Students Speak

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!

University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Liberal Arts Center for Cross-Cultural Studies Indigenous Studies announces a public defense:

Polly Hyslop

Candidate for Doctor of Philosophy

Circle Peacemaking in Kake, Alaska

A case study of Indigenous Planning and Dispute Systems Design

Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 @ 10 am

Design Theater (ELIF 401)


Flyer- Polly Hyslop Defense 022018.pdf

Doyon Foundation’s annual graduate reception is tomorrow at 2pm at the Doyon Industrial Facility (615 Bidwell Avenue)! We are pleased to announce our speakers – Kathleen Meckel Hildebrand, alumni speaker and Esther Frykman, student speaker. Come and hear what they have to share about their educational and career experiences and support our 2016-17 graduates! We’ll see you there.

Graduation – it’s our favorite time of the year! (Well, except maybe for Christmas…)

It’s a time to 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.

Join us at our annual graduate reception to give them some well-deserved kudos and say conGRADulations!

Doyon Foundation 2017 Graduate Reception

Friday, May 5

2 p.m.

Doyon Industrial Facility Cafeteria

615 Bidwell Ave., Fairbanks, Alaska

capWe’ll have inspiring addresses from our student and alumni speakers, recognize our 2016 – 2017 graduates, and enjoy refreshments.

High school and college students who are graduating during the 2016 – 2017 academic year
are encouraged to attend, along with their friends, families, teachers and other Foundation supporters.

If you plan to join us, please RSVP with your name and the number of people attending to or 907.459.2048.

More than 50 family, friends and other supporters gathered to celebrate the class of 2016 at the Doyon Foundation Graduate Reception, held May 6 in Fairbanks. The event recognized the 80 Doyon Foundation students who graduated from high school or college this spring. See more photos on Facebook!

Join us in saying “congratulations” to the class of 2016 in one of our Native languages!

  • Hǫǫsǫǫ dįįdį’ = You did great (Née’aaneegn’ – Upper Tanana)
  • Neeshoo tr’inlii = We’re happy for you. (Gwich’in)
  • Ngoxo dinaxoneł = We’re happy for you. (Deg Xinag)
  • Yeho sodegets’eeyh = I am happy for you. (Denaakk’e)

Our 2016 Graduate Reception included a welcome from Doris Miller, Foundation executive director, Lanien Livingston, Foundation board president, and Doyon, Limited President and CEO Aaron M. Schutt, as well as an address from alumna speaker Melissa McGinty and graduate speaker Jason Paskvan. The graduates in attendance also had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the audience.

Our graduate speaker, Melissa McGinty, holds a bachelor’s of business administration from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a master’s in business administration from the University of Alaska Southeast. She shared her reflections on getting to where she is today – a journey that included an accounting internship at Doyon, Limited and several years working at Doyon Foundation. “Education is absolutely needed but experience with that is key,” she said.

She also spoke about her dream to get her master’s degree and how she found a way to accomplish that without going into debt. “The moral of that story is to plan and to set your goals and it’ll happen,” Melissa said. See Melissa’s full speech on YouTube.

Graduate speaker Jason Paskvan began his speech with an introduction in his Native language. Jason, who graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks last month with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, spoke about the three critical steps to overcoming obstacles – perception, action and will. He also encouraged his fellow graduates to “remember the good times and good experiences we had in school.”

Jason closed with a quote from Bruce Lee, who said, “Always be yourself. Express yourself. Have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” Jason added, “If we work to be ourselves and be the best we can be, we’ll make a difference.” See Jason’s full speech on YouTube.

Learn more about the class of 2016 in our electronic graduate yearbook! We’ll be publishing the yearbook, featuring photos and short bios of all 2016 graduates, this month. To receive the yearbook, simply join the Foundation’s e-newsletter list at

Congratulations to the Doyon Foundation class of 2016!

