More than $130,000 raised for scholarships at June 17 event

Doyon Foundation supporters came together to raise money for scholarships at the 2021 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, which marked the 20th anniversary of the fundraiser.

After a year hiatus due to the pandemic, the event returned with strong support, including 116 golfers on 29 teams, more than 60 sponsors and more than 50 volunteers. The 2021 golf classic, held June 17 in Fairbanks, raised approximately $131,000 for the Morris Thompson competitive scholarship fund, named in memory of the late Morris Thompson, who served as president and CEO of Doyon, Limited from 1985 – 2000.

The 2021 golf classic took place at Chena Bend Golf Course on Fort Wainwright, where team 15 (Drew Mazzolini, Kirk Butcher, Andrew Honea and Paul Mazzolini) and team 30 (Connie Johnson, Martha Hanlon, Dee Liebl and Janette Smith) tied for first place.

The festivities continued at Pike’s Landing, where donors showed their generosity at the Fund the Future live donation event, and live and silent auctions, which featured items including a stay at Peppermill Resort, a Holland America cruise and a Denali getaway.

Attendees also heard from student speaker, Sheena Tanner, who graduated in December 2020 with her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Alaska Southeast.

Sheena shared how watching her mother obtain a degree inspired her own educational journey. “My mother graduated from UAF with her teaching degree when I was 8 years old,” she said. “Seeing the process firsthand of how beneficial an education is inspired me to earn my degree and start my career in a field that I am passionate about.”

Sheena took her time choosing her educational direction and completing her degrees. “I knew that my strengths were in organization and writing but I wasn’t ready to choose a degree program (after graduating high school),” she said. “I learned not to be impatient when it comes to my education and to assess my workload and move forward with what my schedule allowed.”

Her patience and persistence paid off, as Sheena now holds an Associate of Arts degree and a bachelor’s in criminal justice, in addition to her master’s degree. Doyon Foundation scholarships helped her along the way. “Because I was receiving a scholarship from Doyon Foundation, I used that as a driving force to get my work done, especially when the going got tough,” she said. “I would tell myself that I’m not just doing this for myself, I have others depending on me and others that have invested in me. It was a good reminder to keep moving forward.”

Today, Sheena encourages those around her to keep moving forward with their own education, including her niece, daughter and husband, who are all enrolled in programs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

“I’m so proud of my niece, daughter and husband, and especially thankful for Doyon Foundation and all of those who have contributed to the Foundation, as those contributions help to make educational goals possible,” Sheena said. “Education can lead to opportunities.”

The Foundation extends a special thank you to major sponsors KeyBank, Key Equipment Finance, Doyon Family of Companies and Council Tree Investors, as well as Robin Renfroe and Howie Thies, who celebrated 20 years of volunteering, and golfer Woody Wallis, who has participated in 19 of 20 golf classic events.

Since inception, proceeds from the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic have provided 214 scholarships totaling $556,180 to higher education students, including 2020 – 2021 recipients: Shane Derendoff, Cory LePore, Hannah Bagot, Andrianna Albert, and Calee Stark

The golf classic will return to a two-day format next year, with events taking place Thursday and Friday, June 23 and 24, 2022. Watch the Foundation website, www.doyonfoundation.com, for 2022 event information or contact 907.459.2000 or golf@doyon.com with questions. 

“Goals influence all of your decisions”

In honor of our 2021 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, we’d like to introduce you to another one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Shane Derendoff. This is the last in our series of student profiles highlighting our 2020 – 2021 Morris Thompson students and honoring their hard work and achievements, leading up to the event on June 17. For 20 years, the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic has raised money for student scholarships while honoring the memory of inspirational Native leader, the late Morris Thompson.

A software developer based in North Pole, Shane Derendoff is the son of Cece Derendoff-Nollner and Francis Nollner, both of Huslia. His maternal grandparents are Angeline Happy and Richard Derendoff, both of Cutoff-Huslia. Cutoff, a flood-prone site, was established in the 1920s and eventually relocated to the area known today as Huslia.

Shane has served as president of the Doyon Foundation board and is a past director of the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center in Fairbanks. His hometown is the Koyukon Athabascan community of Huslia.

Shane Derendoff believes that setting goals for yourself — including goals that others may consider far-fetched — are a key to steady success.

“It never hurts to ask,” he said. “These goals influence all of your decisions from that point forward, most times subconsciously.” Pursuing higher education is among self-assigned goals he values, but he’s realistic about obstacles.

