Alumni survey prize winner Charlotte James (left) with Jennifer Mayo Shannon of Doyon Foundation

A big “thank you” to the 90 Doyon Foundation alumni who completed our short alumni survey this fall and were entered to win prizes! And congratulations to all of our winners, selected in a random drawing and listed below.

Set of five “I am learning my language” handkerchiefs with tote:

  1. Justine Attla
  2. Jada Carroll
  3. Anna Chamberland
  4. Phillip Demientieff
  5. Amy Durny
  6. Esther Frykman
  7. Diana Riedel
  8. Larissa Sommer
  9. Erica Whitney

$100 Amazon gift cards:

  1. Anastacia D’Andre
  2. Charlotte James
  3. Keifer Kanayurak
  4. Kristen Moreland
  5. Ginessa Sams
Keifer Kanayurak, prize winner

People of the Water wool blankets from the Athabaskan Heritage Collection™ Spirit Keeper Series™:

  1. Helena Jacobs
  2. Susan Robinson

Your participation helps us better understand where our alumni are today and how your education helped you get where you are now. It also allows us to connect with our alumni and stay in touch on Foundation news and opportunities to engage and support current and future students.

While the contest has ended, it’s never too late to connect with the Foundation. If you have ever received a Doyon Foundation scholarship, please complete our short alumni survey today!

Allan Hayton, Doyon Foundation language revitalization program director, selecting the alumni survey winners in a random drawing

172_DLO Language Champion Promotion_GeorgeHolly_FB-IN“Dina xiyo ngitlith: Our thoughts are powerful”

An artist and songwriter who grew up in Ts’eldahthnu (Soldotna) on the Kahtnu (Kenai) River, George Holly is a content coordinator with Doyon Languages Online whose learning is guided by the wisdom of Chief Peter John: “God has given us each a language to praise Him with.”

George’s parents are the late Joanne Holly of Holy Cross and the late George Holly, Sr., who came to Anchorage, Alaska, when he was 11, in 1951. George’s maternal grandparents are the late Nick and Nellie Demientieff of Holy Cross. Nellie Demientieff grew up in Anvik and together Nick and Nellie raised 10 children, including Sam Demientieff, Irene Catalone, Sugar Merculieff, Tiny Devlin and Lolly Demientieff.

George is the owner of Holly House, a guest house on the Kenai River. His language is Deg Xinag, the language of Alaska Native people of the Lower Yukon and Innoko Rivers.

Doyon Foundation: Take us back to early days of learning your language. Who and what inspires you?

George Holly: My first language teacher and mentor was Ellen Savage, wife of my grandpa’s first cousin, Pius Savage. I was 24 years old when Ellen taught me my first words. She took my hands into hers and told me to never let her words fall from me.

I learned from Ellen that language can be what she would call dinayetr — our breath — and what she’d refer to simply as the good life. I’ve learned that language is not only a vehicle of communication but a good work. It affirms community life, service and time-tested generational experience for good thought.

DF: In addition to providing learning units since joining Doyon Languages Online last year, you remain a diligent student of Deg Xinag. How do the two roles fit together?

GH: I’ve been learning my language for 25 years, sometimes through weekly distance education classes, sometimes listening to and studying the printed text of oral histories, and sometimes through university courses or language development institutes. In 1999 I moved to Shageluk, near Holy Cross in our cultural area of Western Alaska, to be nearer to speakers of Deg Xinag. I stayed nine months.

My teachers have included many Elders, among Deg Xit’an people and also Tlingit and Dena’ina people. I’m amazed to hear the same spirit of loving guidance in each. (When performing at Camai a few years back, I heard Yup’ik Elders speak to their dance groups backstage and was stunned to hear that same uplifting and ennobling speech there. We all share it.) The Elders pass down what they had learned about life from their own “old people” about community traditions and right living with the world.

DF: That seems like your main point — that language is much more than getting across our thoughts.

GH: Learning and speaking one’s language has the potential to open things inside you, connect you in untold ways to the prayers and hopes, joys and knowledge of those who came before.

