A new competitive scholarship for “aspiring young lawyers” will be available through Doyon Foundation starting in fall 2018. Doyon, Limited President and CEO Aaron Schutt and his wife, Marissa Flannery, announced the establishment of an endowment for the new scholarship during the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic reception in June. Watch a video of the announcement.

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Both graduates of Stanford Law School, the couple partnered with the Doyon, Limited board to help establish the fund, and have made a five-year commitment to getting the scholarship in place. Schutt presented the first check, in the amount of $10,000, to Doyon Foundation Executive Director Doris Miller at the reception.

“Did you know there is not a single Alaska Native judge in our entire court system? And I’m not sure there ever has been,” Schutt told the audience at the reception. “In our Native community, there is a great need for more Native lawyers, so I am proud to work with the Doyon board on this.”

“I know very well the cost and benefits a legal degree can have for Native students,” said Flannery, who shared that she and her husband each graduated with more than $100,000 in student loan debts. “We’ve never regretted our choice, and we hope that other students will make that choice.”

“We believe our degrees have benefited our communities tremendously,” continued Flannery, a partner at Sonosky and Chambers, a law firm devoted to representing Native American interests. “I hope that other young, aspiring Alaska Native lawyers who receive this scholarship will also go back to work for their communities.”

Establishing the scholarship was also very personally meaningful to Flannery. “When Aaron came to me with this idea, it reminded me of my grandmother. She didn’t graduate from high school, but she always prioritized education. She made sure all eight of her daughters graduated high school, she encouraged them to go on to college and a number of them did.”

“Before I finished law school, she passed away,” Flannery shared. “One of her requests to her daughters was they sell her house and her truck, and put those funds into a scholarship fund. So I am excited about the opportunity to do something similar, to follow in her footsteps and continue to promote education.”

“We are very grateful for the vision and the dedication Aaron, Marissa and the Doyon, Limited board have shown by establishing this scholarship,” Miller said. “It will undoubtedly benefit many students who want to go into this important field, but who need the financial support to do so. Many of our students return to their home communities to work after graduating, so this is an investment with long-term benefits for us all.”

If you would like to join in supporting this new scholarship fund, you may make a secure online donation on the Foundation website; be sure to note “competitive law scholarship” in the “special instructions” box. Donations may also be made by mailing a check to Doyon Foundation at 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. Please note “competitive law scholarship” in the memo line.

For more information about Doyon Foundation, scholarship eligibility and application instructions, or opportunities to support students, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.

 

Doyon Foundation, with the support of the golfers, sponsors, planning committee, staff and volunteers, held another successful Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic June 22 – 23 in Fairbanks, Alaska. In addition to raising money for the Foundation’s Morris Thompson Scholarship Fund, the popular annual event also honored the memory of the late Morris Thompson.

“Morris was an enthusiastic and tireless supporter of education, and we are honored to hold this event in his memory,” said Doris Miller, Foundation executive director. “The Morris Thompson Scholarship Fund was established to provide scholarships to students who exhibit the qualities we admired most in Morris – vision, dedication to excellence, exemplary leadership and integrity.”

The 17th annual event kicked off Thursday, June 22 with a skills tournament warm-up at Chena Bend Golf Course on Fort Wainwright, followed by a reception and Calcutta at Wedgewood Resort. See the skills tournament results on the Foundation website.

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Aaron Schutt and Marissa Flannery announce the new competitive scholarship for law students at the Calcutta reception.

The reception featured two very special moments. The first was when Doyon, Limited President and CEO Aaron Schutt took the stage with his wife, Marissa Flannery, to announce the establishment of an endowment for a new competitive scholarship for aspiring young lawyers.

Both graduates of Stanford Law School, the couple partnered with the Doyon, Limited board to help establish the new scholarship fund, making a five-year commitment to getting the scholarship in place.

“I know very well the cost and benefits a legal degree can have for Native students,” said Flannery, who said she and her husband each graduated with more than $100,000 in student loan debts. “We’ve never regretted our choice, and we hope that other students will make that choice.”

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Student speaker Annie Sanford addresses reception guests.

Student speaker Annie Sanford of Tok, Alaska, then shared her story, giving the audience a real-life example of how their support makes a difference in the lives of students.

