Student Profile


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.”

“When I’m learning my language, I feel like I’m finding myself and understanding who I am.”

 

Diloola Erickson’s parents are Susan Erickson from Kaltag and Arne Erickson from Tok. Her maternal grandparents are the late Irene and Alexander Solomon, Jr., of Kaltag. Her paternal grandparents are Joyce Erickson and the late John Erickson of Tok. Diloola’s language is Denaakk’e (Koyukon).

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Born in Sitka, Diloola Erickson was raised in the Tlingit village of Hoonah in Southeast Alaska, where her favorite part of school was Tlingit class. And though she loved learning Tlingit, she remembers feeling that something was missing.

“I grew up so far from my culture that I always felt distant from it – I always had a longing to know more,” she says.

To help ensure that her 3-year-old daughter, Tsee’ołyeets, is immersed in her language and culture from an early age, Diloola is focused on becoming fluent in Denaakk’e, the language of the Athabascan people of the central Koyukuk and Yukon rivers.

Along with Dewey Hoffman, who works with language revitalization in Fairbanks, and University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) language instructor Lorraine David, Diloola co-hosts a weekly language-learning group at her home and has enrolled her daughter in a language-learning classroom at Fairbanks Native Association. She practices Denaakk’e with her daughter daily, using a Denaakk’e weather wheel and family name chart. “I want to pass on my language and culture so that she’ll always know who she is and where she comes from,” Diloola says.

A Doyon, Limited shareholder, Diloola’s commitment to Denaakk’e fluency deepened when she attended the Alaska Native Studies conference in 2017. It was at an intensive workshop facilitated by Dewey Hoffman that Diloola met Lorraine David, a fluent Denaakk’e speaker who inspired Diloola to start her language journey. Lorraine is a former Doyon Foundation board member and veteran language instructor at UAF.

“I was craving more sessions like that,” Diloola says, and Lorraine agreed to meet with Diloola and her group weekly. She often records their sessions and tries to listen daily to gain vocabulary and pronunciation.

“Lorraine is passionate about passing on our language. She has been one of the biggest supporters in my journey,” Diloola says.

A UAF student graduating in May with a bachelor’s degree in rural development and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Diloola plans to pursue work in positions that will allow her to help raise up Alaska Native people. She sees language revitalization as part of the efforts to create positive change in Alaska Native communities. DErickson

As a First Alaskans Institute summer intern at Doyon Foundation in 2017, Diloola contributed to the Doyon Languages Online team by developing multimedia materials promoting language revitalization in the Doyon region. The team’s favorites include stickers featuring beaded gloves conveying everyday phrases in Denaakk’e, like “Enee!” (“good!”). Familiar to any conference-goer, “Hello, my name is …” adhesive name tags were created by Diloola in each of the Doyon region languages. Name tags were available at school fairs throughout Anchorage and Fairbanks.

edzooDiloola also helped lead a workshop at the 2017 First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference, “Taking Language Revitalization Online – Using GIFs to Get the Word Out.” Participants developed their own GIFs – a format that animates images to easily share them online – and brainstormed other forms of social media aimed at encouraging people to take join in language revitalization.

“Ultimately my goal is to use my education to uplift my culture and the Alaska Native community,” Diloola says. “Learning my language is the biggest part of learning who I am.”

As Doyon Foundation continues to grow our language revitalization efforts in the Doyon region, we are noticing a group of people who are committed and dedicating their own time 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.

A Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient who graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2016, Raymond Kangas is the son of Irene and Gary Kangas of Fairbanks. His paternal grandparents are Nora and Al Kangas of Ruby; his maternal grandparents are Martha and Franklin Dayton of Koyukuk.

Raymond KangasWhen Raymond Kangas looks back on his college years, he has a hard time counting up all the people who helped him get where he is today. A mechanical engineer since 2016 with Anchorage-based Doyon Anvil, Raymond received Doyon Foundation scholarships while earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Classes in fluid mechanics and arctic engineering were key – along with a work ethic instilled in him since childhood and fish camp days with his family on the Yukon River.