  • Alicia Ambrosio, Business Management, Master’s of Business Administration

  • Tracey Arnold, Addiction Studies, Master’s Certificate

  • Angelica Baalam, Nursing, Associate’s of Applied Science

  • Geoffrey Bacon, Industrial and Labor Relations, Master’s of Arts

  • Amanda Bailey, Transfer Degree, Associate’s of Arts

  • Aloysia Ballard, Medical Assistant, Associate’s of Applied Science

  • Carrie Bazilwich, Psychology, Bachelor’s of Arts

  • Dennis Blackburn, Teaching and Learning, Master’s of Arts

  • Charlotte Brinkman, Tribal Management, Certificate

  • Leslie Brooks, Mathematics, Chemistry, Bachelor’s of Science

  • Matthew Calhoun, Civil Engineering, Doctor of Philosophy

  • Melvin Captain, High School Diploma

  • Jada Carroll, High School Diploma

  • Peter Charlie, Human Services/Psychology, Bachelor’s of Arts

  • Courtney Cradock, History in Secondary Education, Bachelor’s of Arts

  • Gabriella Chase, High School Diploma

  • Brenna Cruger, High School Diploma

  • Johnny David, Jr., Information Technology, Associate’s of Applied Science

  • Leah David, Accounting Technician, Certificate

  • Taylor Davis, Kinesiology, Bachelor’s of Science

  • Hillary Demit, High School Diploma

  • Emily Dobson, General Studies, Bachelor’s of Business Administration

  • Matthew Driskill, Accounting, Doctor of Philosophy

  • Sonya Edwards, Elementary Education, Bachelor’s of Arts

  • Stanley Edwin, Atmospheric Science, Master’s of Science

  • Kailey Erickson, Exercise Science, Master’s of Science

  • Eve Esmailka-Blake, Tribal Governance and Business Management, Bachelor’s of Arts

  • Kaden Girard, High School Diploma

  • Joseph Gregory, Computer Technician, Certificate

  • Jacob Gustafson, Film, Associate’s of Arts

  • Monica Gustafson, Alaska Native Studies, Bachelor’s of Arts

  • Gary Hawkins, Diesel Mechanic, Associate’s of Arts

  • Brittany Henry, High School Diploma

  • Thomas Henry, High School Diploma

  • Sarah Henzie, High School Diploma

  • Lethearen Jimmie, High School Diploma

  • Jenny Johnson, Health, Associate’s of Arts

  • Raymond Kangas, Mechanical Engineering, Bachelor’s of Science

  • Tiana Kraus, Social Work, Bachelor’s of Arts

  • Patricia Kriska, Nurse Aide, Certificate

  • Patrick Lovell, Engineering, Bachelor’s of Science

  • Deanna Mayo, Applied Business, Associate’s of Arts

  • Jolene McGinty, School of Education-Counseling, Master’s of Arts

  • Sharon Menzo, Business/Finance, Associate’s of Applied Science

  • Codi Miller, Biology, Bachelor’s of Science

  • Beattus Moses, High School Diploma

  • Kaylee Nelson, High School Diploma

  • Vincent Nusunginya, General, Associate’s of Arts

  • Adam Paskvan, Chemistry, Bachelor’s of Science

  • Jason Paskvan, Mechanical Engineering, Bachelor’s of Science

  • Dalarie Peters, Public Administration, Master’s of Arts

  • Ruby Peters, High School Diploma

  • Tristan Richardson, High School Diploma

  • Karena Rounsaville, Medicine, Medical Doctor

  • Corina Sam, High School Diploma

  • Dustina Sam, High School Diploma

  • Shirley Sam, Tribal Management, Associate’s of Arts

  • Annie Sanford, High School Diploma

  • Alisia Serrano, Nutrition/Dietetics, Bachelor’s of Science

  • Natalya Shellikoff, High School Diploma

  • Edna Silva, Business Management, Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration

  • Crystal Smith, Biomedical Sciences, Bachelor’s of Arts

  • Alyssa Sommer, Power Technology: Diesel Emphasis, Associate’s of Applied Science

  • Sonja Sommer, General Business, Bachelor’s of Business Administration

  • Brian Stanley, English, Bachelor’s of Arts

  • Anastasia Starr, Bookkeeping, Associate’s of Arts

  • Adele Stickman, Accounting, Bachelor’s of Arts

  • Brand Strom, Radiology, Associate’s of Applied Science

  • Tiana Teter, Human Services, Associate’s of Arts

  • Tamara Thomas, Health Information Management, Associate’s of Applied Science

  • Charlissa Titus, High School Diploma

  • Allison Turner, Occupational Safety and Health, Associate’s of Applied Science

  • Sarah Walker, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy, Master’s of Arts

