alumni


64_DF_2018 Yearbook Link Promotion_blog

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 foundation@doyon.com.)

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!

57_DF_2018 Scholarship Award Ceremony - Promotion_Blog

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, www.doyonfoundation.com/dlo.

 

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.”

Sierra Evans is the daughter of Glenn and Tami Evans of Manley Hot Springs and Nenana; her grandparents are Thomas and Gwen Evans of Rampart, and Wayne and Marion Taylor of Nenana. Her hometown is Palmer.

SierraSierra earned Doyon Foundation scholarships for four straight years before graduating in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Grand Canyon University (GCU) in Arizona. She’s employed today in Los Angeles as an analyst with the global financial company Willis Tower Watson, and credits the Foundation for scholarship help so that she could go to school in Arizona.

“It isn’t easy to stay motivated to make your dreams a reality when you’re far from home,” she says. “My family was extremely supportive. Doyon Foundation scholarships helped immensely.”

Returning home to Alaska helped too. To earn money to stay in school, Sierra worked three summers in a row at Kantishna Roadhouse, the Denali National Park backcountry lodge operated by Doyon Tourism, a subsidiary of Doyon, Limited.

Her goals include continuing her finance career and enrolling in a master’s program in psychology at GCU. She plans to eventually earn a doctorate and pursue a psychology career.

Sierra says that volunteer and community work are important stepping-stones to rewarding work after college graduation. A four-year member of her university’s business club, she served as president for two years when the GCU club was the largest of its kind in Arizona. Competitions in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., expanded her network, as did working for the chair of the business department at her university.

When she learned that Arizona has among the highest rates of high school dropouts, Sierra presented a talk on the importance of earning a high school diploma and planning for college. Volunteer work also helped distinguish her resume; Sierra earned several awards, including being named among the top 10 future business executives in a nationwide competition.

Job interviews found her ready to answer questions based on real-world experience as a student worker and business club president. “Getting involved in volunteer work and work for GCU was the best decision I made,” she says. “The more involved you are, the more opportunities you have.”

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