is doing good work in helping students with scholarships and advancing language revitalization. In both cases, Doyon Foundation is helping people reach their goals.

DF: You’ve said the youth and Elders are on your heart.

BK: It’s a thought that guides my plan for a second career after I retire from education. I want to use Denaakk’e while helping Indigenous students succeed in higher education, such as college or trade school.

My dream is for Elders to have company and for young adults to have housing as they attend college or trade school. It’s a struggle coming from the village. I know that role all too well.

My goal is to finish my doctorate in Indigenous studies at UAF. It’s a challenging program; after my mother died in 2019, I briefly felt like putting the PhD on a back burner. Then my husband reminded me that I’m working toward this degree not just for me but for our children, our nieces, our nephews. For the youth. 

DF: What advice do you have for students thinking of going on to college or vocational training?

BK: Set goals, including daily goals for doing your homework.

My biggest challenge has been time management. I had to set goals to get my work done on time. Weekly goals and routines — for instance, setting aside time between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. to do homework — can help you avoid falling behind. It takes self-discipline.

Do your homework as soon as you can after class while information is still fresh in your brain. Reserve time to edit your college writing once a paper is done. Find a healthy cohort of other students. They can help support your studies.

DF: What would you say to students who find they must interrupt their studies? It can be hard to pick up where they’ve off.

BK: I’d encourage students to keep coming back even if you’ve had a year off. Keep on working at your goals. Come back to school even if you’re working full-time and attending school part-time. Never give up.

DF: Things you like to do include hosting family dinners, traveling, photography, and learning about other cultures. Others to add to this list?

BK: Yes. I serve on the board of the Fairbanks Native Association and I’m a member of the Alaska Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, a statewide group within the Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice.

I enjoy sharing about the Koyukon Athabascan potlatches specific to the Huslia area. Developing a protocol for these potlatches was the focus of my master’s degree project in education and these celebrations are important to me. I love the bonding, working together, and gift giving and feeding my soul. It’s a time of singing and dancing and honoring those who’ve passed on. These potlatches are part of who I am.

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 grants from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) and Alaska Native Education Program (ANEP).

About our Language Champion profile series

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 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.

Strong roots connect us to our well-being”

Jennifer with Great Aunt Elizabeth Fleagle

Jennifer with her great-aunt, Dr. Elizabeth Fleagle

Originally from the Interior community of Allakaket on the Koyukuk River, Jennifer Adams is the daughter of the late Bob Maguire of Chelan, Washington, and the late Cora (Moses) Maguire of Allakaket. Jennifer’s maternal grandparents are Johnson Bergman Moses of Allakaket and the late Bertha (Nictune) Moses of Alatna. Other family include Jennifer’s great-aunt, Dr. Elizabeth Fleagle, a sister of Bertha Moses.

Jennifer is director of the Juneau-based Small Business Development Center, a unit within the Alaska Small Business Development Center, University of Alaska Anchorage. A Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient, Jennifer graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a bachelor’s degree in 2004 and a master’s of business administration in 2013. Her languages are Denaakk’e, spoken by Koyukon Alaska Native people, and Inupiaq, spoken by Inupiaq Alaska Native people.

Jennifer was a child when her father began introducing her to Inupiaq and Koyukon Athabascan. A non-Native teacher who came to Alaska straight out of college to teach at rural schools, Bob eventually arrived at Allakaket and met Cora, Jennifer’s mother.

Bob immersed himself in Koyukon and Athabascan cultures and in the lifestyles of Allakaket and Alatna. From his father-in-law, Johnson Moses, Bob learned Koyukon Athabascan vocabulary; his mother-in-law, Bertha Nictune Moses, taught him Inupiaq words. Jennifer grew up hearing her father readily incorporate both languages in everyday life.

