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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: Cory LePore is a student at the University of Hawaii Manoa where he’s pursuing a master of arts degree in economics. 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.

Cory earned an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in 2018. He is a member of the International Economics Honor Society, which recognizes scholastic achievement.

Doyon Foundation: Congratulations as you look ahead to earning your master’s degree in 2020. What attracts you to economics?

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: You’ll be interning at Alyeska Pipeline Service Company this summer.

CL: I’ve been at Alyeska the past three summers. The work involves spreadsheet modeling, demand and market analysis, profit maximization analysis, and assisting in contract negotiations.

Interning provides me with hands-on experience so I’ll be better prepared as soon as I enter the workforce.

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 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 Doctorate-level sponsors: Associated Pipe Line Contractors, Inc., Doyon Family of Companies, and KeyBank and Key Equipment Finance. Your support makes scholarships for students like Cory 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. 

The 2019 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic took place under mostly sunny skies earlier this month, raising money for scholarships and honoring the memory of the late Morris Thompson.

The 19th annual event was held June 13 and 14 at Chena Bend Golf Course on Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks. The two-day event included a skills tournament and reception with Calcutta on Thursday, followed by the golf tournament and banquet on Friday. See more event photos on Facebook.

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While the final numbers are still being tallied, the 2019 event is estimated to have raised more than $122,000 for Doyon Foundation scholarships. Initial calculations show an increase in fundraising at the Calcutta, where supporters bid on the golf team they think will win in the tournament.

At Thursday night’s reception, guests viewed a video tribute to the event’s namesake, Morris Thompson, an avid supporter of education who served as the president/CEO of Doyon, Limited from 1985 until his passing in 2000. Guests were also introduced via video to some of the Foundation’s students and alumni, who shared how Doyon Foundation’s support has made a difference in their educational journeys.

During the reception, the Foundation made a special gift presentation to Charlene Marth, who has faithfully volunteered for the event every year for the past 19 years. Marth, who is the niece of the late Morris Thompson, is retiring from Doyon, Limited this year and said she will continue to volunteer even when retired.

The reception also included a spirited live auction, where guests bid on items including a trip to Peppermill Resort in Reno, a seven-day Holland America cruise, a Houston Astros super fan experience, and a Callway golf package.

The Friday golf tournament, which featured 32 teams of four players, was once again sold out, with a waiting list of interested players. Congratulations to this year’s winning team, Rick Boyles, John McAbee, Scott Jepsen and Rick Schok, Jr., who took first place with their score of 114. See more tournament results on the Foundation website.

The golf classic, which raises money for the Morris Thompson competitive scholarship fund, relies on the support of both sponsors and volunteers, both of which increased this year. The Foundation was pleased to welcome Associated Pipe Line Contractors, Inc. as a new $15,000 doctorate-level sponsor, and is thankful for the more than 60 volunteers who gave of their time at the event this year. See a list of 2019 sponsors on the Foundation website.

A special thank you to Explore Fairbanks and MAC Federal Credit Union, sponsors of the new dice roll game, which replaced the hole-in-one contest at the 2019 event. Congratulations to Stuart Thompson, who won the top prize of $5,000.

The 2020 event is tentatively scheduled for June 11 and 12; watch for additional announcements on the Foundation website.

62_MTMGC Promotion_FB-INThe 2019 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, themed “Tee Up for Scholars,” will take place Thursday and Friday, June 13 and 14, at Chena Bend Golf Course on Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Doyon Foundation established the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic in honor of the late Morris Thompson, an avid supporter of education who served as the president/CEO of Doyon, Limited from 1985 until his passing in 2000. Read more about Thompson and the memorial fundraising event on the Foundation website.

The event raises money for Doyon Foundation’s Morris Thompson competitive scholarships, which are awarded to students who exhibit Thompson’s most-admirable qualities, including vision, dedication to excellence, exemplary leadership and integrity. Since inception of the event, the Foundation has awarded 202 Morris Thompson memorial competitive scholarships totaling $479,180.

