alumni


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.

“There is no greater joy than watching children have fun learning their language”

Susan Paskvan se’ooze’ dehoon Denaakk’e hełde K’etsoo seeznee. Sedełnekkaa Eliza yeł Benedict Jones, Sr. hebe’ooze’. Eenaa’e bedełnekkaa setsoo kkaa Josie yeł Little Peter yeł hegheelaa’ee. Eetaa’e bedełnekkaa setsoo kkaa Jessie yeł Harry Jones yeł Andrew Edwin yeł hegheelaa’ee. Toneedze gheltseełne hʉt’aan eslaanh. Meneelghaadze T’oh hʉts’e tsaadaanslet ts’uh Fairbanks lesdo. Seyełledoyee Steve Paskvan. Keel kkaa neeteehne hoolaanh. Jason yeł Adam yeł hebe’ooze’. Denaakk’e yeł Benhti Kokht’ana Kenaga’ hedohʉdege’eeh dehoon hedok’ʉhdeł’eeghenh eslaanh.

My name is Susan Paskvan while in Denaakk’e they call me K’etsoo. My parents are Benedict and Eliza Jones. My mom’s parents are my late grandparents Josie and Little Peter. My dad’s parents are my late grandparents Jessie Edwin and late grandfathers Harry Jones and Andrew Edwin. I am of the Middle of the Stream Clan. I am from Koyukuk but live in Fairbanks. My husband is Steve Paskvan. We have two sons. Their names are Jason and Adam. I am learning Denaakk’e and Benhti while I am also a language teacher.

K’etsoo Susan Paskvan is the Native language coordinator for the Yukon-Koyukuk School District (YKSD), comprising a correspondence program and 10 village schools that dot the Yukon, Koyukuk and Tanana river systems. A Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient, Susan graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and is pursuing a master’s degree at UAF in linguistics and Alaska Native languages. She was awarded a shareholder of the year award from Doyon, Limited and the Alaska Federation of Natives for dedication to heritage languages.

The YKSD serves an area larger than Washington state and encompasses three Alaska Native languages: Denaakk’e, Denaakk’a and Inupiaq. Eight village schools are off the road system. Virtually all children enrolled in the village schools are Athabascan. Susan’s languages are Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana) and Denaakk’e (Koyukon).

Doyon Foundation: How did your language learning begin? How did it become your life’s work?

K’etsoo Susan Paskvan: When I was growing up, we learned household words and phrases – nok’eedonh for “time to eat,” and onee’ “come here.” Then at UAF I took two years of language classes with my mother, so I gained a lot of vocabulary and a strong foundation in the grammar of our language. In 1999, I started as an apprentice with Madeline Williams and my sole job was to learn Denaakk’e with her for two years. I learned how to listen and to practice though my ear instead of writing things down all the time.

I led a summer institute for three years at UAF for teachers and that led to my YKSD job in 2003. I work with a language team, including teachers and Elders, and develop curriculum based on what the team wants the children to learn. The team decided what the children should learn to say in both Denaakk’e and Benhti for the workbook that we developed. I teach classes in 18 different classrooms across the YKSD region. Before pandemic restrictions, I traveled to each of the 10 village schools at least once every semester.

DF: You’re also committed to language beyond the classroom. How did that come about?

KSP: My hope is to get language revitalization going in the community, within tribes and with parents. With only 30 minutes a day for language learning in the classroom, it’d take a long time to become fluent.

I’ve learned that adults want to know at least two things: How to introduce themselves in the language and how to sing the traditional memorial songs. The songs are composed to honor a deceased loved one and sung at a memorial potlatch. Some of the old songs have “high language,” full of poetry, riddles and metaphors. Instead of saying, “He was a good hunter,” the song might say, “He laid down his bow and arrow here,” alluding to the place where he camped and hunted.

Memorial songs are meant to lift you up. It’s a great source of cultural pride when people can sing their traditional songs. To help with that, I’ve done workshops in the villages to get those songs recorded, transcribed and translated. We have a nice collection and hope someday to publish a songbook. I’ve also made the audio files available and digitized them for CDs.