“My family gave me stability, with my parents being the anchors,” he says. Inspiring professors and study group friends helped. And he says, “Thanks to the Doyon Foundation scholarship program, (Doyon, Limited) annual dividends, and overall encouragement to see shareholders progress, the Doyon family certainly has played a role in seeing Athabascans succeed in competitive occupations.

Raymond, 24, is one of numerous classroom-to-career professionals who benefit from Doyon Foundation college scholarships before going on to employment with Doyon, Limited companies. It’s a trend that advances Doyon’s core values because in addition to knowledge, skills and talent, shareholders apply traditional values as they collaborate with clients worldwide.

“Creating a means for shareholders to potentially work for Doyon improves their economic well-being,” says Terry Caetano, president and general manager of Doyon Anvil. “It’s also a key part of the mission on which the company was founded.”

With offices in California, Montana and Washington state, Doyon Anvil is a multi-discipline engineering and design firm offering process safety/risk management; project management; and construction coordination support services. Doyon Anvil projects include upstream oil production, including North Slope expertise; pipeline and terminal work throughout Alaska, the Rocky Mountain region and Pacific Northwest; and power generation in Alaska, Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

Terry says that in addition to seeking out smart, motivated people, what he values in new hires is a desire to solve complex problems and keep learning. “That’s what I saw in Raymond,” Terry says.

Doyon Anvil is Raymond’s first engineering job out of college, and among things he enjoys is the chance to work on a variety projects requiring different skills. For instance, a typical workday may involve a facility where new piping is needed; Raymond’s role includes working with piping designers to prepare a complete work package – from checking compliance with specifications and reviewing drawings to putting together a material requisition to purchase components. If needed, he also completes a stress analysis on the design.

Raymond advises college students seeking to join professional ranks at Doyon subsidiaries to stay focused in the early stages of their education.

“Being awarded scholarships and getting selected for a job position are some of the things that are out of your control,” he says. “What you can control is the effort you put into your education. The first step in any career is being qualified.”

Are you a former Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient working today in the Doyon, Limited Family of Companies? We’d like to feature your story! Please send email to foundation@doyon.com and we’ll be in touch. Thanks!

Crystal Demientieff-Worl, Rico Demientieff-Worl, and Kyle Kaayak’w Demientieff-Worl are three siblings who share a dedication to the culture of Alaska Native people. Each earned Doyon Foundation scholarships. The siblings are committed to applying their college education to advance Native people.

Their parents are Beverly Demientieff and Rodney Worl. Their maternal grandparents are Alice and Rudy Demientieff; their paternal grandparents are Rosita Worl and Rodolfo Rodriguez. Their stepmother is Dawn Dinwoodie.

“Foundation scholarships helped so much,” says Rico. “To be competitive as a people, it’s so important that higher education be accessible to as many of our youth as possible.”

Rico and Crystal live in Juneau; Kyle lists his hometowns as Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau.

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Rico and his sister, Crystal, run Trickster Company.

Rico graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. Today he and his sister, Crystal, run Trickster Company, an innovative graphic design and art gift shop in Juneau promoting Alaska Native creativity.

“I went to school in Philadelphia. It was a culture shock for a long time,” Rico says. “I missed being home with family, but I kept in mind that my culture and my family raised me up all my life. That’s where I got my strength. Having salmon strips and a bit of herring eggs really helped.”

So did being able to practice art that connected him to home, a pursuit he continues today through Trickster and serving on the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. After graduating from college, he worked as a cultural specialist with Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau and went on to help start the Institute’s art department, serving as its director for a few years before founding Trickster with Crystal.

“Trickster is on the right path,” Rico says. “We’d like to see it become a stable staple of modern indigenous design throughout Alaska.

“When I graduated from college, I thought I was next going to go to law school; I ended up finding my passion as a creative professional. The degree gave me perspective, a cross-cultural experience and an understanding of the Western world.

“Pursuing your passion, wherever you find it, is powerful,” Rico says. “It’s important for Native people across Alaska. We row together.”