“My challenge has been to keep motivated, to keep pushing to completion,” he said. “Often it’s easier to just get a job and make a wage. But sticking to your educational goals will pay long-term dividends and raise your potential career ceiling.”

Shane earned a bachelor of science degree in 1998 from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he was a recipient of Doyon Foundation scholarships. Before enrolling in the master’s of business administration (MBA) program at Alaska Pacific University (APU), where his emphasis is information technology, he served as technical service manager at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and owned Koyukon Consulting. He anticipates graduating from APU in 2022.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Shane went on to volunteer for several years on the Doyon Foundation board. “I gained key nonprofit experience,” he said. “Once I started my MBA, Doyon Foundation has funded me each step of the way.”

Shane plans to continue working as a software developer while attending APU and then start a consulting practice after graduation. His interests are management and nonprofit and leadership training. He enjoys seeking out other professionals whose early-career experiences mesh with his own. And he makes time for traditional activities such as hunting, wood-cutting and helping Elders.

“Doyon Foundation has been a key part of my educational and professional background,” he said.

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. The 20th annual golf classic will take place Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Fairbanks. To learn more, visit the Foundation website or contact golf@doyon.com.  

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

– Hannah Bagot

In honor of our upcoming 2021 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, we’d like to introduce you to another one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Hannah Bagot. This is the latest in our series of student profiles highlighting our 2020 – 2021 Morris Thompson students and honoring their hard work and achievements, leading up to the event on June 17. For 20 years, the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic has raised money for student scholarships while honoring the memory of inspirational Native leader, the late Morris Thompson.

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

Hannah recalls searching out college programs to find one that matched her goals. It’s a path familiar to many 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.”

After her recent graduation in May 2021, Hannah’s plans include serving as the Health Policy and Management Fellow for Hoag Hospital and Orthopedic Institute in Orange County, California.

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. The 20th annual golf classic will take place Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Fairbanks. There are still opportunities to support the event as a sponsor or volunteer; to learn more and get involved, visit the Foundation website or contact golf@doyon.com.  

“Doyon Foundation has made my dreams possible”

In honor of our upcoming 2021 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, we’d like to introduce you to another one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Calee Stark. This is the latest in our series of student profiles highlighting our 2020 – 2021 Morris Thompson students and honoring their hard work and achievements, leading up to the event on June 17. For 20 years, the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic has raised money for student scholarships while honoring the memory of inspirational Native leader, the late Morris Thompson.

An undergraduate at the University of Washington (UW), Calee Stark is the daughter of Emily Pitka of Fairbanks, Alaska, and Wes Stark, raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Calee plans to study psychology with the goal of becoming a physician assistant following her graduation from UW in 2023. Her hometown is Fairbanks.

As a student with an interest in autism, Calee Stark believes that one of the best things about her career field – health care – is that it doesn’t yet have all the answers. “Many things remain unknown that we can one day hope to discover,” she says.

Calee traces her commitment to medicine after witnessing care extended to an uncle who was treated for cancer. “Watching the nurses and physicians attempt to do everything they could inspired me to want to improve the level of care in the future,” she shares.

Her short-term goal includes continuing her work as a certified nursing assistant at a Seattle nursing home and eventually serving her community as a physician assistant (PA) in hospitals. Working under a doctor’s supervision, PAs often are among the first medical staff that a patient meets. Physician assistants may examine and diagnose injury or illness, treat and educate patients, and prescribe medicine, among other primary care duties undertaken by doctors.

“Doyon Foundation has made my dreams of working in the medical field possible,” Calee says. “It allowed me to focus on my studies and not stress about how to afford my education. I’m beyond grateful for that.”

A member of organizations aimed at advancing the interests of Indigenous students, Calee belongs to First Nations at UW, an intertribal group focusing on culture and traditions, and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Her future plans include taking part in a clinical internship with Apex Summer Camp through the UW Autism Center. The camp offers student interns a chance to gain research insight while it helps children build social and behavioral skills.

Calee, who graduated from high school in 2019, says that college students who encounter challenging courses may benefit from re-thinking what they’ve learned about learning: Strategies that served her well in high school were falling short at a competitive university that attracted other bright students.

“For a while I struggled to learn how to properly study,” she shares. “This was a challenge because I wasn’t used to asking for help.” She soon found on-campus sites for academic advising. Calee says she benefited from more efficient study habits as well as learning the rewards of asking for help. “That ended up being the solution to my problem,” she says.