Current scholarship recipients, who received awards ranging from $5,000 – $9,000 for the 2018 – 2019 academic year, include:

  • Cory LePore
  • Noah Lovell
  • Cole Mackie
  • Gage Mackie
  • Stephen Matthew
  • Ryan Michel
  • Megan Patsy
  • Annie Sanford
  • Janelle Solbos
  • Gavin Jackon
  • Jayne Martin

Cory“(Doyon Foundation scholarships) freed up so much of my time and stress by allowing me not to have to work full time and go to school. I was able to just take my classes and focus on school,” shared Cory LePore, of Bethel, who is working on his master’s degree in economics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and expects to graduate in 2020.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the 2019 event. To learn more:

For more information or to get involved, contact 459-2000 (in Fairbanks), 1-888-478-4755 (toll-free) or golf@doyon.com. To learn more about the event, visit the Foundation website.

 

Born and raised in Fairbanks, Julian Thibedeau is a student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). He’ll earn a certificate in rural human services in 2019 and begin his associate’s degree in the Tribal Management Program at UAF in the fall of 2018. Julian’s mother is the late Ruth Maxine Thibedeau; his grandparents are the late Richard “Shorty” Thibedeau of Stone Lake, Wisconsin, and the late Ruth Lillian Mayo of Rampart. 

Julian, 29, is a full-time maintenance technician at Doyon, Limited. He received a Morris Thompson scholarship for the 2017 – 2018 school year.

JulianDoyon Foundation: Julian, you were away from school from several years before earning a Doyon Foundation scholarship and pursuing your degree. What prompted you to go back to school?

Julian: It had been 10 or 12 years since I’d been to school. College was really foreign to me. I’d say to myself, “Man, what I am even doing here?” It was as if I was in strange territory!

I’d just put my best foot forward, give it my all and not be afraid to ask questions. I’d like to thank my professors and classmates who really helped introduce me to college. It took dedication and perseverance to see it through.

Doyon Foundation: And Doyon Foundation scholarships helped hold you accountable?

Julian: I wanted to keep earning that scholarship to complete my degree and of course I’d have to keep my grades up. The scholarship kind of helped keep me in check because I knew my funding depended on my grades.

I’d like to say thank you to Doyon Foundation. I don’t think it would have been possible to go to school worry free and stress free otherwise.

Doyon Foundation: How did you manage tough courses? Everyone faces them eventually.

Julian: Courses with a lot of writing and research were a challenge. Classes in library science, introduction to databases and resources – these require being able to cite information and I wasn’t familiar with that. My strategy was to just do the assignments. Even if I knew they weren’t 100 percent right, I’d just give it my best effort. I had really helpful professors.

Doyon Foundation: You’re looking forward to finishing the semester and starting an internship with First Alaskans.

Julian: My internship starts June 10 with an orientation week in Anchorage, then an assignment in Fairbanks for the summer. I’d like to intern in behavioral health or community outreach.

I’ll also go fishing during the summer at Rampart with my daughter, Adriel. She’ll be 7 and I want her to have a connection with the land. I think there’s a lot of healing within traditional knowledge, learning from Elders, knowing who you are and where you come from.

Doyon Foundation: You’ve said that Adriel inspires you. How do you mean?

Julian: My daughter is on my mind because I’d like to see the advancement of Alaska Native people, not just my generation but generations to come. In the long-term, I’d like to mentor at-risk youth and those who fall through the cracks. My sobriety and recovery make me want to give back to the community that I used to take away from.

I’m Athabascan, and I drum and sing Athabascan songs. I’d like to go across the country, parts of the United States and Canada, and learn more songs.

Doyon Foundation: Giving back is something you’re committed to.

Julian: Yes. In my free time, I speak at the Fairbanks Native Association’s Youth Treatment Center. I come from that background. Sometimes the youth need people to talk to who know what it’s like to be in treatment.

I’ve also organized a volunteer street cleanup every year for the past three years in downtown Fairbanks and the neighborhood south of downtown. I chose those places because they get overlooked.

I went to the mayor and said that if I got the litter bags and the bags were filled up, would public works pick up all those yellow bags. The answer was yes. It was just another way for me to give back.

Doyon Foundation: Any advice for students who identify with your experiences?

