Student Profile


 

176_2020YearbookPromotion_blog

Meet the Doyon Foundation Class of 2020 in our interactive 2020 Graduate Yearbook! We also invite you to join us in congratulating this year’s graduates by commenting on Facebook or Instagram and tagging #DFGradLove.

 

 

131_Student_Promotion_LillianBorroughs_FB-IN“Doyon Foundation scholarships allowed me to focus on becoming the best nurse I can

Lillian Mandregan-Burroughs is the daughter of Joanna and Robbin Hams of Nebraska. Her biological father is Macarius D. Mandregan, Sr. of St. Paul Island. Lillians maternal grandmother is Lillian Evans and her great-grandmother is Sally Woods Hudson of Rampart. Lillians maternal grandfather is the late Ronald Long of Colorado. Paternal grandparents are Ludmilla (Bourdukofsky) Mandregan and Tracy Mandregan of St. Paul Island. 

Lillian is a member of the Fairbanks cohort in the bachelors degree nursing program at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). Shes a member of the Class of 2021. Lillian is a certified nursing assistant who has worked the past 13 years at Denali Center, a short- and long-term care unit in Fairbanks. 

Doyon Foundation: You’ve said that enrolling in the UAA nursing required a leap of faith. How did that come about?

Lillian Mandregan-Burroughs: I originally started my college education in 2006. Life happened and I ended up enjoying my time as a nursing assistant, becoming a wife and mother, buying a home and becoming comfortable where I was. But it’s never too late to pursue your passion if you’re willing to work for it.

My parents and Elders at work continued to urge me to pursue nursing. I cut my hours at work, studied a lot and soon found myself in the UAA School of Nursing, Fairbanks cohort. The hard work and countless study hours helped me pursue my dream. I had not planned on a pandemic during nursing school!

DF: Surely that’s been among the biggest hurdles you’re facing on the way to Graduation Day.

LMB: Nursing school is very challenging — its high standards require much more studying than I’d ever done before. Add Covid-19 into the mix and I’ve become a teacher for my children and myself.

To continue achieving good grades and advance myself, I’ve studied harder than ever. I hope to complete summer and fall semesters without any hitches.

DF: How have Doyon Foundation scholarships helped?

LMB: Doyon Foundation helped lessen the financial burden of nursing school through basic scholarships. I was able to focus on becoming the best nurse I can, rather than worry how I’ll come up with tuition and money to pay bills. Doyon Foundation scholarships allowed me to avoid needing student loans, which would have deterred me from accepting a seat in the School of Nursing.

DF: Your work at Denali Center and in the community sound like valuable experience for nursing, where you’ll be called on to connect with all kinds of people.

LMB: Yes. I’ve been a member of Two Rivers K-8 Parent Teacher Association for three years, including the first two years spent as the PTA secretary. Being in PTA allowed me to be involved in planning events for my children’s school and the Two Rivers community.

I love learning from and working with Elders. And I enjoy spending time with family, gardening, sewing, and caring for critters on my hobby farm.

We are always looking for inspiring students to share their stories! If you would like to be featured in an upcoming student profile, please complete our student profile questionnaire. If you would like to nominate a student for a profile, please contact us at 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.

159_MT_Spencer_FB-IN

Doyon is supporting my endeavor toward a career in the electrical field”

We’d like to introduce you to one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Spencer Brown. Even though we are unable to hold the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic scholarship fundraiser this year, we still want to highlight our 2019 – 2020 Morris Thompson students and honor their hard work and achievements.

A Doyon Foundation student pursuing his certificate in industrial electricity, Spencer is scheduled to graduate from the Alaska Vocational Technical School (AVTEC) in June 2020. His parents are Nadene and Chad Brown; Nadene is from the McGrath area and Chad is from Anchorage. His maternal grandparents are Alice Verdene and Richard Anslement; both are from the McGrath area. His paternal grandparents are Gloria and Howdice Brown; Gloria is from Elim and Howdice is from Benson, Minnesota.

Spencer, a 2019 – 2020 Morris Thompson committee’s choice scholarship recipient, is a 2019 high school graduate from Enlightium Academy. He currently lives in Seward, where AVTEC is located.  

Spencer understands the power of setting goals. “My plans for the next several months are to stay focused on school, work hard and finish at the top of my class,” he says. Beyond that, he’s eager to enter the workforce and keep learning.

“Doyon Foundation graciously offered to help support my endeavor,” Spencer says. His scholarship helped cover costs of tuition as well as tools needed for AVTEC classes. “Doyon helped me overcome this challenge.”