DF: So much of your dedication stems from the work of your mother, Eliza Jones, the University of Alaska teacher of Denaakk’e, and your aunt, Madeline Williams of Hughes, the Tanana Chiefs Conference teacher whom you apprenticed with. What is the role of venerated Elders like your mother and aunt in language learning today?

KSP: The Elders have always told me, “Never give up.” They understand that passing on the language depends on people being encouraged to pick it up. “Never give up” means recognizing that the biggest challenge is in finding learners. And for those learners, it means having enough time.

I think what’s meant by “never give up” is a recognition that learning takes a motivated person who’s passionate about the language and accepts that the more you learn, the more you realize what you don’t know.

DF: You’re saying that students must learn to accept mistakes.

KSP: Yes. I’ve made mistakes and I’ll continue to make mistakes. I’m always learning spelling! But you just have to keep going.

Some of the reluctance, I think, among people in their 60s and 70s comes from boarding school experience when students were punished for speaking their language. They need healing. Gauging a person’s readiness to learn the language is part of the challenge. Learning can be very difficult if teaching isn’t done in a way where it feels safe to make mistakes.

DF: A goal you’ve set for yourself is to become fluent in Denaakk’e. What are attributes of fluency? How does your study of linguistics fit in?

KSP: Linguistics is a scientific way of understanding every aspect of language, including meaning and use. If I’m meeting with language speakers and we’re talking about tanning furs and if I have some kind of linguistics then I understand how context could help me figure out the names of things like tools, fur, membrane and the actions that people are taking.

Being able to pray in the language, to compose songs in the language — these are top-level fluency skills. I’m not there yet, but mother is. She’s 83 and we talk several times a week. I’m a language teacher, but I’m also learning. I encourage people to just start small, to have success with what you’re learning and practice with people, and then just keep adding on.

My mother’s first language was Denaakk’e. She was born in Cut-Off and traveled with her family to different camps. The family moved to Fairbanks in 1970 where she started her work with linguist Michael Krauss, then director of UAF’s Alaska Native Language Center. The linguists had all these questions for my mother and when she’d ask, “What are you working on?” they’d say iterative grammar or another technical aspect of language. Then she’d have them teach her too. Iteration refers to the structure of a verb.

She learned all that. She became a linguist herself while working with speakers throughout the region, documenting their stories and genealogy and place names. She worked 20 years at UAF to document Denaakk’e and in 2000, she shared authorship on the Koyukon Athabascan Dictionary with the Rev. Jules Jetté who began work on the dictionary draft when he came to Alaska in 1898.

DF: Now that’s an example of never giving up.

KSP: Because of all the language and knowledge that Elders have shared with me over the years, because of my mother’s work at UAF, I have a responsibility to pass this knowledge on. I read every day in Denaakk’e, I lead video-conference teaching sessions. It’s a matter of carrying on my mother’s work.

DF: You believe that language learning is a way of being shaped by the culture. What’s an example that comes to mind?

KSP: When you learn your language, you really get grounded. When I teach our origin stories and songs, students learn our beliefs about birds and animals and plants.

In a Zoom group recently we were talking about feelings. We were learning phrases — “I feel tired, I feel happy, I feel sad.” Then we came to ebaa. It means “ouch” or “I’m sick,” but we also teach young students not to say this word because we don’t want them to grow up complaining about a lot of aches and pains. That’s just one example of learning culture through the language.

DF: Where is your commitment to language learning leading you? What’s on the horizon?

KSP: In addition to becoming fluent in Denaakk’e, I would really like to develop a community digital archive of the language. My goal is to get the stories, songs, etc. that are in audio files and make it useable by language learners.  And I want to have an institute to start an immersion school for children. There really is no greater joy than watching children have fun learning their language.

About Doyon Languages Online

Through the Doyon Language Online project, Doyon Foundation is developing introductory online lessons for Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Deg Xinag, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross), Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Hän, Holikachuk and Nee’aanèegn’ (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.

About the 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 haytona@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.

Are you a graduate in the Class of 2021? If so, tell us all about it so we can help you celebrate!