“He’d say, ‘Wipe your nuvuk,’ (‘boogers,’ in Inupiaq) or ‘You have a big chaga,’ (‘stomach,’ in Koyukon Athabascan),” Jennifer says. And while Episcopal missionaries arriving in the early 1900s taught Jennifer’s parents not to speak their languages – and to not pass them on to their children – Jennifer’s mother went on to learn to speak Koyukon Athabascan as adult after studying at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Jennifer was enrolled in a fifth-grade bilingual Inupiaq class at Shugnak while her mother completed student teaching at a local school.

Jennifer believes that reconnecting Indigenous people to their culture and languages promotes a healthy society. And though her home in Juneau is far from people who speak her Native languages, Jennifer retains her connection by taking part in programs, including the He ‘ lelo Ola Hilo Field Study Conference in Hilo, Hawaii, in 2017.

“The conference was vital to learning about language immersion programs,” she says. Knowledge gained there led her to write a $1.6 million grant awarded to the Fairbanks Native Association for a Koyukon Athabascan classroom immersion program for preschoolers.

Her plans include continuing to research and write grants and enrolling in language courses in Inupiaq and Koyukon Athabascan. She also serves on Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization committee and was elected to the Foundation board of directors in November 2019.

“I’d like to thank Doyon Foundation and any other organizations that are instrumental in language learning programs,” she says. She knows from her own childhood that one of the best ways to acquire language is to use it in everyday settings.

“Language connects me to my culture,” Jennifer says. “It’s important to learn and preserve language knowledge so we have strong roots that connect us to our well-being.”

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 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.

Doyon Foundation is pleased to welcome two new members to its board of directors: Marie Cleaver and Aaron Roth. Cleaver and Roth were elected to the Foundation’s seven-member board at the annual membership meeting in November.

Marie CleaverCleaver, elected to serve a two-year remainder term, is originally from Ruby, and currently resides in Galena. A former Foundation scholarship recipient, Cleaver studied tribal management at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and will receive her certificate this spring. Cleaver has worked for Tanana Chiefs Conference, Fairbanks Native Association, and the Ruby Tribal Council. She currently works as an administrative officer/budget tech for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Galena. She is very involved with her children’s school, and loves the outdoors, painting, reading and crafting.

“I have always been very passionate about education, whether it be furthering my own or encouraging others to continue with theirs. As a past recipient, I feel this is a good way to give back,” Cleaver said. “I am honored and grateful to be able to sit on and serve with the Doyon Foundation board. They have done wonderful things for our people, and I look forward to learning and participating in all the awesome work that the Foundation is doing.”

Aaron RothRoth, elected to serve a three-year term, grew up in King Salmon and Wasilla, as well as Loretto, Tennessee, and currently lives in Anchorage. A former recipient of a Morris Thompson competitive scholarship, Roth holds a bachelor’s of business administration in finance and management from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is also a graduate of the Doyon Leadership Training. Roth’s work experience includes Prudhoe Bay, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, and Doyon Remote Facilities & Services. He currently works at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, where he is the program manager of the orthopedic clinic.

“I am very grateful for the support that the Foundation gave me when I was pursuing higher education,” Roth said. “Serving on the board is a way of giving back and giving thanks for that support. It also gives me an opportunity to build a stronger connection and become more engaged with the people that Doyon Foundation serves. I see serving on the board as continuing my education. I am beyond excited about learning everything that being a Foundation board member teaches.”

Following the board member elections last fall, officer elections were held at the Foundation board meeting in February. Lanien Livingston was re-elected as president, Jennifer Fate was elected as vice president, and LaVerne Huntington was elected as secretary/treasurer.

The Foundation extends its gratitude to outgoing member, Helena Jacobs, who served on the Foundation board for the past three years. During her term, Jacobs sat on the development committee, governance committee, scholarship committee, and language revitalization committee. She also served as vice president of the board.

Doyon Foundation recruits candidates for open seats on its board each fall. Doyon, Limited shareholders age 18 and older are eligible to serve on the board. Shareholders interested in serving are encouraged to watch the Foundation website, sign up to receive Foundation emails, and follow the Foundation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn for announcements of future opportunities.