A tour of AVTEC introduced him to the range of topics covered in the industrial electricity certificate. Day-to-day homework involves Spencer in practical applications of mathematical principles and theory.

“I love that I’m able to figure out such things as superposition, sine waves and Thevenin and Norton equivalents,” he says. “Everything I learn has a reason and a purpose. It’s an incredibly interesting and diverse field.”

Graduates in industrial electricity are in demand as construction and maintenance electricians, controls technicians, and marine engineers, among other careers. AVTEC’s program attracts detail-oriented students who enjoy solving complex technical projects – a passion Spencer discovered when he was 14 and helped his father with a building project.

Spencer continues to value teamwork. “I’d say the most fun part of industrial electricity is the cooperation among my peers to complete various labs and projects,” he says. Among the most challenging tasks was memorizing complex diagrams and functions in a mathematical logic class.

Students in Spencer’s field demonstrate proficiency in circuit analysis, including an ability to design, build, test and troubleshoot circuits and devices. Industrial electricity classes involve physics; industrial safety and health; renewable power; and an understanding of the National Electrical Code for construction and maintenance projects.

Founded in 1969, AVTEC is the only career and technical education center for post-secondary students statewide. “I would absolutely recommend AVTEC to anyone interested in the trades,” Spencer says.

While his time away from studies is limited as graduation day approaches, Spencer says that taking a break helps. “I’m putting all my efforts into studying,” he says, “but I do allow myself downtime.” He enjoys reading, hiking, fishing and composing music.

“Whenever the going gets tough, ask for help, whether it’s from family, peers or Him up above,” Spencer says. He encourages other students to get enough rest, eat healthy foods, and avoid drugs and alcohol.

“Respect your body,” he says. “The effort you put into your studies will determine how successful you are at them. You are accountable for your actions.”

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 forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. And while the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

159_MT_Rebekah_FB-IN‘I want to work on stories that are inclusive and meaningful’

We’d like to introduce you to one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Rebekah Hartman. Even though we are unable to hold the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic scholarship fundraiser this year, we still want to highlight our 2019 – 2020 Morris Thompson students and honor their hard work and achievements.

A University of Alaska student graduating in 2021, Rebekah Hartman is the daughter of Michael and Angela Hartman. Her maternal grandparents are Alice and Rudy Demientieff of Holy Cross. Rebekah’s hometown is Wasilla. 

When Rebekah Hartman discovered the award-winning animated children’s program “Steven Universe,” a world opened up to her.

“Those are the types of shows I want to work on,” she said. The Cartoon Network adventure series tells the story of friends protecting their own kind in a fictionalized world. “Growing up, I did not really know anything about LGTTQ+ people — I thought they were strange. It was shows like ‘Steven Universe’ that made me realize I was wrong.”

Rebekah has earned Doyon Foundation scholarships throughout her college years as she pursues a bachelor’s degree in printmaking from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).

“What attracts me to animation is that, first of all, it’s beautiful and second is the impact that animated stories can have,” she said. “I want to work on stories that are meaningful and inclusive.”

An active volunteer focused on projects to benefit Alaska Native people, Rebekah served as student club secretary of the Alaska Native Social Workers Association in the 2019 – 2020 school year. The UAF group’s purpose includes service to others and promoting awareness of Alaska Native cultures in the state. At the winter holidays, Rebekah helped make greeting cards for the Fairbanks Native Association Elder Program. She has volunteered with First Alaskans Institute, an Anchorage-based public policy and research group, and with the Elders and Youth Conference sponsored by Alaska Federation of Natives.

She hopes other students will be attentive to mental health, especially if interest in school or self confidence starts to slip. “What I’ve found helpful to address these emotions is going to counseling,” she said. “It helps clear my mind and to understand myself better.”

Rebekah plans to return to UAF in the fall to complete her bachelor’s degree and then attend art school to earn a master’s degree in animation.

“I want to work on a show that includes Indigenous people,” she said. “We are constantly forgotten in television and when we are included, there are usually stereotypes.”

Among her favorite animated series is “Molly of Denali,” a first-of-its kind children’s show whose main character is an Alaska Native person. “My goal,” Rebekah said, “is to create meaningful stories for people to watch.”

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 forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. While the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

159_MT_Noah_FB-INYou have to know who you’re not to know who you are”

We’d like to introduce you to another one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Noah Lovell. Even though we are unable to hold the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic scholarship fundraiser this year, we still want to highlight our 2019 – 2020 Morris Thompson students and honor their hard work and achievements.