“Let’s see if I learned anything from my communications class I took last semester,” Sanford quipped at the start of her speech, drawing encouraging laughter from the filled room.

“Normally I don’t volunteer myself to give speeches, but I felt it was important to express how important of a role Doyon Foundation has played in my higher education,” continued Sanford, who is pursuing an associate’s degree at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and hopes to join the university’s very competitive radiologic technology program in 2018. Her post-graduate plans include staying in Fairbanks to give back to the community that has given her so much.

“I feel like Doyon Foundation is a third proud parent in my pursuit of a higher education,” Sanford said. “I want to thank Doyon Foundation and their sponsors for supporting not only me but students across Alaska pursuing our educational dreams.” Read more about Sanford on the Foundation’s blog and see a video of her speech on the Foundation YouTube channel.

The evening concluded with a spirited Calcutta, where teams and members of the audience bid on the teams they thought would win the golf tournament the next day. Always a popular event, the Calcutta brought in more than $50,000, which was split between the winning bidders and the Foundation scholarship fund.

The festivities continued on Friday, June 23 with the golf tournament, which drew 33 teams of four players each. By early afternoon, the teams had finished the 18 holes at Chena Bend and were celebrating at the golf banquet.

2017 winning team

First-place team at the 2017 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic.

Congratulations to the first-place team comprised of Rick Boyles, Dan Clark, Rob Graves and Scott Jepsen. See the full list of winners on the Foundation website.

“Thank you to the golfers, sponsors and volunteers for bringing your great energy and fun to the tournament this year,” Miller said. “We couldn’t have asked for better conditions and fundraising results. Thanks for your continued support and generosity.”

This year marked the 17th year of the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic. Since inception, the event has enabled the Foundation to award 173 students with Morris Thompson scholarships totaling $370,180.

For more information on Doyon Foundation or the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, visit www.doyonfoundation.com.

Annie Sanford’s parents are Lena Blair Sanford and Dewayne Sanford, both from Tok. Her maternal grandparents are Mary Tom Tom Blair and William Blair of Snag, Yukon, Canada; her paternal grandparents are Laura Isaac Sanford of Tanacross and Walter Sanford of Chistochina. Annie’s hometown is Tok.

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“Normally I don’t volunteer myself to give speeches, but I felt it was important to express how important of a role Doyon Foundation has played in my higher education,” Annie shares as she takes the stage as the student speaker at Doyon Foundation’s Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic Calcutta reception in June. The annual golf classic raises money for the Morris Thompson Scholarship Fund, which honors the memory of the late Morris Thompson and awards scholarships to students exhibiting leadership, integrity and a commitment to excellence.

“There is a lot to take into account when it comes to higher education, and Doyon Foundation has helped take the financial burden off of my shoulders,” Annie explains. “I feel like Doyon Foundation is a third proud parent in my pursuit of a higher education. They stay involved, they provide encouragement, and they are genuinely happy to witness my educational journey.”

“I want to thank Doyon Foundation and their sponsors for supporting not only me but students across Alaska pursuing our educational dreams,” Annie concludes. See the full video of her speech on the Foundation YouTube channel.

Annie is a University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) student who plans to complete her associate’s degree and join the university’s radiologic technology program in 2018. It’s a competitive process; only a half-dozen or so of the top students are selected to enroll each year. “I’m improving every aspect of my application to be among the top six or seven,” she says.

Her goals including graduating from the radiologic technology program in 2020 and pursuing her career in Fairbanks. “I want to work to give back to the community that has given me so much,” says Annie, who hopes to work at the Chief Andrew Isaac Health Clinic or Fairbanks Memorial Hospital before continuing her studies to become an ultrasound technologist.

“Early on, in high school, I knew I wanted to help people medically and not just from your typical office cubicle,” Annie recalls. After high school, while she was trying to figure out what to do, it was a coworker who inspired Annie to go into radiology.

“Due to radiology not being commonly talked about, I wish to mentor future students who want to pursue radiology because I know I would have liked to have someone to talk to who already went through the process and could answer my questions,” she says.

For now, Annie advises other students to stay organized and keep motivated. “Using a planner and whiteboard are essential,” she says. “I highly recommend them.”

Kaylen’s mother is Shari Rempp, whose parents are Glenn and Marjorie Buss. Kaylen’s father is Chris Demientieff, whose parents are Rudy and Alice Demientieff. Kaylen’s hometown is Anchorage.