For more information about the Foundation, visit or contact or 907.459.2048.

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The Doyon Foundation 2019 Graduate Reception takes place this Friday, May 10, at the Doyon, Limited Chiefs Court in Fairbanks. We are so excited to announce our confirmed full speaker line-up:

  • Alumni speakers: Brothers Aaron and Ethan Schutt
  • Elder speaker: Rev. Anna Frank, who received an honorary doctorate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Graduate speaker: Janessa Newman, 2019 University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate, bachelor’s of biological sciences

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In addition to these inspiring speakers, we will also hear introductions from our 2019 graduates and enjoy a performance by the talented Troth Yeddha’ dance group!

High school and college students who are graduating or have graduated during the 2018 – 2019 academic year are invited to attend, along with their friends, families, teachers and other Foundation supporters. Graduates are encouraged to wear their Native regalia, if they have it.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP with your name and the number of people attending to or 907.459.2048.

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Did you graduate this year? Or are you expecting to graduate in academic year 2018 – 2019? If so, tell us all about it so we can help you celebrate!

We are asking all Doyon Foundation students who are graduating during the 2018 – 2019 school year to complete a short graduate information request form. THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO FRIDAY, MAY 24.

We’ll feature the information you share in our popular annual graduate yearbook! Check out the 2018 graduate yearbook on our website.

This is our opportunity to celebrate all of your hard work and accomplishments! So please take a few moments now to fill out our graduate questionnaire.

Thank you and congratulations!

The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education currently needs 73 volunteers to participate in college & career panels for the Kids2College program – a partnership activity with the University of Alaska College Savings Plan. In addition to standard volunteer recruitment, we also seek panelists with connections to living/working in rural Alaska for virtual panels connecting with rural schools from our Anchorage office.

In addition to a few remaining Anchorage schools, we have panels scheduled for schools from the following regions: Aleut, Calista, Doyon, and NANA.

Would you or someone you know be interested in and available to help inspire young Alaskans with college and career stories?

Sign Up TODAY: (This online link includes the most up to date availabilities.)

Talk with 5th & 6th grade students about your own educational and career experiences as part of a 3-5 person career panel. We provide volunteers with guiding questions and tips and ask panelists to speak for 5-10 minutes to the class, then be available for Q&A at the end of the panel. Early dates and schools are listed below. Total time commitment is 1 hour, 15min.

Check out our 5-minute video & Career Panel Toolbox at:

Volunteers will not be responsible for speaking during the entire block of time. Please sign up online and help inspire Anchorage youth today! Spread the word and share with your friends & colleagues!

Help Inspire Young Alaskans to pursue higher education!

Volunteer Shifts in Anchorage & *Virtual Panels at ACPE for rural schools*

Tues., Mar. 19 12:45pm – 2:00pm Sand Point
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Wed., Mar. 20 9:15am – 11:30am Chester Valley Elementary
1751 Patterson Dr.
Wed., Mar. 20 1:00pm – 2:15pm Chester Valley Elementary
1751 Patterson Dr.
Thurs., Mar. 21 1:15pm – 2:30pm Talkeetna Elementary
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Fri., Mar. 22 1:45pm – 3:00pm Creekside Park Elementary
7500 E. 6th Ave.
Mon., Mar. 25 1:25pm – 2:00pm Alaska Gateway Schools
(Dot Lake, Tanacross, Tetlin, Northway)
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Wed., Mar. 27 9:45am – 11:00am Fairview Elementary
1327 Nelchina St.
Mon., Apr. 1 1:15pm – 2:30pm Ruby
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Tues., Apr. 2 8:45am – 10:00am Tuluksak
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Wed., Apr. 3 9:45am – 11:00am Nunapitchuk
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Wed., Apr. 3 1:45pm – 3:00pm Tok
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Tues., Apr. 9 9:15am – 10:30am Bowman Elementary
11700 Gregory Dr.
Wed., Apr. 10 1:15pm – 2:30pm Atmautluak
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Thurs., Apr. 11 9:15am – 11:30am Chevak School
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Tues., Apr. 16 8:45am – 10:00am Akiuk
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Wed., Apr. 17 9:45am – 11:00am Akula
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Wed., Apr. 17 1:45pm – 3:00pm Takotna
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Fri., Apr. 19 9:25am – 11:45am Petersburg
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Fri., Apr. 19 12:45 – 2:00pm Akiak School
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Fri., Apr. 19 2:15pm – 3:30pm Kobuk
*virtual panel at ACPE*
Fri., Apr. 26 1:45pm – 3:00pm Kuspuk River Schools
(Chuathbaluk, Stony River, Sleetmute, Crooked Creek)
*virtual panel at ACPE*
TBD TBD Deering
*virtual panel at ACPE*
TBD TBD Quinhagak
*virtual panel at ACPE*