A University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) student graduating in May 2020, Noah Lovell is the son of Patrick and Sallie Lovell of Fairbanks, Alaska. Noah’s maternal grandparents are Lilian Evans of Rampart and Joseph Watson Burns of Fairbanks; his maternal great-grandparents are Thomas G. Evans of Rampart and Sally Woods Evans Hudson of Rampart. Paternal grandparents are Yoshiko Yamamoto of Kyoto, Japan, and John Lovell of Chelan, Washington. 

Noah earned Morris Thompson competitive scholarships throughout his college years; he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing. Noah’s hometown is Fairbanks, Alaska.

Doyon Foundation: Congratulations on becoming a member of the UAF Class of 2020. Spring semester in Alaska and around the world was upended because of the coronavirus pandemic. How did life change for you?

Noah Lovell: The pandemic and everything going on with it has been the biggest challenge I’ve faced during my education. For a social person like me, distancing because of the virus was difficult. I don’t know where I’d be without my family, friends and faith. I went from having most of my classes held in person to all of them being online.

But it’s also been an amazing reset: UAF is using technology so that students can continue to see their professors and classmates weekly. This challenging time shook the university and all of Alaska, but it has also revealed our resilience.

DF: Like a lot of us, you’ve used this upheaval to take stock of life.

NL: I’ve found a lot of wisdom in these words: “You have to know who you are not to know who you are.” What this means to me is to know what you like but focus more on what you love. I like to paint, and I love to write and play the violin. I’m also very happy and joyful and love to encourage others. I have figured out that I am not a mean person, but extremely easy-going with a lot of dedication to the things I love. I have found my identity and that makes everything else worthwhile.

Don’t let anyone box you in and don’t put anyone else in a box. Take a step back and evaluate the current situation of your life. Ask yourself what could be changed for the better and write it down. Give yourself time to be a student as well as to have fun with family and friends. It’s a balance, for sure.

DF: Does an example come to mind? Maybe a time when you’ve achieved that balance between school and time with friends?

NL: I’m a full-time student but I still manage to get involved in my community. One of the rewards is that you never know who you’ll meet.

For instance, it was a friend’s birthday back in the fall and he wanted to celebrate by having a group of us spend time at a local soup kitchen. I thought we were going to get dirty and work in the kitchen, but they had enough volunteers and so we were invited to sit and talk with people who were eating that day.

I met this awesome guy who truly knew the art of storytelling. A while later, when my mother, grandma and I visited the Fairbanks Correctional Center as part of a prison ministry, there was the man I met at the soup kitchen, visiting an inmate just like in the story he told me. We joked with each other and then he went his way and I went mine. You truly never know who you’re going to impact, and that kind of surprise keeps life interesting.

DF: Is taking time to evaluate life helping shape your plans after graduation?

NL:  My current long-term goal is to earn a master’s degree from the College of Theology and Ministry at Oral Roberts University and work in ministry. I would love to continue on to get a Doctorate in Theology, but it’s always one step at a time. This past year I’ve grown in my faith and because of this I’ve decided I’d like to further my education in something I’m truly passionate about.

DF: What’s it like spending summers among Alaska visitors? You’re an Alaska Native tour guide on the Riverboat Discovery, based in Fairbanks. The tour typically includes a visit to the Chena Indian village.

NL: The Riverboat Discovery is a wonderful opportunity that provided a strong foundation for me.

It’s an amazing job that allowed me to share the Alaska Native culture, specifically the Athabascan culture, with guests of Alaska. As a guide, I performed demonstrations in front of 300 to 800 people and learned valuable skills to carry into my future. The Riverboat has strong leadership and invested in developing its employees. As a guide I was provided customer service, leadership and mentoring training. I’m very thankful for the work experience and I believe it has helped me to develop skills to take into my future.

DF: How has earning a Morris Thompson competitive scholarship benefited you? Has it helped in ways that you didn’t anticipate?

NL: The Doyon Foundation has truly lifted me as a student. Receiving the Morris Thompson competitive scholarship was an honor and true blessing.

Being awarded scholarships from Doyon Foundation provided me with the resources to succeed in my degree and the confidence to excel in school. I was able to pay tuition, buy textbooks and other course-related expenses, and focus on my course load.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank God, my family and my friends who have continued to encourage and support me through my undergraduate education. A big thank you to Doyon Foundation and everyone who has helped me these past four years; here’s to the class of 2020!