Her advice to other students: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they may sound obvious.

“If you’re struggling in a class, acknowledge that but don’t let it continue for long,” she advises. “More opportunities started lining up for me when I started to ask questions.” That led her to realize that many people are willing to help: “Just ask!” 

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. The 20th annual golf classic will take place Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Fairbanks. There are many opportunities to support the event as a sponsor, golfer or volunteer; to learn more and get involved, visit the Foundation website or contact golf@doyon.com.  

“Thank you so much for your academic support of Alaska Native students!”

– Core LePore

In honor of our upcoming 2021 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, we’d like to introduce you to one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Cory LePore. This is the latest in our series of student profiles highlighting our 2020 – 2021 Morris Thompson students and honoring their hard work and achievements, leading up to the event on June 17. For 20 years, the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic has raised money for student scholarships while honoring the memory of inspirational Native leader, the late Morris Thompson.

Cory LePore is currently an MBA student with a finance concentration at Alaska Pacific University, and will be completing his program this summer. Previously, Cory earned an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in 2018, and received his master of arts degree in economics from the University of Hawaii Manoa in spring 2020. He is a member of the International Economics Honor Society, which recognizes scholastic achievement. Originally from Bethel, Cory is the son of Cory LePore, Sr. and Cindy LePore, both of Bethel. His maternal grandparents are Beverly Turner and Thaddeus Tikiun, both of Holy Cross.

Doyon Foundation: Congratulations on receiving your master’s in economics last spring. What attracts you to that field?

Cory LePore: Our world has many economic challenges that we’re facing daily and the fact that there’s no one correct way to approach those problems is so fascinating. Studying economics provides me with skills to make an impact on those problems throughout my lifetime.

DF: Economics is famous for being a difficult field, one that requires good ability in math and statistics as well as an understanding of human behavior.

CL: My biggest challenge has been trying to find my proper way to study. I found myself trying to cram math material into my brain the night before an exam and I ended up doing subpar.

I was in my first year as undergraduate at UAF when I found a way to study that suited me. I realized I’d have to dedicate more time and effort. I tried breaking my study time into several days, usually starting a week before an exam, and then study a couple of hours a day. I saw a massive change for the better in my grades.

I found this approach by trying all sorts of study techniques. I tried studying in a group and using flash cards. I’d read and research different strategies online.

DF: Your advice to other students is to remember that teachers and advisers are there to help. How did you learn this lesson? Why do you think so many students overlook these sources of help?

CL: I think they’re afraid. Students tend to think that teachers are there to teach and that’s it. But in reality, most teachers love when you interact with them outside of class. It shows you’re willing to challenge yourself and that you really want to learn the topic.

DF: Other than finishing your MBA this summer – an incredible accomplishment – what’s next for you?

CL: I am actually working full-time with Alaska USA as a financial analyst! I will probably be in some sort of financial position in the near future. 

DF: How did Doyon Foundation scholarships help you?

CL: I was able to just take my classes and focus on school. Doyon Foundation scholarships freed up so much of my time and stress by allowing me to not have to work full time while in school.

Thank you so much for your academic support of Alaska Native students. It’s very much appreciated!

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. The 20th annual golf classic will take place Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Fairbanks. There are many opportunities to support the event as a sponsor, golfer or volunteer; to learn more and get involved, visit the Foundation website or contact golf@doyon.com.  

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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!

 

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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!

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“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!

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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!

 

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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!

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In honor of the 2019 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, we’d like to introduce you to another of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Jayne Martin. A 2019 graduate who holds bachelor’s degrees in safety management and business management, Jayne earned Morris Thompson competitive scholarships awarded by Doyon Foundation. Her parents are Jean Martin of Clarion, Pennsylvania, and Jim Martin of Butler, Pennsylvania. Jayne’s hometown is Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Jayne is a graduate of Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. She lives in Virginia where she’s employed as a safety coordinator with Rosendin Electric, a design-build engineering company founded in 1919.

Doyon Foundation: Congratulations on your new job and earning two degrees in four years. How did Doyon Foundation help you achieve your goals?

Jayne Martin: The Foundation helped endlessly by awarding me with scholarships every semester. Without those scholarships, it would have been difficult to stay in school and earn two degrees in my four years.

DF: That’s a significant achievement.