Julian: We all have that inner voice that says you can’t do it, that you’re not worthy. For instance, accepting scholarships and grants felt to me at first as if I was taking a handout. I had to suck up my pride, but then I realized that these things were an opportunity – and not only an opportunity but an obligation to your people, to your tribe, and to yourself.

My advice is simple: Believe in yourself!

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 takes place June 21 and 22 in Fairbanks. To learn about opportunities to support the event as a sponsor or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details. 

Doyon Foundation student Shawna Hildebrand attends the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), where she’s earning a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in rural development. Her parents are Edith and Darell Hildebrand of Nulato. Shawna’s maternal grandparents are the late Eleanor and Hughey Kriska of Koyukuk, and her paternal grandparents are Edith and Victor Nicholas of Nulato.

When she’s not in school, Shawna enjoys fishing and processing fish, among other cultural activities. Her hometown is Nulato. Shawna graduates in December 2018.

Shawna Hildenbrand
Doyon Foundation:
Keeping up with your courses became a significant obstacle this year. Can you say more about that?

Shawna Hildebrand: The biggest challenge this year has been the ability to do school work. I know that sounds bad, but during the fall semester I had surgery on my elbow, making it impossible to type for about two months. Even with a cast on.

I’m especially thankful for my professors – who were understanding of my grammatical mistakes – and assistive technology that permitted me to get all my homework done while I was healing. I definitely came to appreciate Doyon Foundation scholarships that allowed me to obtain the technology I needed to do my schoolwork and take part in class.

Doyon Foundation: That willingness to persevere sounds a lot like your advice to other students.

Shawna: The most important thing is to remember that you can do anything you set your mind to. That’s such a cliché, but it’s true.

Take the time to do your schoolwork and find a schedule that works for you. Don’t take your professors for granted either; they’re there to help you succeed and will work with you on assignments you are having difficulty with. The biggest thing is you need to be sure you’re going to school for something you love.

Doyon Foundation: You’ve experienced that first-hand.

Shawna: I put off deciding on a master’s program for five years because I couldn’t commit entirely to a master’s in counseling. I spent time looking at various degree programs and ultimately decided on the Master of Public Administration (MPA) at UAS after talking to some family.

The program intrigued me and fell in line with what I wanted to do with my career. I decided to jump feet first and here I am, less than two years later, about to graduate with my MPA in rural development.

Doyon Foundation: The degree seems to combine your professional work, your volunteer efforts and your long-term goals.

Shawna: I’m currently learning the world of self-governance at Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), where I’m employed as a self-governance operations coordinator. I’ve always said I would go to college and return to serve our people in whatever capacity they need me to.

Working full time and going to school full time haven’t left a lot of room for other activities, but I do volunteer as a committee co-chair at the Alaska Statewide Violence and Injury Prevention Partnership (ASVIPP).

ASVIPP is dedicated to reducing injury-related morbidity and mortality by providing leadership and expertise in the preparation, implementation, coordination and periodic review of injury prevention efforts.

I became involved because of my work in injury prevention and suicide prevention with TCC, and through partnerships with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. While my past work experience involved prevention, I find myself moving more toward assisting tribes in their self-determination efforts.

Doyon Foundation: You’ve earned Doyon Foundation scholarships since your undergraduate years. What has the Foundation’s help meant to you?

Shawna: I graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology, and Doyon Foundation funded a large part of my degree. When I applied to UAS as a graduate student, Doyon Foundation again awarded me a scholarship, making student loans less of a burden. I appreciate these scholarships for helping offset the cost of my education.

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 takes place June 21 and 22 in Fairbanks. To learn about opportunities to support the event as a sponsor or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details. 

Justin

Justin Woods, Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipient

A Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient and graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), Justin Woods is the son of Marsha Woods of Fairbanks. Justin plays professional hockey as a right-handed defenseman in the ECHL with the Jacksonville, Florida-based Icemen.

After earning his degree in business administration in 2017 from UAF, Justin joined the ECHL Icemen, one of the professional hockey teams affiliated with the National Hockey League. Affiliation means that Icemen team members are positioned to play in both the NHL and ECHL.