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Crystal Demientieff-Worl

A 2013 graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Crystal holds a bachelor’s of fine arts in studio arts with an emphasis in jewelry metalsmithing. “Financial support and encouragement from the Foundation helped me advance,” she says.

“I’ve worked various jobs – as a barista, as a college campus recruiter, in student activities. Today I’m proud to say I’m my own boss! Starting Trickster Company with my brother, Rico, allows us to accomplish several goals, including engaging our community through art, education, entrepreneurship and social justice.”

Leaving Alaska for college was among her biggest challenges: “I’m very close to my home, our ancestors’ foods, and my family. But the education and connections I gained were well worth it. Being away strengthened my bond to my family’s history and the stories they passed on to me.”

Her plans include earning a master’s in fine arts in Northwest coast arts and culture. “I want to open more shops and engage with more emerging artists,” Crystal says. “And I want to travel the world, sharing my artwork and the stories of Alaska Native artists, especially indigenous women.”

Her advice to other Foundation scholarship students: “Make your ancestors proud! Remember who they were and what they survived so that you could have choices.”

Kyle Worl

Kyle Demientieff-Worl

Foundation scholarships allowed Kyle to attend school full-time and pursue his commitment to advocating for Tlingit, his Alaska Native language.

“I changed my major several times,” he recalls. He eventually chose a degree that stems from his passions – to speak Tlingit fluently, teach the language, and help with language revitalization.

Kyle believes in volunteering. During his years at the University of Alaska Anchorage, he served as treasurer, co-chair and president of the Native Student Council. He’s been involved as a coach or official with Native Youth Olympics and attended the Arctic Winter Games and the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics as an athlete. He recently coached the Anchorage team competing in the Native Youth Olympics. He trained daily for the 2017 World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, which took place in July in Fairbanks.

Kyle regularly visits schools and holds workshops to encourage Alaska Native youth to take part in the Native games. He credits his time with Native Student Council for helping him gain leadership ability as well as insight into the importance of his education to foster positive change.

His advice for success in college: Be involved with your campus and community. “I felt a greater purpose in my education by volunteering and working with various Native organizations,” he says.

Three women – each of them helped by Doyon Foundation scholarships – earned doctorates in 2017, demonstrating their commitment to lifelong learning and the sustaining powers of heritage. The Foundation is honored to have helped them along their path to graduation.

“Our three Ph.D. graduates this year are inspiring role models and incredible assets for our state,” says Doris Miller, the Foundation’s executive director. “There are many needs and opportunities in our region, and we are pleased to play a part in growing our own to fill these roles. We at Doyon Foundation are honored to support our past, present and future students, and we are proud of each and every one of them.”

Anna Sappah: “Discipline is simply remembering the goal”

Anna’s birth parents are Margaret Aucoin Meseck of Chignik and Donald Meseck. Her maternal grandmother is Katie Andre of Chignik. Anna’s adopted parents are Joseph and Agnes Deer. Joseph was from Chevak; Agnes was the daughter of Olivia and Andrew Johnson of Holy Cross. Anna’s hometown is Anchorage. 

Anna“I’m a passionate advocate for addiction treatment and recovery services,” says Anna. She graduated in April 2017 with a doctorate in psychology from Alaska Pacific University.

A longtime employee and volunteer in the behavioral health field, Anna’s policy and advocacy work focuses on people confronting both substance abuse and mental health disorders. She held a graduate student scholarship awarded by the Foundation.

“Work-life balance was the most difficult challenge while I was a full-time student,” she recalls. “Staying grounded in my family and culture helped.”

Anna is a clinical supervisor at Alaska Wisdom Recovery, an Anchorage-based center for substance use disorder and mental health treatment. Her plans include continuing in her current position, working toward certification as a licensed professional counselor, and eventually becoming a university professor focusing on addiction studies.

Anna believes in self-care that includes managing time and priorities: “I adore spending time with our four kids and 14 grandchildren.” She dances and sings with the Northern Lights Intertribal Pow Wow Drum and enjoys beading, berry picking, gardening, and fishing with a family business, Sappah and Son Guide Service. She’s active with local recovery groups.