DF: You stress the value of listening when it comes to language learning.

GH: Listening, doing activities in the language, being open to what’s being said — these have all helped me learn my language. And working with kids. “Going North Song” and “The Squirrel Love Song” and “Naqanaga” are some of the songs I’ve written being sung across the state and the Yukon Territory.

Growing up outside of my cultural region I didn’t take part in much of the ceremonial life of our community. But I’m Deg Xit’an — one of “the local people” — and I’ve joked that it means wherever I was, I was one of the locals. It works to take part in the local life— supporting the local language is something needed, necessary and good.

How can you say you really lived in a place or really loved a place if you haven’t heard, supported, loved and spoken the language of a place?

DF: You are a talented songwriter; “Naqanaga (Our Language),” “Chenh ditr’al iy (Until We See Each Other Again)” and “Ani Chonh Igili’eyh (Over the Rainbow in Deg Xinag)” are some examples of songs you’ve worked on. What role do you feel music plays in language learning?

GH: I feel strongly about using my talents to support language revitalization. I write music for schools, with teachers, students in small groups and individuals – all with local language. Lorna Vent from Huslia said “music is for building a spirit.” I write music to help build that spirit and the intangibles to experience language in a personal way. Students I’ve worked with usually like to try to add more Native language once they feel it for themselves. 

DF: Where does your work with Doyon Languages Online fit in to your goals as a language learner?

GH: Distance is a big challenge when it comes to being among speakers, learning the language and using it frequently. When I travel anywhere I try to visit places where I know language learning is happening and spend good time with folks.

Helping people overcome these challenges by developing units to people have online access to our language is part of why working for Doyon Languages Online has been so poignant and purpose-driven for me.

DF: You want to become more methodical about language learning. What would that look like?

GH: I’d like to learn more about moving beyond working with individuals. For instance, what can be done so that language takes on more life in a family context? How can culture camps and weekly or monthly or quarterly community events support intergenerational interaction in the language?

How could parents be empowered to use the language with their young ones and other family members? And since kids learn so quickly, how might roles be maintained when a child advances faster than adult family members? How can a social environment be built and supported so that local language use is favored and preferred?

Moreover, regarding language in groups: How does a community experience hope?

I believe the arts help in this area.

These are things I’d like to address. There’s so much to learn and share. Ting getiy dixet’a. Xogho ntr’ixetonik. The trail is awfully rough. We’ll work at it together.

DF: Any closing thoughts?

GH: When it comes to involving Elders working on Doyon Languages Online, Edna Deacon and Jim Dementi deserve mention. It wouldn’t happen without them. And I thank Doyon Foundation for the confidence it has in my role with Doyon Languages Online.

My language learning efforts are dedicated to Ellen Savage, my first teacher, and in memory of my dear folks who allowed me to be a person in my own skin and who were and are such encouragers of art and “the good life.” Dogidinh, xisrigidisddhinh sidithnaqay neg! “Thank you, I’m grateful, my dear parents!”

About Doyon Languages Online

Through the Doyon Language Online project, Doyon Foundation is developing introductory online lessons for Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Deg Xinag, Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross), and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana). The project officially launched in summer 2019 with the first four courses, now available for free to all interested learners.

Doyon Languages Online is funded by a three-year grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), awarded in 2016, and an additional three-year grant from the Alaska Native Education Program (ANEP), awarded in 2017.

As Doyon Foundation continues to grow our language revitalization efforts in the Doyon region, we believe it is important to recognize people who are committed 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, or sign up to access the free Doyon Languages Online courses here.


“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!

North Star Group 2020 Arctic internship opening

We are pleased to offer an Arctic Policy & Communication Internship for the summer/early fall of 2020. This paid internship is open to current college students or recent graduates who have a strong interest in northern/Arctic policy issues such as climate change, Indigenous communities, natural resource extraction, and related subjects.

This is a great opportunity for someone starting their career to strengthen their networking skills while gaining valuable experience in professional communication Arctic-related policy issues.