  • Lisa Weimer, Business, Associate’s of Arts

  • Darren Whitworth, Chaplain Ministry, Master’s of Divinity

  • Ashley Williams, Supply Chain Management, Bachelor’s of Arts and Sciences

  • Lorelei Winkelman, Medical Administration, Associate’s of Arts

  • Mikel Winkelman, Dietetics, Bachelor’s of Science

  • Kyle Demientieff-Worl, Anthropology and Alaska Native Studies, Bachelor’s of Arts

  • Natasha Yates, Applied Science, Associate’s of Arts

  • Malari Zarate, Liberal Studies, Bachelor’s of Arts


So you’ve filled out all the basic information on your scholarship application. You’ve ordered your transcripts. You’ve even asked your professor for a letter of recommendation. You can’t put it off any longer – it’s time to write the essay.

For many students, writing an essay is the hardest part of applying for a scholarship. However, it’s also one of the most important. At Doyon Foundation, the competitive scholarship essay is worth 40 points out of a total of 120 possible points.

To help you tackle the challenge, we asked some of our top-scoring scholarship recipients to share their secrets to writing a successful essay.

How do you come up with ideas for your essay?

I think of what I have accomplished in the past year that has been meaningful to me. Everyone has different interests and passions and even little successes deserve to be acknowledged and written about in an essay.”

– Nicole Fennimore, MD student, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Rasmuson Health Doctorate Scholarship Recipient

I don’t think of the essays as essays, I think of them as a glimpse into my life story and life goals.”

– Jessica Ullrich, Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work, Tanana Chiefs Conference Health Scholarship Recipient

“In order to write a competitive scholarship essay, know what you are being asked to write. It is essential to know who you are writing for, be aware of the mission of the organization whose scholarship you are applying for, and align their mission to yours.”

– Christina Edwin, Bachelor’s of Arts in Rural Development, Natural Resources Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient

The most important part of writing a scholarship essay is to be yourself. It is tough to truly represent yourself through essays, they feel so formal and strict. Remember the judges are looking for someone genuine and hardworking. Since you’re applying for a scholarship, you probably already got that part down. All you need to do is tell your story. That alone will make you stand out, because everyone’s story is unique and special in a different way. Even if you feel like your story is the same as everyone else’s, your perspective is unique. Be honest and tell the judges your motivation, inspiration, and why you chose the path that you did. Don’t be afraid to be optimistic, tell the judges how well you do in school, and how hard you work. All in all, relax and tell your story. You are already unique, you don’t need embellishments to set yourself apart.”

– Kaylen Demientieff, Associate’s of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology, Committee’s Choice Scholarship Recipient

What is your process for writing your essay?

“I give myself time to edit and make corrections. So procrastinating until the day it’s due doesn’t work well for me.”

– Jessica Ullrich, Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work, Tanana Chiefs Conference Health Scholarship Recipient

“Allow yourself enough time to brainstorm, create an outline, and revise until you’re satisfied. I like to write in blocks, write a few different times throughout a week-long period. Also, it is highly advisable to seek at least one, even better is two people who can read your essay, at least a week before the due date, to allow enough time for revision.”

– Christina Edwin, Bachelor’s of Arts in Rural Development, Natural Resources Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient

“I divide my thoughts into categories: What am I proud of in terms of my schooling? What impact have I made on my community? Have I taken on any extra-curricular activities, such as volunteering or working? How will I carry my Native culture into my next endeavor? I write the categories as separate paragraphs and then go back and revise the paragraphs a little bit to make them flow together.”

– Nicole Fennimore, MD student, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Rasmuson Health Doctorate Scholarship Recipient

If you hit a roadblock when you are writing, how do you get around it?

When you hit a roadblock writing, because everyone does, take a break. When you come back to the essay you will have a fresh mind and perspective. Never be afraid to ask for help. Your fellow students and teachers have probably written scholarship essays before and will be glad to help you with yours.”

– Kaylen Demientieff, Associate’s of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology, Committee’s Choice Scholarship Recipient

“First, I put the essay away for the rest of the day or maybe even a few days. Coming back to the essay with a fresh mind is often enough to get around the block. If that doesn’t work, I try to remind myself of what experiences have been important to me and try to write from my heart.”