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 forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. While the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

 

159_MT_John_FB-IN

When work hours end, Im 100 percent a father” 

A medical student completing his residency in anesthesiology, John Williams graduated in May 2020 from Texas A&M College of Medicine. He is from Lake Jackson, Texas. 

With just days to go before graduating with his medical degree, John Williams considered what it takes to set a goal and meet it.

“My biggest tip for success is to make things happen for yourself,” he said.

“Whether you’re working on a big goal like furthering your education or a small goal like finishing an assignment, obstacles are always going to get in your way.”

His advice: Anticipate challenges without losing sight of success.

For instance, one response to setbacks may be to accept a finish that’s less than you’re capable of. Others may seek help — the right answer sometimes, John said, but not always.

“And some people are just going to continue to work and try different things until they find a way to finish perfectly. Be that person who does not give up,” he said.

John’s goals include becoming a pediatric anesthesiologist or a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist. His medical residency is in anesthesiology in Temple, Texas.

“Doyon Foundation made a gigantic difference my education,” he said. While students in his specialty may graduate with six-figure loan debt, John will start his career with a fraction of that amount — a fact he attributes to Doyon Foundation’s generosity. “This has been extremely helpful to my family and me,” he said.

John serves at a free clinic for underprivileged people and enjoys rock climbing and golf. He built a rock wall in an upstairs room at his house and practices there with his sons, aged 2 and 1.

“It’s challenging to be a big part of my kids’ lives as well as being a good student,” John said. He’s learned to treat time spent studying as work. “During work hours, I’m extremely focused and knock out my priorities. When work hours end, I am 100 percent a father and I forget about school.”

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 forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. While the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

159_MT_Jasmine_FB-IN

“Your education is powerful and it’s yours. Just keep chugging along!”

A 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: 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 forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. While the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

159_MT_Hannah_FB-IN

Doyon Foundation scholarships help me share diversity within health care-related discussions”

We’d like to introduce you to one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Hannah Bagot. Even though we are unable to hold the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic scholarship fundraiser this year, we still want to highlight our 2019 – 2020 Morris Thompson students and honor their hard work and achievements.

A graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hannah Bagot is the daughter of Michael and Helen Bagot. Hannah is completing a master’s degree in health care administration and graduating in May 2021. Her hometown is Pleasanton, California. 

Hannah Bagot recalls searching out college programs to find one that matched her goals. It’s a path familiar to lots of students on their way to a rewarding career.

“I explored other majors in health care but they never seemed to be the right fit,” Hannah said, adding that obstacles like these can feel like failure.

“But through volunteering, working and internships, I eventually came to find the right profession for me,” she said. Hannah has volunteered at hospitals in North Carolina and in Utah, where she worked with a physical fitness program for children with special needs.

“My biggest piece of advice for other students is to take opportunities and try new things even if they’re not in your scope of interest or field of study. Everything can be a learning experience,” she said.

“You never know where you will pick up new skills, meet new people, or discover new passions. Try not to compare yourself with others.”

Scholarships from Doyon Foundation have helped Hannah attend schools to gain professional and academic skills for success in health care. “Doyon Foundation has made it possible for me to pursue a graduate degree in a field I’m passionate about,” she said. “Doyon Foundation scholarships have given me the opportunity to share diversity within health care-related discussions.”

Hannah’s plans include a summer internship in the strategy department of Atrium Health, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based nonprofit with hospitals and medical clinics in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Her long-term goals after graduation involve seeking an administrative fellowship and work in a health care organization.

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 forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. While the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

 

159_MT_Angeli_FB-IN

I’m forever grateful for help I’m receiving from Doyon Foundation. Baasee!”

We’d like to introduce you to one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Angeli Kristovich. Even though we are unable to hold the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic scholarship fundraiser this year, we still want to highlight our 2019 – 2020 Morris Thompson students and honor their hard work and achievements.

Angeli Kristovich is the daughter of Carol Endresen of Fairbanks and the late Richard Kristovich of Ketchikan. Her paternal grandparents are Patrick and Jeannie Kristovich of Washington; her maternal grandparents are Angeline Evans of Koyukuk and Carl Noble of Fairbanks.

Angeli attends the University of Alaska Anchorage-Mat-Su campus where she’s pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in property management and real estate. She anticipates graduating in 2023. Angeli is from a family of Ketchikan fishermen.

Doyon Foundation: Congratulations on being awarded a Morris Thompson competitive scholarship. How did life prepare you for this moment?

