Each year, Doyon Foundation awards Morris Thompson competitive scholarships to students who exhibit the qualities we admired most in the late Morris Thompson – vision, dedication to excellence, exemplary leadership and integrity. This year is no different.
As we prepare for the upcoming Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic – our largest annual fundraiser benefiting the Morris Thompson Scholarship Fund – we invite you to get to know some of our 2015 – 2016 Morris Thompson scholarship recipients.
Geoffrey, of Fairbanks, Alaska, is the son of Glenn and Adele Bacon, and the grandson of Michael and Eleanor Michel, and Joseph and Frances McCullough.
A graduate of Cornell University in May 2016, Geoffrey holds a master’s degree in industrial and labor relations. He now plans to use his foundation in labor relations to “transition into other human resources areas and continue the work of improving people’s lives.”
During the pursuit of his degree, “Doyon Foundation provided me financial assistance with a generous scholarship,” Geoffrey said. “Thank you again for helping me achieve this educational and professional goal.”
Geoffrey advises current students to “Have a clear vision of where you want to be in the long-term. That vision will help you clarify what are important goals you need to achieve now or in the near future that will help you achieve that vision.”
Jordan has lived all over Alaska, and spent his early years predominantly in Southeast Alaska. He currently resides in Seattle, Washington, but will move to Fairbanks later this year. He is the son of Steve and Vicki Craddick, and is the grandson of John Kristovich and June Parsons, and Randolph Kalkins and Caroline Demientieff.
Jordan attends the University of Washington, where he is a third-year graduate student pursuing a PhD in history – Alaska Native history. He begins his dissertation research this summer and hopes to graduate in May 2018.
After receiving his PhD, “There are many things I would like to accomplish,” Jordan said. “First and foremost I intend to teach. Providing students with a history told from an indigenous perspective is necessary if we are to counter the biased narratives that persist to this day. Next I intend to continue my research and writing with the hope that my projects will be of use to the Native community at large. Finally, I would like to be involved in the preservation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge.”
Scholarship support has been “critical,” Jordan said. “It demonstrates a real investment in the future not just in monetary terms but also in the advancement of indigenous career prospects. For me personally, this support demonstrates confidence in what I can and will achieve. For that I am forever grateful.”
Jordan describes education as “an empowering process that allows us to focus not so much on what we are, but rather, what we will become. For many of us the pursuit of knowledge will never end and the journey is the reward.”
Jordan advises current students to “take the time to explore what interests you and what you’re passionate about. Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged by measures of aptitude, education is a process which means persistence is the key.”
Jarynn, originally from Palmer, Alaska and currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota, is the daughter of Lucille Stickman and the late John Cunningham II. She is the granddaughter of the late Jessie Stickman and the late Donald Stickman, and Betty Cunningham and the late John Cunningham.
A sophomore at Century College, Jarynn is working toward an associate’s degree in computer science. She plans to go on to receive a bachelor’s degree and then “start my career in software development that will hopefully one day be beneficial to our community.”
Receiving a scholarship from Doyon Foundation “makes me feel like I have people outside of my friends and family who are equally invested in the success of my educational goals,” Jarynn said. “I have a great appreciation towards the Doyon Foundation because without the scholarship I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my goals without falling into debt.”
During her own educational journey, Jarynn has “learned that education allows us to reach our full potential, dream bigger dreams and aid in social mobility. So the way I see it is that education is a lifelong journey and that everyone should have the opportunity to embrace it.”
Speaking to current students, Jarynn said, “Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it. Whether that be academically, financially, or socially. Everyone needs someone by their side to help guide the way to success.”
Kyle, originally from Fairbanks and Juneau, and now living in Anchorage, is the son of Beverly Demientieff and Rodney Worl, and the grandson of Alice and Rodolfo Demientieff, and Rosita Worl and Rodolfo Rodriguez.
Kyle is a senior at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he will graduate from in August 2016 with a bachelor’s of arts in anthropology, and a minor in Alaska Native studies.
Following that, “I will be applying to graduate schools this fall to continue my education in the field of linguistics or language revitalization. I hope to use my education to help our community bring new life into our Native languages,” Kyle said.
Education is important to Kyle as it “broadens our horizons and creates new opportunities. It allows us to see what our community needs and take action to creating a solution.”
Kyle’s scholarships from Doyon Foundation “made it possible for me to complete my undergraduate without having to also take on a full-time job or take semesters off to pay for tuition. I was able to focus on my education and graduate with honors. I am grateful for all the support Doyon Foundation has given me throughout my undergraduate degree.”
“Be involved in your community,” Kyle encourages his fellow students. “It will give greater meaning to your education and motivation to complete your degree.”
Krysten, originally of Maple Valley, Washington and currently residing in Stanford, California, is the daughter of Robert and Dawn Walker, and the granddaughter of Virginia Sweetsir and the late David Sweetsir, Sr., and Jan and the late Bob Walker.
She is a junior at Stanford University, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s of science in science, technology and society, with a concentration in innovation, technology and organizations.
For Krysten, “Receiving a Doyon Foundation scholarship means graduating from Stanford debt-free and on time. My Doyon Foundation scholarships have been able to fill the gaps in my institutional financial aid, leaving me with time to find my place on campus without worrying about spending all of my free time at work.”
Krysten describes her time at Stanford as “life changing. My classes have challenged me to examine the world around me critically. Outside of class, my dormmates and sorority sisters have taught me infinitely more. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to get to know such a diverse group of people and I’ve really valued every minute of my Stanford experience.”
To her fellow students, Krysten advises, “Stay true to yourself. I’ve found that it’s easy to get stuck in the trap of taking hard classes because everyone else is doing it and then stress about your grades, sacrificing your health and well-being for something that isn’t meaningful to you. Find value in what you do and success will follow, whatever success means to you.”
Darren, originally from McGrath, Alaska and currently residing in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is the son of Carl and Marcia Whitworth, and the grandson of the late John and Cecelia Andrews, and the late Rudolph and Ethel Whitworth.
Darren graduated in May 2016 from Regent University with a master’s of divinity, with a concentration in chaplain ministry.
“Although it seems the learning has only begun, I hope to put my education to work in my local community, and in communities around the world,” said Darren, who plans to serve and pursue a career in the chaplaincy field. “While being open to the lead and guidance of the Spirit of God, I hope to accomplish my life’s purpose, and destiny, which I believe involves serving the people of Alaska, as we build healthy, vibrant, prosperous communities to the glory of God.”
Darren values education because, “When it comes to each person finding and fulfilling his or her own purpose in life, an education can help them find, and develop his or her own strengths. I believe as we seek an education, we maximize our potential in bringing forth our gift or contribution to the world,” he said.
Receiving a Doyon Foundation scholarship was important to Darren because “Instead of channeling my energies to a part-time job, or a work study program, I am able to devote my attention, time and energies to my academic course work,” he said. “Your support also shows how much we as Athabaskans value education, so it is a privilege and an honor to receive financial contributions from Doyon Foundation, as I feel compelled to take more responsibility for the assets you have entrusted to me.”
To current Foundation students, Darren said, “I would encourage you to be yourself, because the minute you try to be someone else is the first minute we lose the personality, character, and person you bring into our world – you are a blessing. Another word of advice, I would encourage you to run your own race. Given your own life circumstances, you may have to balance school with work and a family, so even though the program is a three- or four-year program, it is okay to complete it in the length of time that is good for you.”