– Nicole Fennimore, MD student, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Rasmuson Health Doctorate Scholarship Recipient

What one piece of advice would you give to students currently working on their essay?

“Most importantly, be yourself, you are an expert of your experiences, share them.”

– Christina Edwin, Bachelor’s of Arts in Rural Development, Natural Resources Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient

“I let my passion come through in my writing. I truly believe in the work that I do and I want to convey my commitment to helping community, families and children. We all have roles and gifts to share in doing that work. I explain what my path has been and talk about where I’m going.”

– Jessica Ullrich, Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work, Tanana Chiefs Conference Health Scholarship Recipient

“No matter how good the content of your essay you must spell check it and double check your grammar. It is always good to have a friend of family member read through your essay, they may catch something you overlook.”

– Kaylen Demientieff, Associate’s of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology, Committee’s Choice Scholarship Recipient

“Be you. Even if you think that something you have done isn’t worth writing about or if you think that someone else wouldn’t enjoy reading it, it is probably more interesting and amazing than you realize. So, go for it.”

– Nicole Fennimore, MD student, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Rasmuson Health Doctorate Scholarship Recipient

Thank you, Nicole, Jessica, Kaylen and Christina, for your essay-writing advice!

Remember, the application deadline for Doyon Foundation fall 2016 basic and competitive scholarships is coming up Monday, May 16.

If you have any questions or need any assistance, please contact Maurine McGinty, our scholarship program manager, at or 907.459.2049. Best of luck to all of our students!

2016 Elders & Youth Conference October 17-19, 2016 Carlson Center — Fairbanks, AK

The First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference is a dynamic convening that brings our Elders and Youth together to strengthen cultural continuity through intergenerational relationships that deepen their abilities to be leaders across Alaska and the world. This year marks the 33rd annual statewide convening and First Alaskans Institute continues to be honored to steward this gathering of our most precious community members. The conference will be held on Monday through Wednesday, October 17-19, 2016, at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. We proudly announce Our 2016 Elders & Youth Conference theme:

“Ancestral Imperative: Adapt. Unite. Achieve.”

Our theme speaks to how we as Alaska Native peoples adapt to our surroundings using modern and ancient tools, unite our collective knowledge and experiences together, all to achieve the dreams of our ancestors who have expressed an unwavering demand that we live by the principles and values of our indigenous life ways across all time. Our 2016 theme was crafted and selected through a collaborative process involving our statewide Elders and Youth Council, First Alaskans Institute staff and other members of our community. Call for Presentation Proposals NOW OPEN.

Presentations should be clearly tied to the conference theme, strive to achieve the purposes of the Conference, and be grounded in the celebration of who we are as Alaska Native peoples. There is tremendous range among potential topics to maximize and accommodate our diversity and the goals of the conference. We encourage proposals that utilize interactive methods for delivering content and for presenters to be open to collaboration, as the planning team works to craft an indigenized, thoughtful, and exciting conference agenda. Proposals will be accepted now up until Friday, August 5th, 2016.

You can download the proposal form here: 2016 Elders & Youth Call for Proposals PDF 2016 Elders & Youth Call for Proposals DOC

You can also submit a proposal online at:

Local Accommodations in Fairbanks You can now visit to view information on the over 3,000 hotel rooms available in Fairbanks during Elders and Youth and AFN Convention week in October, 2016. Complimentary shuttle transportation will be available from select hotels, many are located close to public transit, or you can rent a car. Please contact the lodging property to make your reservation soon, and make sure to tell them you are coming for Elders and Youth AFN Convention week to receive the special rate.

Elders &Youth 2016 Conference Registration – COMING SOON

Elders &Youth 2016 Sponsorship Opportunities – COMING SOON

Come help us celebrate the class of 2016 at the Doyon Foundation Graduate Reception this Friday, May 6! The event will take place at 2 p.m. in the Doyon Industrial Facilities cafeteria at 615 Bidwell Ave. in Fairbanks.

High school and college graduates, as well as their friends, families, teachers and other Foundation supporters are welcome to attend. Please RSVP with your name and the number of people attending to or 907.459.2048.

We’re excited to announce Melissa McGinty as our alumni speaker, and Jason Paskvan as our student speaker! Melissa holds a bachelor’s of business administration from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a master’s in business administration from the University of Alaska Southeast. Jason is graduating this spring with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

In addition to hearing from our speakers, our 2016 graduates will have the opportunity to introduce themselves. We invite everyone to stay after the reception to enjoy complimentary refreshments.