Justin earned a Morris Thompson scholarship from Doyon Foundation and credits the scholarship for helping him afford books and other materials as he worked toward his degree. His goals include building his resume and playing professional hockey.

In 2014, when he was 20 years old, Justin underwent cancer treatment, a period that he says has been his greatest obstacle so far. Among lessons he’s learned: “Don’t take anything for granted and give it your all!”

Morris Thompson Portrait

The late Morris Thompson

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 Classicraises money for this competitive scholarship fund. This year’s golf classic takes place June 21 and 22 in Fairbanks. To learn about opportunities to support the event as a sponsor or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details. 

Jacy

Jacy Hutchinson, Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipient

A Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient since her undergraduate days, Jacy Hutchinson is completing a doctorate in clinical-community psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA).

Her mother is Dianna Merry of Fairbanks; her maternal grandparents are Renee Merry of Rampart and Peter Merry of Coos Bay, Oregon. Jacy’s father is Chad Hutchinson of Fairbanks; her paternal grandparents are John and Debra Hutchinson of Falkton, South Dakota.

Jacy will graduate in 2022. She is the recipient of a Morris Thompson scholarship from Doyon Foundation. 

Doyon Foundation: What was it like to have Foundation scholarships throughout your schooling? Why is this financial help important to you?

Jacy: Thanks to Doyon Foundation, I was able to focus on my education by going to school full time. I’m very appreciative of this support with the many expenses of school throughout my journey.

Doyon Foundation: You’re doing research, serving as a teaching assistant and pursuing a practicum. What’s involved in each?

Jacy: I’m completing a practicum as a student clinician in the Psychological Services Clinic at UAA. Because of this experience, I feel confident with my decision to pursue a career in clinical-community psychology. I’ve found it highly rewarding to help people work toward their goals and support them in improving the quality of life.

In addition to the practicum and spring semester classes, I’m working as a teaching assistant in a lifespan development class for undergraduates. I’ve enjoyed being a TA because I have been able to enhance my teaching skills and practice public speaking. I have found that teaching is a fantastic way to learn the material.

My research project is aimed at identifying common pathways that lead to homelessness in Anchorage so that interventions to prevent homelessness are better informed. I’ll be spending the summer in Iceland studying the Icelandic language and continuing to research factors that contribute to homelessness.

In the fall, I plan to travel with my family during hunting season to pick berries. I’ll return to school after that to complete coursework and a community internship in Anchorage.

Doyon Foundation: Your program helps students develop an awareness of cultural contexts and issues that affect rural and indigenous people. Students become scholars as well as practitioners. How are your goals and education linked?

Jacy: After completing my Ph.D., my goal is to become a licensed clinical psychologist in Alaska, working for an Alaska Native corporation or in a community clinic.

I’m primarily interested in working with people suffering from anxiety and related disorders – among the most prevalent psychological disorders.

I’d also like to contribute to my community by developing programs or preventative measures. Each can be powerful ways of reaching more people. I’m particularly interested in working with programs that prevent homelessness and reduce prison reentry rates.

Doyon Foundation: When it comes to relieving stress, you’re a believer in organizing and planning.

Jacy: That’s right. My biggest challenge during my education has been learning to balance the varying responsibilities that come with higher education. Thoughtful planning has helped me overcome this challenge, including planning time to exercise, socialize and have fun.

I enjoy traveling, spending time with my family and friends, playing with my dogs, hiking and learning to ski. Finding time is not always easy, but it’s essential.

Another challenge is knowing myself and being mindful of how much work I’m actually able to take on.

Doyon Foundation: Your advice to other students involves the connection between body and mind.

Jacy: It can be easy to neglect healthy living, especially when it comes to eating and sleeping habits. I’d also remind students to use university resources. During my undergraduate years, writing centers and math tutoring helped me countless times.

Taking care of our physical and mental health actually helps us strive academically. Live a balanced life!

Morris Thompson Portrait

The late Morris Thompson

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 Classicraises money for this competitive scholarship fund. This year’s golf classic takes place June 21 and 22 in Fairbanks. To learn about opportunities to support the event as a sponsor or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details.