We are asking all Doyon Foundation students who graduated or are graduating in the 2020 – 2021 school year to complete a short graduate information request form by Monday, May 3. We’ll feature the information you share in our 2021 electronic graduate yearbook! Check out the 2020 graduate yearbook on our website.

As an additional way to celebrate our graduates, we are creating a special video featuring our 2021 graduates. In your video, you can briefly share about your future plans, thank those who have helped along the way, or give advice or encouragement to others. Check out last year’s video here.

There are two options for submitting your video:

  1. Complete the graduate information request form
  2. Upload it at a later date using our video submission form

Please make sure your video is horizontal, no more than 30 seconds long and that the file is no larger than 50 MB.

Help us celebrate all of your hard work and accomplishments! Please take a few moments now to fill out our graduate questionnaire and upload your graduate video.

From all of us here at Doyon Foundation, conGRADulations and thank you!

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

We need to educate our youth and allow them to grow”

A daughter of Unsoon and Allen Varner of Anchorage, Monica Lee earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration management in 2011 from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and a master’s in business administration in 2020 from Alaska Pacific University (APU). She earned a graduate certificate in Alaska Native Leadership from APU in 2019.

Her paternal grandparents are Rachel and Doug Minton of Wainwright and her paternal great-grandparents are Stanley and Irene Kootoak of Point Hope and Barrow. Monica received Doyon Foundation scholarships each semester while attending UAA and APU. Her hometown is Anchorage.

Monica Lee began her professional career in human resources and management, most of that time within the medical field, including eight years with Anchorage-based Southcentral Foundation. She went on to provide consulting for tribal organizations with an interest in workforce development, an approach aimed at enhancing economic stability by considering overall needs of a region as well as barriers faced by prospective workers. 

Monica works today as a human resource business partner at Arctic IT, a Doyon, Limited-owned business specializing in information technology and software services. The role involves her in leadership team projects that include establishing a shareholder outreach program.

“Supporting Alaska Native youth within their professional development is how I see our community growing strong,” she said. “I’m very passionate about shareholder outreach and hire.” 

Her goals include helping more school-age shareholders learn about education and workforce training opportunities available through their Alaska Native corporations. 

“I didn’t grow up realizing what Doyon, Limited and Doyon Foundation had to offer,” Monica said. “Students have so many different opportunities and support within the community. I want to educate them about the benefits they have through Doyon and other Alaska Native corporations.” 

She encourages students to develop habits for success like seeking out mentors who can help young people navigate opportunities and offer help when challenges arise. As she considers her own professional development, she credits the Alaska Native Executive Leadership Program at Alaska Pacific University as a valuable step. 

“That was one of the most meaningful educational moments in my life,” Monica said. It combines insight into the history of Alaska Native leaders with an overview of how community is built among Alaska Native people. 

“We have been blessed to have strong leaders support us this far. Now we need to educate our youth and allow them to grow,” Monica said. Benefits offered through Arctic Slope Regional Corp., Southcentral Foundation and Doyon Foundation made it possible for her to complete the Alaska Native leadership program. “I’m so grateful,” she said.

Monica and her husband, Trent Lee, operate a small business that includes cafes in four professionally managed office buildings in Anchorage. In addition to studying, working full time at Arctic IT and helping run the small business, she enjoys seeing Alaska with her family. 

“Time management is a difficult challenge. I schedule blocks of time for work, school and family to make sure my work is completed by the weekend,” she said. “In the summer, we’ll be on the boat or at the river fishing. In the winter we’re out snowmachining and exploring the backwoods with our children.”

Long-term goals include earning a doctorate and continuing career development efforts so that young Alaska Native shareholders are prepared to lead. 

“I plan to share my knowledge and experience,” Monica said. “My main goal is to support my community.”

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.

177_Alumni Drive Promotion_v1_FB-IN

Complete our short survey to be entered to win

Are you Doyon Foundation alumni? If you’ve received a Doyon Foundation scholarship in the past, we want to hear from you! Please take a couple minutes to complete our short alumni survey.

As a thank you for your time, all alumni who respond by Friday, September 25 at 5 p.m. will be entered in a random drawing to win one of the following prizes:

Your participation will help us 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.