JM: My biggest challenge was overcoming challenges that were new to me. But the greatest challenges and struggles in life bring you the greatest rewards. I learned that it’s important to be resilient and face challenges head on.

I would tell everyone to always remember that failure is a part of life. Failing is a learning opportunity that can make you stronger and better in the end.

DF: And beyond the classroom? How did you spend your time?

JM: I was part of a Relay for Life team representing my college majors. In my freshman year, I was a seminar peer leader. I’ve volunteered through my church and was a member of professional groups including Women in Safety Excellence and the American Society of Safety Professionals.

DF: Now that you’re settling into a new home and a new job what’s on the horizon for you?

JM: I plan to continue working for Rosendin and eventually earn credentials as an Associate Safety Professional and Certified Safety Professional. I want to become a safety manager one day.

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 earn college degrees. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. This year’s golf classic took place June 13 and 14 in Fairbanks.

A special thank you to all of our 2019 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic sponsors, including our custom sponsors:

  • Alyeska Pipeline Service Company
  • Avalon Development Corporation
  • American Tire & Auto
  • Associated Pipe Line Contractors, Inc.
  • Avalon Development Corporation
  • B & H Promotions
  • Bruce Abbott & Helen Renfrew
  • Carlson Center
  • Chena Hot Springs Resort
  • Colville, Inc.
  • DW Grill & Catering
  • Explore Fairbanks
  • Chevrolet Buick GMC of Fairbanks
  • GCI
  • Great Harvest Bread Company
  • McCafferty’s, A Coffee House, Etc.
  • Moose’s Tooth/Bear Tooth
  • NOV Rig Technologies
  • Peppermill Reno
  • Salon Bella
  • Santina’s Flowers & Gifts
  • Sophie’s Station & Zach’s Restaurant
  • Spenard Roadhouse
  • Strategies 360
  • Street Sounds
  • Sunrise Bagel & Espresso
  • The Outpost
  • The Woodway
  • Westmark Fairbanks
  • Yukon Quest

Your support makes scholarships for students like Jayne possible! View all 2019 sponsors on our website.

To learn about future opportunities to support the event as a sponsor, golfer or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details. 

118_People Promotion_Janelle_FB-INIn honor of the 2019 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, we’d like to introduce you to another of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Janelle Solbos. A doctoral pharmacy student from Anchorage, Janelle is the daughter of Darrell Butler Jerue of Anvik and Carol H. Jerue of Portland, Oregon. Janelle’s paternal grandmother is Alta Jerue of Anvik.

Janelle attends the University Alaska Anchorage (UAA)-Idaho State University pharmacy program. She graduates in May 2020.

Doyon Foundation: Congratulations as you work toward a doctorate in pharmacy in a very competitive program at UAA. What does that fourth and final year of schooling hold for you?

Janelle Solbos: The fourth year is spent on rotations, learning from pharmacists in at least seven different settings. I’m poring myself into applying everything I’ve learned over the past three years to become a competent and caring pharmacist.

DF: Educating future pharmacists committed to remaining in Alaska is a key mission of your program. What are your plans as an Alaska pharmacist?

JS: I’m learning everything I can to serve Alaskans living in rural communities, especially places with limited connections to outside resources, a condition that’s true of many Alaska communities.

My husband and I have family living on Prince of Wales island in southeast Alaska. We hope to move there after pharmacy school.

DF: How did your interest in a pharmacy begin? Where has that interest taken you?

JS: Before enrolling in pharmacy school and for the first half of it, I worked as a pharmacy technician at two Anchorage hospitals. That’s where I was inspired to become a pharmacist.

I’ve held numerous student roles throughout pharmacy school. I was the first pharmacy student in Alaska to serve as a local chair of Operation Diabetes, a nationwide effort of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists to screen people at risk for diabetes.

I’ve also prepared and presented a drug utilization review, known as a DUR, for an Alaska Medical Assistance DUR committee meeting. These reviews are a quality-assurance measure. I also volunteer regularly as a Babies First Friend at neonatal and pediatric intensive care units at the Alaska Native Medical Center. Volunteering has been an incredible experience in meeting and supporting Alaska Native families.

DF: How have these efforts added to your program’s emphasis on educating pharmacists who serve as patient advocates?

JS: My volunteering and outreach activities are very valuable and rewarding. A desire to help Alaskans is the reason I decided I want to become a pharmacist and still want to be one.