Her advice to other students: Take time to take care of your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Talk to others if you’re feeling overwhelmed and follow your course syllabus like a roadmap to success: “Discipline is simply remembering the goal.”

Charleen Fisher: “Always strive for your dreams!”

Charleen’s parents are Margaret Ann Fisher of Beaver and the Rev. Scott O. Fisher of Falls Church, Virginia. Her maternal grandparents are Charlotte and Salvin Adams; her paternal grandparents are Kitson and John R. Fisher. Charleen is a member of the Foss family of Iliamna and Pedro Bay. Her family includes her husband, Darrel Salmon; daughters Shelby, Julia, Allyson and Shani; and grandson Hunter. Her hometown is Beaver. 

CharleenOn track to graduate in August, Charleen is pursuing a doctorate in Indigenous Studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). Her discipline aims to reframe, reclaim and revitalize Indigenous knowledge systems. “It’s a new field that researches our own rich, beautiful cultures and documents them properly without bias,” Charleen says. In May, she earned an education leadership certificate from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Her Ph.D. path was a long one, Charleen recalls. She taught in K-12 schools for more than 10 years and spent nine years as a principal/teacher. Remaining committed to her doctorate and leadership credential meant choosing part-time work and giving up full-time positions that she enjoyed – a disruption, she says, that both she and her family learned to accommodate. She has held several positions with the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, where she works today as director of the Native American Career and Technical Education Program.

Charleen credits the Foundation with providing scholarship help so that she could achieve her education goals. She also encourages students to apply for funding that helps them present their work at conferences, as she did while at UAF. When she’s not focused on school, she enjoys time with family, including her grandson, Hunter. “Always strive for your dreams!” she says.

LaVerne Demientieff: “It was comforting to know I could rely on Doyon Foundation”

LaVerne Demientieff is the daughter of the late Rudy and Alice (Frank) Demientieff of Holy Cross and Anvik; she is the granddaughter of Stanley Demientieff and Edith Bifelt, and Joe Frank and Marcia Reed. LaVerne was born in Fairbanks and grew up in Nenana and Anchorage.

LaVerne_Bio_PicA single parent who worked throughout college, LaVerne received Foundation scholarships leading to a doctorate in social work in 2017 from the University of Utah. “The financial support went a long way,” she says. “It was comforting to know I could rely on Doyon Foundation to help when I needed it.”

LaVerne, who is among the Foundation’s board of directors, believes that learning is healing. “Remember who you are and be who you are in all the different situations you find yourself in,” she advises. “Build relationships with peers, instructors and staff along the way. You never know what door those relationships might open for you.”

LaVerne is a clinical associate professor in social work at UAF, where she has taught since 2006. Earning her doctorate brought to mind the many faces of family and friends who over the years encouraged her or helped emotionally and financially.

“I’m grateful to each and every one,” she says. “No one succeeds alone. Raising my son and being so busy was a challenge. He sacrificed just as much as I did so that I could earn my degrees. I believe we did this together.”

LaVerne enjoys walking, hiking, fishing and berry picking with family and friends. Her plans include becoming fluent in her Athabascan language, Deg Xinag, and continuing to focus on wellness and healing efforts with Alaska Native communities. Her research interests are language, wellness, healing and trauma. She is UAF faculty adviser to the Alaska Native Social Work Association and a member of the language revitalization committee of the Doyon Foundation board. “I’m honored and grateful to be able to give back to my community and people,” she says.

The Doyon Foundation 2017 Graduate Yearbook is now available on the Foundation website!

2017 grad yearbook collagePacked with photos and profiles, the yearbook celebrates our 2017 graduates including:

  • 1 pre-school
  • 36 high school
  • 3 certificates
  • 22 associate’s degrees
  • 19 bachelor’s degrees
  • 5 master’s degrees
  • And 3 doctorate degrees!

Download your copy of the 2017 Graduate Yearbook now!

Have an addition or correction? Please send them to foundation@doyon.com or call 907.459.2048.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017!

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