The start date is somewhat flexible, with the potential for continuing employment. NSG has offices in Anchorage, AK and Washington, D.C., but work can potentially be done remotely from other locations.

Interested applicants are invited to send their letter of interest, a CV/resumé and a photo that best describes their interest in Arctic/northern issues to info. Applicants should submit their resume and cover letter no later than Friday, May 22, 2020; interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis and the successful candidate will be chosen by June 1, 2020.

Thank you in advance for passing this announcement along to your network.

NSG 2020 Arctic Communication Internship.pdf

Center for Native American Youth has partnered with Brown University Pre-College Programs to award two full-tuition scholarships for Native high school students. This is an online scholarship to attend the Writing for College and Beyond course which will take place July 6th – August 5th, 2020. The scholarship will cover application and tuition fees.

All CNAY-Brown application materials are due by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Friday, May 15, 2020.

Click HERE for more information or to apply.

100_Scholarship Review Committee Flyer and Promotion3_FB-IN

Candidates sought for competitive scholarship review committee

There are two seats available on the Doyon Foundation competitive scholarship review committee. One reviewer must be from a rural community in the Doyon region. Individuals interested in giving back and helping students achieve their full potential are encouraged to consider serving on this important committee, which reviews, evaluates and scores student competitive scholarship applications. We have extended the application deadline to Wednesday, June 3, 2020, at 5 p.m.

To qualify for this position, candidates must:

  • Submit the online application and a current resume.
  • Be a Doyon shareholder.
  • Be age 18 or older.
  • Value and support higher education.
  • Be committed to serve a three-year term.
  • Have an internet-accessible computer with recent version of web browser installed (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera).
  • Attend an orientation in June in Fairbanks, either in person or via teleconference.
  • Spend 30 – 40 hours reviewing, evaluating and scoring all competitive scholarship applications online via the Doyon Foundation website.
  • Attend a one-day meeting in Fairbanks in July/August to award the scholarships.
  • Meet with Doyon Foundation administration to review and recommend competitive scholarship policy changes.

Please note that per IRS regulations, committee members cannot be employees of the Doyon Family of Companies or Doyon Foundation. Board members are also not eligible to serve on the committee. Also note that service on the scholarship review committee is on a voluntary basis.

Interested candidates should complete and submit the online candidate application, as well as a current resume, by Wednesday, June 3, 2020, at 5 p.m. The Doyon Foundation board of directors will select the new committee member at their next regularly scheduled meeting in Fairbanks.

For more information, please contact the Doyon Foundation at 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.

The Travis W. Watkins Tax Resolution & Accounting Firm Scholarship is a one-time $1,000 award for any current or soon-to-be student who has had his or her family’s life altered because of tax controversies (back taxes owed, audits, etc.). The Travis W. Watkins Scholarship has a brief and 100% confidential submission process, and applicants will be judged on their ability to convey the importance of tax compliance as well as the journey of those challenges (including the impact of professional tax representation or lack of representation on the outcome).

Deadline: April 30, 2020



156_Fall Scholarship Promotion_FB-IN

Apply by May 15 for competitive and basic scholarships for fall 2020

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but one thing is certain: We will get through this together and we will come out stronger on the other side. In the meantime, many of us are hunkered down at home, weathering the storm. The silver lining is this period of isolation gives us some additional time to think and plan and dream about what we want our lives to look like. If your dream involves education – getting a degree, going back to school, obtaining a higher degree, starting a new career or just learning something new – then we encourage you to apply for a Doyon Foundation scholarship for the fall 2020 semester. The deadline to apply is Friday, May 15 at 11:59 p.m.

May 15 is the application deadline for our fall basic and competitive scholarships, which include:

  • Competitive scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $9,000
  • $1,200 basic scholarships for full-time students (undergraduates taking 12 or more credits, or 9 or more credits for graduate students)
  • $800 basic scholarships for part-time students (undergraduates taking 3 to 11 credits, or 2 to 8 credits for graduate students)

Wondering about the difference between the scholarships? Competitive scholarships are awarded through a competitive review process, while basic scholarships are awarded to all students who meet the eligibility guidelines and submit a completed application by the appropriate deadline. (Also, our basic scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to get your application in early!) Note that you don’t have to fill out separate applications for competitive and basic awards.