As part of the survey, you will have the opportunity to sign up for text and/or email updates from the Foundation, and connect with us on social media. You can also choose if you would like to participate in an upcoming alumni profile, which are featured on our website, blog and social media channels.

We look forward to hearing from our alumni, and thank you in advance for taking our alumni survey and sharing it with other alumni you know!

165_Virtual Grad Reception_Invite_FB-IN

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

Via ZOOM

RSVP to milkp@doyon.com 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!

 

131_Student_Promotion_BEVERLY_FB-IN

“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 haytona@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.

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 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.

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 www.doyonfoundation.com or contact foundation@doyon.com or 907.459.2048.

98_Grads Reception 2019 Promotion_FB_IN

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 foundation@doyon.com or 907.459.2048.

97_Grads Call Promotion_FB:IN

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: https://surveymonkey.com/r/K2C_VolunteerCareerPanel (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: www.acpe.alaska.gov/Kids2College.

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*

DATE TIME SCHOOL VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Tues., Mar. 19 12:45pm – 2:00pm Sand Point
*virtual panel at ACPE*
4
Wed., Mar. 20 9:15am – 11:30am Chester Valley Elementary
1751 Patterson Dr.
1
Wed., Mar. 20 1:00pm – 2:15pm Chester Valley Elementary
1751 Patterson Dr.
3
Thurs., Mar. 21 1:15pm – 2:30pm Talkeetna Elementary
*virtual panel at ACPE*
1
Fri., Mar. 22 1:45pm – 3:00pm Creekside Park Elementary
7500 E. 6th Ave.
5
Mon., Mar. 25 1:25pm – 2:00pm Alaska Gateway Schools
(Dot Lake, Tanacross, Tetlin, Northway)
*virtual panel at ACPE*
4
Wed., Mar. 27 9:45am – 11:00am Fairview Elementary
1327 Nelchina St.
2
Mon., Apr. 1 1:15pm – 2:30pm Ruby
*virtual panel at ACPE*
4
Tues., Apr. 2 8:45am – 10:00am Tuluksak
*virtual panel at ACPE*
5
Wed., Apr. 3 9:45am – 11:00am Nunapitchuk
*virtual panel at ACPE*
5
Wed., Apr. 3 1:45pm – 3:00pm Tok
*virtual panel at ACPE*
5
Tues., Apr. 9 9:15am – 10:30am Bowman Elementary
11700 Gregory Dr.
5
Wed., Apr. 10 1:15pm – 2:30pm Atmautluak
*virtual panel at ACPE*
4
Thurs., Apr. 11 9:15am – 11:30am Chevak School
*virtual panel at ACPE*
5-10
Tues., Apr. 16 8:45am – 10:00am Akiuk
*virtual panel at ACPE*
5
Wed., Apr. 17 9:45am – 11:00am Akula
*virtual panel at ACPE*
5
Wed., Apr. 17 1:45pm – 3:00pm Takotna
*virtual panel at ACPE*
1
Fri., Apr. 19 9:25am – 11:45am Petersburg
*virtual panel at ACPE*
1
Fri., Apr. 19 12:45 – 2:00pm Akiak School
*virtual panel at ACPE*
1
Fri., Apr. 19 2:15pm – 3:30pm Kobuk
*virtual panel at ACPE*
3
Fri., Apr. 26 1:45pm – 3:00pm Kuspuk River Schools
(Chuathbaluk, Stony River, Sleetmute, Crooked Creek)
*virtual panel at ACPE*
5
TBD TBD Deering
*virtual panel at ACPE*
5
TBD TBD Quinhagak
*virtual panel at ACPE*
5

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

shelly.morgan
https://www.acpe.alaska.gov
http://65by2025.org
https://www.facebook.com/followacpe/
https://www.facebook.com/iknowicanak/

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

 

78_Student Dinner Promotion_blog

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!

78_Student Dinner Promotion_blog

THE STUDENT DINNER, SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, IN ANCHORAGE, HAS BEEN CANCELED DUE TO THE EARTHQUAKE. OUR THOUGHTS ARE WITH EVERYONE AFFECTED BY THE QUAKE. 

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!

Next Page »