Thank you in advance for your assistance!

Shelly Morgan, K-12 Specialist

Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education
800 East Dimond Blvd., Ste. 200
Anchorage, AK 99515
907-269-7972 wk
800-441-2962 toll free (Option 4)
907-269-7991 fax
907-301-3448 cell


Promoting access to and success in education and career training beyond high school.


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This Thursday, February 21 in Fairbanks


Join Doyon Foundation for our spring student dinner in Fairbanks this Thursday, February 21! The event takes place from 4 – 6 p.m. at the Doyon Industrial Facility, 615 Bidwell Ave., in the first floor classroom. If you please to attend, please RSVP here.

Gift Baskets

Join us for delicious food and door prizes!

We’ll have delicious food as well as door prizes, networking and words from our alumni speakers: Selina Sam, as well as our very own language revitalization program director, Allan Hayton!

All Doyon Foundation students, alumni, family, friends and other supporters are welcome to attend this free event. RSVP here.

Are you a Foundation alumni? If so, please consider bringing a door prize donation or a dish to share. Let us know what you can bring when you RSVP.

We look forward to seeing you!

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Join Doyon Foundation for a student dinner in Anchorage on Saturday, December 1! The evening begins at 5 p.m. in Room 106 at the Gorsuch Commons at the University of Alaska Anchorage. If you please to attend, please RSVP here.

We’ll have delicious food as well as a holiday-themed beadwork craft activity and door prizes!

All Doyon Foundation students, alumni, family, friends and other supporters are welcome to attend this free event. RSVP here.

Are you a Foundation alumni? If so, please consider bringing a door prize donation or a dish to share. Let us know what you can bring when you RSVP.

A special thank you to Foundation alumni for organizing this special event for our Anchorage-area students. We look forward to seeing you!

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Each year we commemorate the achievements of Doyon Foundation students who have achieved their educational goals in our annual Graduate Yearbook. We are excited to announce that our 2018 Graduate Yearbook is now available – and in a brand new, more interactive format! Check it out here. (Have corrections or additions? Please submit to

We celebrated the achievements of these grads at our 2018 graduate reception. See photos on Facebook. This annual event is our opportunity celebrate the hard work and incredible accomplishments of our students who are at the end of one important journey and getting ready to start on the next.

This year we celebrated a total of 51 Doyon Foundation graduates: 17 high school graduates, four obtained a certificate, eight got their associates degree, 20 received a bachelor’s degree, one completed a master’s degree, and one received their PhD!

At the reception, we heard from two inspiring speakers: alumni speaker Larissa Sommer, and graduate speaker Christina Edwin. If you missed the event, you can still check out their addresses on our YouTube channel.

ConGRADulations to our 2018 grads!

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Mark your calendar and plan to join us for the Doyon Foundation 2018 scholarship award ceremony! The event will take place Friday, September 7 at 2 p.m. in Fairbanks at the Doyon Industrial Facility building, 701 Bidwell Avenue, Suite 400, off South Cushman Street.