Are you graduating this spring? If so, please be sure to complete our 2016 graduate questionnaire available at Respondents will be included in our 2016 graduate yearbook e-newsletter. Check out the 2015 graduate yearbook on our website.

For more information, please visit, or contact us 907.459.2048 or We hope to see you this Friday at the graduation reception!

Join us to celebrate the Doyon Foundation class of 2014! The Doyon Foundation 2014 Graduation Reception will be held this Friday, May 9 from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Doyon Industrial Facility at 615 Bidwell Ave. in Fairbanks. Graduates, their family and friends, as well as Doyon Foundation supporters are encouraged to attend.

The reception will feature alumna speaker Laverne Demientieff, the clinical assistant professor in the Social Work Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), as well as graduate speaker Lessa Peter, who will be graduating from UAF this spring and currently works in the communications department at Doyon, Limited.

Graduates in attendance will have the opportunity to introduce themselves, and light refreshments will also be provided.

For more information, please visit, or contact Sheila Vent at 907.459.2048 or

If you are interested in learning about study abroad please join UAA NSS tomorrow for a special presentation from Haley Dampier. She will be sharing her experiences with study abroad program and how to apply. Hope to see you all there.

It’s the start of a new school year. For some of you, it’s a familiar experience. For others, like Shannon Jimmie, it’s brand new!

Shannon, of Northway, graduated at the top of her high school class, received a Doyon Foundation competitive scholarship, and is in her first semester at George Fox University. Shannon shared some of her secrets for success and hopes for the future in a recent Q&A with Doyon Foundation. Read more about Shannon on our website. 


Shannon Jimmie, pictured on the right, is a 2013 Doyon Foundation competitive scholarship recipient.

The 2013 First Alaskans Institute Elders and Youth Conference will take place in Fairbanks October 21-23. There is a call for dance groups and Native language speakers. The deadline is this Friday, September 13 to sign up. Call First Alaskans at 907.677.1707 or check their website at for more information.

Doyon Foundation scholarship recipients who are graduating from high school, college or vocational programs this spring will be honored at a special reception this Friday, May 10. The event will take place at 2 p.m. in the Doyon, Limited Chiefs Court at 1 Doyon Place in Fairbanks. The event is free and open to the public.

The afternoon will open with a welcome from Doyon Foundation Executive Director Doris Miller and Board President Lanien Livingston. Attendees will hear from honorary guests Miranda Wright, director of the Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), as well as Sen. John Sackett, Doyon, Limited’s first president and a recipient of an honorary doctorate of law from UAF.

Doyon Foundation Board Vice President Allan Hayton will share insights as an alumnus before graduate speaker Stephanie Ashcraft gives the event’s graduate address. The Foundation will also take the opportunity to honor outgoing board members Wesley Roberts Dalton, Lorraine David and Shane Derendoff.

More than 50 Foundation students from across Alaska and Outside are expected to graduate this spring with high school diplomas, certificates, and associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. In addition to the reception, the students will be recognized in a special edition of the Foundation’s e-newsletter, which will be distributed later this spring. Foundation students who are graduating and wish to be honored should contact the Foundation at 907.459.2048 or

Doyon Foundation is the private foundation of Doyon, Limited, and serves the educational and cultural needs of Doyon’s shareholders and their children. Since inception in 1989, the Foundation has awarded more than $6 million in scholarships.

For more information, please visit or contact 907.459.2048 or

The Holland & Knight Foundation recently announced the launch of their 2013 Young Native Writers Essay Contest. This is a writing contest for Native high school students (grades 9-12) and is designed to encourage young Natives to write about the progress of their tribal communities and how their communities can keep moving forward. Five first-place winners will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC (July 15-19, 2013) and receive a $2,500 scholarship to be paid directly to the college or university of his or her choice.


Monday, April 1, 2013

More Information

Click here for more information on this year’s essay prompt, contest rules, and prizes.

Would you like to be featured in a Doyon Foundation student or alumnus profile? If so, take a few minutes to complete our short questionnaire! Find the student profile questionnaire at and visit for the alumnus questionnaire. You can view our past profiles at

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