Angeli Kristovich: I dropped out of high school at 15 and earned my GED. It was scary to find myself in back in class as a non-traditional student who had been out of high school for 15 years. It was hard getting back into school at first, but I learned there are many outlets and resources to help.

Studying hard is key and being involved on campus is important too. As I made more friends and used the tutoring center, the campus felt more like a home away from home rather than a scary place full of people who are smarter than me.

DF: That will sound familiar to lots of students who find their first semester at college pretty intimidating.

AK: My first semester was scary! I would go to the library and try to study but, needless to say, it was super overwhelming. So I’d check Facebook and other social media and end up spending time on my phone when I should’ve been studying.

I was able — luckily — to realize this trap. I ended up deleting all of my social media profiles. Since then I have felt freer! My decision might sound extreme, but for me it felt great. I have more time to study and I’m focusing on what I need to be focusing on.

DF: You’re involved in campus life to help concentrate on schoolwork and navigate college life in general?

AK: Yes. Volunteering and school work keep me very busy. I’m student government president at the Mat-Su campus and I’m vice president of the Alaska Native Cultures Club. I write for the Mat-Su Monitor, the student-run newspaper that’s distributed throughout the Mat-Su Valley.

When I’m not volunteering or involved with school stuff, I spend time with my husband and family. I stay very busy and out of trouble.

DF: Scholarship recipients like you nearly always mention specific things that would have been hurdles without Doyon Foundation help. Anything come to mind?

AK: I want to say thank you to all the donors who make Doyon Foundation scholarships possible. Without your help, my life as a full-time student would have been much harder. The Morris Thompson scholarship helped me with money to buy books and pay for gas to get back and forth to school.

I know my Grandma Angeline Evans is looking down on me and so proud that I’m finally putting all the wisdom she taught me into practice. Getting an education will open a lot of doors in my life. I’m forever grateful for all the help that I’m receiving from Doyon Foundation. Baasee!

DF: What’s on the horizon for you?

AK: I’m a wife and full-time student. After graduation, I want to be a real estate agent to help low-income families get into their dream home.

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 forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. While the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

131_Student_Promotion_BUDDY_FB-IN“I want to inspire students to excel at education” 

Raised in Seward, Buddy North attends Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City where he’s at work on a doctorate in philosophy and education. His mother is Marti Wallis of Fort Yukon and his maternal grandparents are the late Mae and Pete Wallis of Fort Yukon.

Buddy holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and a master’s degree from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He has been a Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient throughout his undergraduate and graduate years. Buddy anticipates graduating with his PhD in 2022.

Doyon Foundation: You’ve identified connections between your studies and Indigenous ways of teaching. What have you found?

Buddy North: The apex of formal education, PhD translates as doctor of philosophy. In this case, “doctor” means “expert” or “teacher,” while philosophy in ancient Greek means love of wisdom. Someone who earns a PhD becomes an expert in the love of wisdom, both a teacher and a leader.

This idea is reminiscent of the Indigenous way of education from time immemorial. Elders and leaders of Indigenous communities have always been experts and teachers, but unfortunately this has been given less emphasis in our times.

DF: These thoughts are shaping your long-term plans.

BN: Yes. I hope to teach instructors, philosophers, students and Native communities how to motivate a love of wisdom because it’s the foundation of all learning — Indigenous ways and the way of the schoolbook. With a philosopher’s eye toward the examined life, I abstain from drugs and alcohol.

I want to inspire students to excel at education to become Elders, experts, leaders and teachers. My professional goals hinge on giving back to our community and to others. By devoting my life to learning, sharing the love of wisdom, and working toward a healthier society, I hope to be a positive role model.

DF: How did Doyon Foundation help advance your education?

BN: Without Doyon Foundation I would have never made it through undergraduate school; I would not be where I am today. I would not have thought that education is valuable if Doyon Foundation did not also think so. With such support, I feel as if I’ve won the lottery because even if I had, I’d be doing exactly the same thing.

DF: A love of learning hasn’t always been true for you. What changed and why?

BN: I wasn’t inspired to learn through primary and secondary school. I was not curious about school. Then as a freshman at UAA, I began wondering, “How should I live my life?”

I learned that the discipline of philosophy asked this ancient question in a critical way; I realized I should learn more. For the first time in my life, I was drawn to academic education. I began nurturing my own education. I began playing an active role in learning about the world.

DF: You trace this early lack of interest to Alaska’s past.

BN: Since Russian colonialism, there has been a lived struggle between learning Indigenous ways and learning the way of the schoolbook. Schooling — which is distinct but related to education — was used in many ways as a tool against us.