Before you apply, make sure you meet the eligibility guidelines. Applicants must:

  • Be enrolled to Doyon, Limited or be the child of an original enrollee
  • Be accepted to an accredited college, university, technical or vocational school
  • Meet our minimum GPA requirements
  • Be enrolled in the required minimum number of credits

Get all the details on scholarship eligibility and application requirements by reviewing our scholarship resource handbook.

Ready to apply? Get started at our online scholarship application portal. If you are a first-time applicant, you will need to create a new account. Need help? See our step-by-step account creation instructions or view our detailed application instructions.

Once you are logged in, select “apply” and the system will ask for an access code. If you do not already have an access code, please call 907.459.2048 or email us at foundation@doyon.com to obtain one.

We always get a lot of questions about transcripts: Do I need to submit them? Do they need to be official or unofficial? What is the deadline? Here’s what you need to know:

  • If you DID NOT receive a summer 2020 scholarship, you are requiredto submit your official transcript on or before the deadline of May 15, 202
  • If you DIDreceive a summer 2020 scholarship, your official transcript is due on or before August 28, 2020. This can be uploaded into your student account or emailed to foundation@doyon.com.

It is very important to log in to your student account before the scholarship application deadline to check that you have submitted all the required materials. (Put a reminder on your calendar now!)

Questions? We’re working remotely but still here to help! Contact our scholarship program at foundation@doyon.com or 907.459.2048.

158_Our Language Grants Extended Promotion_FB-INNew deadline: Proposals due May 1

In light of recent developments in communities across Alaska, the country and the world, Doyon Foundation is extending the application deadline for the 2020 Our Language grants until Friday, May 1, 2020, at 5 p.m. We are also extending the final report deadline from September 30 to October 30, 2020.

We understand many are making preparations to protect families and loved ones, while also facing new challenges of working remotely and finding new ways to stay connected. We hope this deadline extension will allow applicants the additional time they need to develop their project ideas and grant proposals.

We encourage communities to find new ways to work with language revitalization, especially with Elder first language speakers. We must protect our Elders, and find ways to work with them either through telephone, or distance technology platforms like Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime or WebEx.

As a reminder, Doyon Foundation will award grants of up to $5,000 to support language revitalization efforts as part of our continuing effort to revitalize the endangered Native languages of the Doyon region. The 10 ancestral languages of the Doyon region are all severely to critically endangered, and will be lost within the span of a few generations if no action is taken.

Doyon region tribal governments/tribal councils/communities; nonprofit Alaska Native organizations, societies and community groups; and Alaska Native cultural, educational and recreational organizations/centers are eligible to apply for an Our Language grant.

Download the application in Word here, or download a PDF application packet hereOr help us spread the word by sharing our updated flyer. For additional information, contact Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program at 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com. We look forward to seeing your proposals, and are available to discuss your project ideas.

Student support initiative addresses emergency financial needs

CONTACT: Marmian Grimes, 907-460-4750, mlgrimes

Student services professionals throughout the University of Alaska will be able to quickly address student needs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to a new student support initiative.

The initiative will allow front-line staffers at each university to draw on new funding sources to help students with a wide variety of emergency financial needs. The goal is to solve those problems quickly so students can continue their studies.

“Just like all Alaskans, our students are struggling with the financial impact of this pandemic,” said University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen. “Sometimes $100 to help with a household bill or utility payment can mean the difference between staying in school and dropping out. Helping our students clear these hurdles is the right thing to do.”

Funding for the initiative will come from two sources. Johnsen has allocated $450,000 in university funding to the effort. Each university also has a designated Student Support Fund that will allow financial contributions from alumni and donors to make gifts to address urgent student needs beyond those that can be met by the universities.