At the event, we will announce and celebrate our 2018 full-time and part-time scholarship recipients, as well as our 2018 – 2019 competitive scholarship recipients. We’ll also hear from Foundation staff, a student speaker and one of our alumni.

Ryan McCarty

2018 student speaker, Ryan McCarty

We are pleased to announce our student and alumni speakers! This year’s student speaker is Ryan McCarty, a freshman at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he is working toward an associate degree in process technology.

Diloola Erickson a1

2018 alumna speaker, Diloola Erickson

Our 2018 alumna speaker is Diloola Erickson. Diloola graduated in May 2018 from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with dual bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and rural development, with a concentration in small business and rural community planning. Diloola recently joined the Foundation as our Doyon Languages Online II project manager!

Students, family, friends, teachers, donors and other supporters are invited and encouraged to attend. We hope to see you there!

Doyon Foundation student Shawna Hildebrand attends the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), where she’s earning a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in rural development. Her parents are Edith and Darell Hildebrand of Nulato. Shawna’s maternal grandparents are the late Eleanor and Hughey Kriska of Koyukuk, and her paternal grandparents are Edith and Victor Nicholas of Nulato.

When she’s not in school, Shawna enjoys fishing and processing fish, among other cultural activities. Her hometown is Nulato. Shawna graduates in December 2018.

Shawna Hildenbrand
Doyon Foundation:
Keeping up with your courses became a significant obstacle this year. Can you say more about that?

Shawna Hildebrand: The biggest challenge this year has been the ability to do school work. I know that sounds bad, but during the fall semester I had surgery on my elbow, making it impossible to type for about two months. Even with a cast on.

I’m especially thankful for my professors – who were understanding of my grammatical mistakes – and assistive technology that permitted me to get all my homework done while I was healing. I definitely came to appreciate Doyon Foundation scholarships that allowed me to obtain the technology I needed to do my schoolwork and take part in class.

Doyon Foundation: That willingness to persevere sounds a lot like your advice to other students.

Shawna: The most important thing is to remember that you can do anything you set your mind to. That’s such a cliché, but it’s true.

Take the time to do your schoolwork and find a schedule that works for you. Don’t take your professors for granted either; they’re there to help you succeed and will work with you on assignments you are having difficulty with. The biggest thing is you need to be sure you’re going to school for something you love.

Doyon Foundation: You’ve experienced that first-hand.

Shawna: I put off deciding on a master’s program for five years because I couldn’t commit entirely to a master’s in counseling. I spent time looking at various degree programs and ultimately decided on the Master of Public Administration (MPA) at UAS after talking to some family.

The program intrigued me and fell in line with what I wanted to do with my career. I decided to jump feet first and here I am, less than two years later, about to graduate with my MPA in rural development.

Doyon Foundation: The degree seems to combine your professional work, your volunteer efforts and your long-term goals.

Shawna: I’m currently learning the world of self-governance at Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), where I’m employed as a self-governance operations coordinator. I’ve always said I would go to college and return to serve our people in whatever capacity they need me to.

Working full time and going to school full time haven’t left a lot of room for other activities, but I do volunteer as a committee co-chair at the Alaska Statewide Violence and Injury Prevention Partnership (ASVIPP).

ASVIPP is dedicated to reducing injury-related morbidity and mortality by providing leadership and expertise in the preparation, implementation, coordination and periodic review of injury prevention efforts.

I became involved because of my work in injury prevention and suicide prevention with TCC, and through partnerships with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. While my past work experience involved prevention, I find myself moving more toward assisting tribes in their self-determination efforts.

Doyon Foundation: You’ve earned Doyon Foundation scholarships since your undergraduate years. What has the Foundation’s help meant to you?