I find it incredible that our ancestors flourished on Alaska’s wild lands for thousands of years. I take this fact as a token of pride. It illustrates difficulties overcome with a modest, sustainable and appreciative conscience.

DF: How are you enjoying life in a big city?

BN: When I’m not busy with school, I am hanging out with my wife and 2-year-old son, going to museums, parks and playgrounds around New York City. But we miss the wilderness.

DF: Does philosophy offer insight when it comes to succeeding in school? What would you like other students to know?

BN: There are character traits — virtues — needed to excel whether you’re in school, building and setting up a fish wheel in the Yukon River, or surviving and thriving in the wilderness.

Those traits are: resilience, perseverance, curiosity, wonder, creativity, imagination, intellectual humility, autonomy, collectivity, attentiveness, carefulness, thoroughness, open-mindedness, and intellectual and moral courage. Tenacity and appreciation for beauty are on the list as well.

DF: If you could sum up the list?

BN: Keep up the good and keep learning!

131_Student_Promotion_WANDA_FB-IN

Keep a positive attitude and take everything one step at a time” 

Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient Wanda Burdick is the daughter of Irene Sadowski of Nulato and Edward Sadowski of Poland. Wanda’s maternal grandmother is Mary Amelia Demoski of Nulato and her paternal grandparents are Józef and Krystyna Sadowski of Poland.

A registered nurse at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Wanda completed the advanced degree of bachelor’s of science in nursing in 2019. She lives in Anchorage.

Wanda Burdick was working as a unit clerk at the Alaska Native Medical Center several years ago when she found herself paying close attention to the contributions made by nurses.

“I was looking for a career that would challenge me and make a difference,” Wanda said. She chose nursing for its commitment to patients and families when they need it most. “Helping people find comfort and understanding during a difficult time is satisfying.”

After earning her license as a registered nurse, Wanda went on to graduate with a bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) in 2019 from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She has been a nurse at Anchorage-based Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium since 2018.

“Obtaining a BSN was important to me because I wanted to challenge myself and continue learning to provide the best outcomes for patients in my care,” she said. She’s looking forward to starting her next degree soon. “With nursing you never stop learning,” she said.

Wanda, who received Doyon Foundation scholarships while a student, also managed roles as an employee, wife, and mother of four young children. “To overcome these challenges, I worked hard and prioritized my responsibilities,” she said. “Financial support from Doyon Foundation allowed me to focus on my education.”

In her free time, Wanda enjoys spending time with family and pursuing hobbies, including biking, hiking and knitting. To succeed in school, she believes in planning ahead, setting aside time away from studies to keep from being overwhelmed, and breaking a big job into smaller tasks for steady progress.

“Set realistic goals and stick to the timelines that you set for yourself,” she said. “Keep a positive attitude and take everything one step at a time.”

Set goals, reach out for help and take time for yourself”

131_Student_Linda_FB-INLinda Folger is the daughter of Bernadette Roberts and Andrew Folger of Tanana, where Linda was raised. Her maternal grandparents are the late Josephine and Lawrence Roberts of Tanana. Linda’s paternal grandparents are Elizabeth and the late James “Roy” Folger of Tanana.

A student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), Linda is pursuing a master’s degree in education with a specialization in clinical mental health counseling. The degree draws on mental health therapy to help people develop practical solutions to life challenges.

Linda understands students who are uncertain what they want to do in life. “I struggled for years to find what I wanted to do career-wise,” she said. “But when I found it, everything seemed to fall into place.”

A turning point came when Linda enrolled in a psychology class as an undergraduate at UAF. Coursework came easily. “Because of all the strong role models I’d had growing up, I knew I wanted to work with children,” she said. She became interested in the mental health needs of children and went on to earn an undergraduate degree at UAF in psychology with an interdisciplinary minor in Alaska Native community health.

Linda credits her Doyon Foundation scholarship for relieving much of the worry over tuition and other costs so that she could focus on succeeding in her classes.

“School can be very demanding,” she said. “I learned early on to reach out for help. Doyon Foundation has helped me by always giving support when needed.” She has received Doyon Foundation scholarships each semester since her freshman year in 2012.

A believer in the power of goal setting, Linda is working full time while attending UAF part time with an eye on graduating with her master’s in education in 2021. She is a family advocate and child forensic interviewer at Stevie’s Place, within the Fairbanks-based Resource Center for Parents and Children.

After earning her master’s degree, Linda plans to obtain a certificate in children’s mental health and become licensed as a professional counselor. The field requires graduate credits in counseling as well as supervised experience and passing scores on a national exam. “Until then, I plan to continue working as an advocate in the community,” she said.