My biggest challenge has been balancing my time and effort between outreach and volunteer work and extremely demanding coursework in the first years of pharmacy school. Support from Doyon Foundation and my family allowed me to spend time on both of these passions.

DF: How has Doyon Foundation helped you reach your goals?

JS: Foundation support meant that I could spend time establishing new roles on campus and becoming the first student in my program to hold a variety of positions with professional organizations in pharmacy.

Doyon Foundation generously supported my education so that I could limit my working hours to part time. That left time to study and pursue projects that supported my peers, community and learning.

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 earn college degrees. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. This year’s golf classic took place June 13 and 14 in Fairbanks.

A special thank you to all of our 2019 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic sponsors, including our certificate level sponsors: Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, and Taiga Mining Company. Your support makes scholarships for students like Janelle possible! View all 2019 sponsors on our website.

To learn about future opportunities to support the event as a sponsor, golfer or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details. 

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In honor of the 2019 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, we’d like to introduce you to another of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Annie Sanford. A University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) student from Tok, Annie is the daughter of Dewayne Carl Sanford and Lena Blair Sanford, both of Tok. Her paternal grandparents are Walter and Laura Sanford of Tanacross. Her maternal grandparents are Mary Jane Tom Tom Blair and William Blair, both of Snag, Yukon.

Annie is pursuing an associate degree in applied science in radiologic technology. She’s completing a summer internship for academic credit at Bassett Army Community Hospital in Fairbanks. She graduates in 2020.

Annie was the featured student speaker at the 2017 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic. The annual fundraiser benefits Doyon Foundation scholarships and honors the memory of the late Morris Thompson, who served as president and chief operating officer of Doyon, Limited.

Doyon Foundation: Your degree program at UAA is competitive — only about a third of students who apply are accepted. What are some challenges you’ve encountered?

Annie Sanford: The biggest challenge I faced during my education would have to be starting my practicum while taking radiology courses. The practicum is building my confidence and knowledge in healthcare, but it’s also a new experience that requires learning a new environment and working with a wide range of people.

Finding a balance between hands-on radiology while learning new coursework was difficult. I was able to keep a strong head on my shoulders and kept persevering with the support of family, friends and classmates. Their encouraging words and gestures constantly remind me of the wonderful work I’ll be able to do once I complete my program.

DF: And when you’re not focused on school?

AS: I spend time with family and friends or at the student recreation center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In April I volunteered at a conference of the Alaska Society of Radiologic Technologists. It was a good chance to meet people in my field and learn more about it.

DF: How did earning a Morris Thompson scholarship, awarded competitively by Doyon Foundation, help with your education?

AS: Education has always been part of who I am. Doyon Foundation provided enormous support, financially and through student events like a Navajo taco dinner. These gestures made gaining a higher education easier. I’m a full-time student and very much appreciate the Foundation’s efforts.

DF: You’ve mentioned that keeping a goal in sight helped relieve stress. That sounds like a success tip for other students.

AS: Yes. There’ll be times when you’ll feel overwhelmed with stress from school and life in general. That’s when it’s important to take time to surround yourself with positivity — whether that’s time with family and friends or just a day to relax.

I’ve learned that when you surround yourself with positivity, you’ll be reminded that feelings of stress are worth pushing through to reach your goal.

DF: What’s ahead for you?

AS: I’ll continue taking radiology courses in the 2019 – 2020 academic year while completing practicum hours around class time. I’m on track to graduate in May 2020. Once I’m certified as a radiologic technician, I hope to work at Tanana Valley Clinic or Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center in Fairbanks.

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 earn college degrees. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. This year’s golf classic took place June 13 and 14 in Fairbanks.
A special thank you to all of our 2019 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic sponsors, including our hole sponsors: Alaska Communications, Alaska National Insurance Company, Chapman Capitol Consulting Inc., Doyon Board of Directors, Doyon Senior Management, Doyon Utilities, Great Northwest Inc., Hilcorp Alaska, LLC, Kent Dawson Company, Inc., Lynden International, Marsh | Wortham, NOV Rig Technologies, Northrim Bank, Owl Ridge Natural, Resource Consultants, Inc., Pearl Meyer, Stoel Rives LLP, Texas AGA, and Ultimate Software Group, Inc. Your support makes scholarships for students like Annie possible! View all 2019 sponsors on our website.

To learn about future opportunities to support the event as a sponsor, golfer or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details.