Shawna: I graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology, and Doyon Foundation funded a large part of my degree. When I applied to UAS as a graduate student, Doyon Foundation again awarded me a scholarship, making student loans less of a burden. I appreciate these scholarships for helping offset the cost of my education.

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 earn college degrees. 

The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. This year’s golf classic takes place June 21 and 22 in Fairbanks. To learn about opportunities to support the event as a sponsor or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details. 

A Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipient and University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) student from Wasilla, Jasmine Gilpin earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting in May 2018. Her parents are Monica and Joe Gilpin of Wasilla. Jasmine’s maternal grandparents are Irma and Dave Arrants of Wasilla, and her paternal grandparents are Shirley and Ed Knox of Surprise, Arizona.

Jasmine Gilpin with dogsJasmine: In January 2018, I started a semester-long internship in Anchorage at Alaska Permanent Capital Management (APCM) and was introduced to the financial planning industry. Financial planning and investment advising is the perfect career for me.

Doyon Foundation: Because it draws on your strengths.

Jasmine: Yes. It’s a career that involves helping people prepare for a financially secure future. The field is always changing and keeps you on your toes. It involves having to think strategically. I’ve found my passion.

Doyon Foundation: What’s on the horizon for you?

Jasmine: I’ve accepted a full-time position as an associate financial advisor at Alaska Permanent Capital Management. I plan to work there and complete my Series 65 license, which will qualify me as an investment advisor representative.

I’m excited to be finishing one milestone in my life – graduating from UAS – and beginning another. Doyon Foundation scholarships helped me pursue and finish my bachelor’s degree so that I’m graduating with minimal student loan debt.

Doyon Foundation: Your long-term plans include continuing your education in financial planning. What does that involve?

Jasmine: APCM offers amazing support and guidance to its employees. I’ll be working toward my Certified Financial Planner certification, which involves two years of on-the-job experience and an extensive exam.

Doyon Foundation: How did you manage obstacles on the way toward earning your degree?

Jasmine: For me, too much work and no play result in burnout and frustration. The biggest challenge in completing my degree was learning to balance work, a social life, and education.

I’ve learned over the years that I have to take time for myself to enjoy my hobbies, spend time with friends and family, and just living life to the fullest! Finding a balance can be difficult, but it’s necessary.

Doyon Foundation: It helps that you like to be outdoors.

Jasmine: In the winter I’m an extreme backcountry snowmobile rider and in summer I love to hike, camp, fish and hunt. I love the outdoors and try to spend as much time as possible enjoying all the activities that Alaska has to offer.

Doyon Foundation:You have real-world advice when it comes to college. What should other students know?

Jasmine: Obtaining a college degree can feel very difficult and overwhelming at times. Do not stop!

Taking even one class a semester is better than taking a complete break. Your education is something no one can ever take away from you. It’s powerful and it’s yours. Just keep chugging along!

Doyon Foundation: Any special thank-you’s?

Jasmine:My mom has been there through thick and thin, always cheering me on. Thank you, Mom!

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 earn college degrees. 

The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. This year’s golf classic takes place June 21 and 22 in Fairbanks. To learn about opportunities to support the event as a sponsor or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details. 


Diloola Erickson a1Doyon Foundation welcomes former student and intern Diloola Erickson as our new Doyon Languages Online II project manager!

“We are thrilled to have Diloola join our team and lead this new project. This is a beautiful example of ‘growing our own’ to serve important leadership roles in our region,” says Doris Miller, Foundation executive director. “Diloola brings energy, experience and passion for language revitalization, and we are excited to see how she helps grow this project.”

While the job is new to Diloola, she is not new to the Foundation. She is a previous Foundation scholarship recipient who graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks this spring with bachelor’s degrees in rural development and mechanical engineering.

Diloola also served as a First Alaskans Institute summer intern at the Foundation last year, developing multimedia materials promoting language revitalization in the Doyon region and helping to lead a language workshop at the 2017 First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference. Read more about Diloola in her language champion profile on the Foundation blog.