Her goal is to serve in areas where mental health resources to relieve trauma are limited: “Becoming a licensed professional counselor is important to me because I’ve seen firsthand the needs of children and adolescents.”

She volunteers with a local reading program for children as well as with United Way and Kinross, a Resource Center supporter and operator of a Fairbanks-area gold mine. When she’s not working or studying, Linda enjoys reading, watching scary movies and spending time with her dog.

“I know many people are aware of the term ‘self care’ and may even brush it off or ignore it,” she said. “No matter what the term means to you, remember to take for yourself.”

“Doyon Foundation scholarships are a source of motivation”

131_Student_Ben_FB-INBen Schwartz is the son of Polly Hyslop, of Northway and Tanana, and Daniel Schwartz, of Palo Alto, California. Ben’s mother is an assistant professor of Indigenous studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; his father is dean of education at Stanford. His maternal grandparents are Polly (Demit) Hyslop of Northway and Floyd Hyslop of Roscommon, Michigan. Ben’s maternal great-grandmother is Bertha (Demit-Sinyon) of Northway and Canada. His paternal grandparents are Murray Schwartz of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Audrey Schwartz of Camden, New Jersey.

Ben earned a bachelor’s degree in business management in 2008 from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. He’s pursuing an executive master’s of business administration from the University of Nevada Reno and anticipates graduating in 2021.

Ben’s program at the University of Nevada Reno is among top-ranked degrees for students seeking an accelerated master’s of business administration, known as an executive MBA (EMBA). Students often work full time while completing online courses focused on evidence-based problem solving.

Graduates of EMBA programs go on to become corporate leaders, capable of shaping the direction of large organizations. After earning his MBA, Ben’s goals include becoming a certified public accountant and helping expand Bluebird CPAs, an accounting and consulting firm where he’s employed in Reno, Nevada. Clients include tribal governments and tribal for-profit businesses nationwide.

Ben’s goals include using his training in accounting and management to benefit Alaska Native regional and village corporations. “I’d like to apply my knowledge of business and my experience of working with tribal businesses to help grow resources for Alaska Native shareholders,” he said. “I’m interested in finding a balance between business and culture.”

In addition to helping defray education costs, Ben’s Doyon Foundation scholarship has helped shape his plans after graduation, especially as he considers family members who are shareholders in Alaska Native corporations. “I’m inspired by the belief that I’ll somehow be able to assist family members’ well-being through my knowledge and expertise,” Ben said.

EMBA programs involve graduate-level courses in statistics, financial management, and marketing and accounting, among others. Students often also are engrossed in rewarding jobs. Ben has found that setting aside study time to study, while also attending to work he enjoys, is a challenge.

“It’s sometimes difficult to break away and devote the appropriate time to school,” he said. “To fix this, I assign certain tasks to each day and devote a specific amount of time to achieve them.” For instance, he organizes a daily schedule of coursework due each week and then stays on schedule as best he can. “I take it one week at a time,” he said. Planning too far in advance can lead to feeling overwhelmed.

Ben’s work experience includes years helping stage concerts at casinos and resorts. Today he enjoys attending concerts — favorites include classic rock, electronic, and country music — and he plays co-ed softball with gym friends on a C League team that won its league (mostly by forfeits, he says!) in 2019. He volunteers with a professional network that helps northern Nevada nonprofit groups with fundraising.

Life in and out of school has taught him the value of working steadily toward a desired result. “My largest tip for success is to write down your short-term and long-term goals and find a way to pursue them every day,” he said. “I think life is way more fun chasing goals.”

Doyon is supporting my endeavor toward a career in the electrical field”

spencerA Doyon Foundation student pursuing his certificate in industrial electricity, Spencer Brown is scheduled to graduate from the Alaska Vocational Technical School (AVTEC) in June 2020. His parents are Nadene and Chad Brown; Nadene is from the McGrath area and Chad is from Anchorage. His maternal grandparents are Alice Verdene and Richard Anslement, both of the McGrath area.

Spencer has received a competitive scholarship awarded by Doyon Foundation. He is a 2019 high school graduate from Enlightium Academy and lives in Seward, where AVTEC is located.

Spencer understands the power of setting goals. “My plans for the next six months are to stay focused on school, work hard and finish at the top of my class,” he says. Beyond that, he’s eager to enter the workforce and keep learning.