Since the start of the pandemic, student services offices have seen an increase in requests for help. As classes moved online and campus buildings closed, students have faced greater financial hardships. Some students have seen their hours reduced or eliminated at their off-campus or on-campus jobs, and are struggling to choose between making a tuition payment or paying rent, filling their gas tank or purchasing school supplies, or paying a phone bill or buying food.

Student services units at each of the universities will be responsible for working with individual students and approving requests for help. Students can find applications for help online at http://bit.ly/uacovidresources.

Alumni and donors who want to contribute to student support funds can visit giving pages at UAA (https://engage.alaska.edu/uaa), UAF (https://engage.alaska.edu/uaf) and UAS (https://engage.alaska.edu/uas), or at the UA Foundation(https://engage.alaska.edu/).

“This partnership between our alumni and donors and the university will allow us flexibility to address the broad range of immediate needs our students are dealing with,” Johnsen said.


  • University of Alaska system – Saichi Oba, associate vice president for student and enrollment strategy, 907-450-8146, stoba
  • University of Alaska Southeast – Lori Klein, vice chancellor for enrollment management and students affairs, 907-796-6057, laklein.
  • University of Alaska Anchorage – Bruce Schultz, vice chancellor for student affairs, 907-786-6108, brschultz
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks – Keith Champagne, vice chancellor for student affairs,907-474-2600, kmchampagne2.

85_Our Language Grants Promotion_v2_FB-INSecond language grant teleconference scheduled for Wednesday, March 25, 4 p.m.

If you have questions about Our Language grants but you missed our first teleconference, we are pleased to announce a second teleconference has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 25 from 4 – 5 p.m. To participate, simply call 1.800.315.6338 and enter PIN 556677#.

Not able to attend the teleconference? You’re welcome to call anytime with questions – contact Allan Hayton, Doyon Foundation language revitalization program director at 907.459.2162 or haytona@doyon.com.

Through the Our Language grant program, the Foundation will award grants of up to $5,000 to fund language revitalization projects. Doyon region tribal governments/tribal councils/communities; nonprofit Alaska Native organizations, societies and community groups; and Alaska Native cultural, educational and recreational organizations/centers are eligible to apply.

Our Language grant proposals are due no later than Friday, April 3, 2020, at 5 p.m. Learn more on our blogdownload the application packet in Word here, or download a PDF application packet here.


Tuesday, March 3rd from 10am to 2pm


Doyon Chiefs Court, 1 Doyon Place, Fairbanks, AK 99701


Learn more about Doyon/ARAMARK’s summer employment opportunities in Denali National Park and Preserve.

Positions available include:

Reservation agents, cultural interpreters, bus washers, retail associates, clean team members, food service workers and more.

The Doyon Foundation office will be closed on Monday, February 17 in observance of Presidents’ Day. We’ll be back in on Tuesday, February 18. Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable long weekend!


Formerly the Summer Medical Dental Education Program (SMDEP)

SHPEP is a free 6 week summer enrichment program focused on improving access to information and resources for college students interested in the health professions. SHPEP’s goal is to strengthen the academic proficiency and career development of students underrepresented in the health professions and prepare them for a successful application and matriculation to health professions schools.

SHPEP is implemented at 12 program sites across the nation. Each site provides scholars with academic enrichment in the basic sciences and math, shadowing experiences, career development activities, learning and study skills seminars, and financial planning. SHPEP at the University of Washington is a collaboration of the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Public Health.

Learn more at https://tinyurl.com/sgbyh6v.

Iḷisaġvik College is pleased to announce that Iñupiaq language courses will be offered free of tuition beginning the Spring 2020 semester. This amounts to $495 in savings for each student enrolling in Iñupiaq language course, a reduction from the total previous cost of $605 and the removal of a significant barrier to accessing language knowledge and instruction.

Waiving tuition for the course is distinctive from the Alaska Native/Native American Tuition Waiver offered by Iḷisaġvik College, which requires that each student apply for at least one scholarship to qualify and after the first waiver, requires students to be enrolled in a program. Waiving tuition for the course further opens access to non-degree, non-program seeking community members seeking to further language ability.

Final Press Release Tuition Waived Language Courses 1.10.20.pdf

Next Page »