“I’m beyond thrilled to get to work with such a dynamic team at Doyon Foundation, and I’m honored to get to work on this project with our Athabascan languages,” Diloola says. “It feels really good to be able to step into a position where I can contribute to an organization that has helped me so much throughout my undergraduate studies.”

The Doyon Languages Online II project is funded by a three-year, $977,423 grant from the U.S. Department of Education – Alaska Native Educational Program. The project focuses on the languages Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross), Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana), Deg Xinag and Denak’i (Upper Kuskokwim). It will create more than 220 online language-learning lessons, train teachers in the use of the technology, and field test lessons with students.

This project builds on the progress of the existing Doyon Languages Online project, which is already developing online language-learning for Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in). Through these two projects, the Foundation will produce online learning for nine of the 10 Doyon region languages.

For more information on Doyon Languages Online visit the Foundation website,


Born in Fairbanks and raised in Hughes, Tanya Kaquatosh is the daughter of Barbara and the late Norman Bifelt Beatus of Hughes. Tanya’s maternal grandparents are Johnson and the late Bertha Moses of Allakaket, and her paternal grandparents are Sophie and Henry Beatus of Hughes.Tanya K headshot

A graduate of Stanford University and Arizona State University, Tanya Kaquatosh was named regulatory affairs director for Doyon Utilities in 2015, a position she accepted after joining the Fairbanks-based company in 2012. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford in 2003 and a master’s degree in business administration from Arizona State in 2013.

Tanya received Doyon Foundation’s basic scholarship as well as the Morris Thompson scholarship, a competitive award honoring the late Alaska Native leader and former chief executive of Doyon, Limited. Tanya credits the Foundation for help throughout her college career.

“The staff was always supportive and accommodating,” she recalls. “Doyon Foundation helped me advance my education not only with financial support but with encouragement. My affiliation with Doyon has allowed me to grow my educational and professional network.”

Tanya’s professional life is a lesson in steady advances. After earning her undergraduate degree, she went to work at Stanford in the financial aid office, where students seek help to fund their college education. She also worked as a barista in the Bay Area before moving to Fairbanks where she was employed from 2006 to 2008 as the cultural program coordinator at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center. Tanya developed the vision for Alaska Native cultural programming at the center, which opened in Fairbanks in 2008. The center upholds Morris Thompson’s legacy by promoting improved understanding between Alaska Native and non-Native communities.

In 2008, Tanya was named executive assistant to the president of Doyon, Limited – a job she held until joining Doyon Utilities in 2012 as a financial specialist. Her promotion in 2015 to regulatory affairs director involves her in utility rate filings, revenue requirements and other tariff matters.

Her undergraduate years taught her the value of asking for help.

“Oftentimes we don’t ask even though there are many good people who are willing and able to assist with tutoring, mentoring, encouragement, or informal and formal counseling,” Tanya says.

Her top tip for students is to take care of their mental and physical well-being. For instance, while earning her master’s degree Tanya worked full time and attended to life as a wife and mother. But she says that period seemed more balanced than her undergraduate days: “The stresses of schoolwork were much more manageable because I took better care of myself.”

Her focus today includes family life with her husband, Steve Kaquatosh, and children, 10-year-old Skye and stepdaughter Kaytona, 15. Tanya enjoys reading, exercise, travel and volunteering in school-based civic projects, such as We The People and Kids Voting. “I love supporting our youth and education,” says Tanya. She also has volunteered with the Alaska Native Education Parent Advisory Committee, a group within the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.

In addition to pursuing her career with Doyon Utilities, Tanya’s goals include learning to speak Denaakk’e (Koyukon). Tanya, who is both Koyukon Athabascan and Inupiaq Eskimo, was named Aluqsi after her great-great grandmother, Ida Beatus, who was Koyukon.

“She was given the name Aluqsi by the Inupiaq people,” Tanya recalls. In English the name translates as “warm person.”

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