“Doyon Foundation graciously offered to help support my endeavor,” Spencer says. His scholarship helped cover costs of tuition as well as tools needed for AVTEC classes. “Doyon helped me overcome this challenge.”

A tour of AVTEC introduced him to the range of topics covered in the industrial electricity certificate. Day-to-day homework involves Spencer in practical applications of mathematical principles and theory.

“I love that I’m able to figure out such things as superposition, sine waves and Thevenin and Norton equivalents,” he says. “Everything I learn has a reason and a purpose. It’s an incredibly interesting and diverse field.”

Graduates in industrial electricity are in demand as construction and maintenance electricians, controls technicians, and marine engineers, among other careers. AVTEC’s program attracts detail-oriented students who enjoy solving complex technical projects – a passion Spencer discovered when he was 14 and helped his father with a building project.

Spencer continues to value teamwork. “I’d say the most fun part of industrial electricity is the cooperation among my peers to complete various labs and projects,” he says. Among the most challenging tasks was memorizing complex diagrams and functions in a mathematical logic class.

Students in Spencer’s field demonstrate proficiency in circuit analysis, including an ability to design, build, test and troubleshoot circuits and devices. Industrial electricity classes involve physics; industrial safety and health; renewable power; and an understanding of the National Electrical Code for construction and maintenance projects.

Founded in 1969, AVTEC is the only career and technical education center for post-secondary students statewide. “I would absolutely recommend AVTEC to anyone interested in the trades,” Spencer says.

While his time away from studies is limited as graduation day approaches, Spencer says that taking a break helps. “I’m putting all my efforts into studying,” he says, “but I do allow myself downtime.” He enjoys reading, hiking, fishing and composing music.

Whenever the going gets tough, ask for help, whether it’s from family, peers or Him up above,” Spencer says. He encourages other students to get enough rest, eat healthy foods, and avoid drugs and alcohol.

“Respect your body,” he says. “The effort you put into your studies will determine how successful you are at them. You are accountable for your actions.”

Alyssa“I would not have been able to reach my goals without Doyon Foundation”

 

An undergraduate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) scheduled to graduate with an associate degree in process technology in May 2020, Alyssa Sommer is the daughter of Fred Sommer, Jr. and Diane Evans-Sommer of Fairbanks. Alyssa’s maternal grandparents are Lily and Alfred “Dick” Evans of Galena. Her paternal grandparents are Dorothy and the late Fred Sommer, Sr. of Nulato.

Alyssa’s hometown is Fairbanks. She attends UAF with support from a Doyon Foundation competitive scholarship.

Among Alyssa’s lifelong ambitions has been to help run the Fort Wainwright power plant, where she has worked as a coal operator since August 2019. The plant is one of three units owned and operated since 2007 by Doyon Utilities LLC and supplying service to military sites in Alaska. Fairbanks-based Fort Wainwright is home to an electrical distribution system, a central heat and power plant, and a heat distribution system, among other services operated by Doyon Utilities.

Alyssa’s plans after graduation include advancing to boiler operations and controls at the power plant. Fort Wainwright is an Army installation that includes some 1,400 on-post housing units. Its civilian and military population totals about 11,000.

“I’m looking forward to learning and progressing,” says Alyssa, who enjoys tracing various boiler system components to gain greater insight into the unit overall. Daily tasks include unloading coal from rail cars; directing coal through the plant system; and inspecting equipment and hauling ash to the landfill. “From the first time I saw process technicians in action in 2011, I knew that was the job I wanted,” Alyssa says. She values the chance to work close to home and among welcoming coworkers.

“I would not have been able to reach my goals without Doyon Foundation,” Alyssa says. “Doyon Foundation has helped me start the journey in my desired lifelong field.” In 2016 she earned a certificate in welding from UAF and an associate degree in diesel mechanics from the University of Alaska Southeast. In each semester she was awarded Doyon Foundation scholarships.

Attending school full-time while working a physically demanding full-time job has Alyssa managing a hectic schedule. “It’s quite important to me to get in family time whenever I can,” she says. Going for long drives, taking walks, swimming, cooking and going to the movies are among ways that she manages stress while enjoying family and friends.

“Time has its challenges,” she says. “I never quite feel prepared at times. But I push forward. I try not to beat myself up if I don’t get the grade I want or if I find I need to take a break for a day.”

Her advice to other students: Remember that stress can undermine focus that’s needed to do well in school. “Try not to stress,” Alyssa says. “Take a day to relax when needed.”

Meet more of our students! Check out our more student profiles on our blog. 

Learn more about Doyon Foundation and our scholarships on our website!

Next Page »