Kaylen“The greatest challenge I had in going back to school was supporting myself financially,” Kaylen says. A member of the 2017 graduating class of Colorado Mesa University, Kaylen met financial challenges by competing for scholarships, including the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship through Doyon Foundation.

“Doyon Foundation helped me to graduate,” she says. Foundation support helped with tuition as well as day-to-day expenses like rent. Because of the Foundation, she says, “I’m one step closer to becoming debt free.”

Named for the late president and chief executive of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship Fund has awarded nearly $400,000 over the years to students like Kaylen who share his commitment to excellence, leadership and integrity. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, starting tomorrow, is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser to benefit these scholarships.

“I devoted my time to working hard and studying,” says Kaylen, who held a job while going to school. She studied radiologic technology and plans to work toward mammography certification. Her goals include becoming a traveling mammography technologist. She graduated in May.

“College can be overwhelming, especially if you must work outside of school. I spent my free time hiking and sewing. It’s important to stay focused and work hard, but remember to have fun!”

 

Jessica’s parents are the late Catherine Maki and the late Gordon Ruck; her grandparents are Nancy (Senungetuk) Felton, of Wales and Nome, and the late Willard Felton. Jessica’s hometown is Anchorage.

Jessica“Without Doyon Foundation’s support, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” says Jessica, a doctoral student in social welfare at the University of Washington. Doyon Foundation scholarships, including the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship, helped her pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my educational successes,” she says. In addition to completing research, writing and exams that will precede her dissertation, Jessica reviews journal articles in her field and advocates for social welfare policy. She volunteers in her children’s school, offers guest lectures at UW and the University of Alaska Anchorage, and plans to resume a role with the Alaska Native Dialogues on Racial Equity. She also serves as a co-president of the Native Organization of Indigenous Scholars.

“The stress of multiple demands can become overwhelming,” she acknowledges. “I’ve had to learn to limit what I take on.” Her advice to other students: Remember that persevering to Graduation Day takes more than going to class and cranking out papers.

“Do what brings you internal happiness and satisfaction, help others, always tend to your relationships. Stay connected to who you are and where you come from. Forgive. And always do the best you can.”

Named for the late president and chief executive of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship Fund has awarded nearly $400,000 over the years to students like Jessica who share his commitment to excellence, leadership and integrity. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic held in June is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser to benefit these scholarships.

 

Jarynn’s parents are Lucille Stickman and the late John Cunningham II. Her maternal grandparents are the late Jessie Stickman and the late Donald Stickman; her paternal grandparents are Betty Cunningham and the late John Cunningham. Jarynn’s hometown is Palmer.

JarynnJarynn is a May 2017 graduate of Minnesota-based Century College, where she earned an associate’s degree in computer science. Her plans include enrolling in the fall in the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

She says that being awarded a Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship through Doyon Foundation demonstrated that the Foundation is as supportive as family when it comes to seeing college students succeed: “The Foundation gave me the opportunity to fully invest my time into my education. I am very thankful.”

Named for the late president and chief executive of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship Fund has awarded nearly $400,000 over the years to students like Jarynn who share his commitment to excellence, leadership and integrity. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic held in June is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser to benefit these scholarships.

Jarynn’s long-term plans include completing her bachelor’s degree in two years and then working in software development. She advises others to maintain perspective when it comes to potential setbacks on the way to earning a college degree.

“Our education journeys may seem daunting at first. But all our efforts will pay off in the long run. We’ll become a better version of ourselves,” she says.

Among her biggest challenges: Recognizing when it’s time to ask for emotional or academic support.

“I’ve learned that struggling is nothing to be ashamed of,” Jarynn says. “It’s OK to reach out for help. Balancing your priorities – school, work, family, health – is the key to being successful.”

Emily’s mother is Janice Joseph of Rampart; her grandmother is Jenny Joseph of Rampart and her grandfather is Arthur Joseph of Tanana. Emily’s father is Mark Sexton; her grandmother is Beverly Sexton and her grandfather is Bill Sexton, all from Fairbanks. Emily’s hometown is Fairbanks.

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset“The biggest challenge I faced during my education has been distance from home,” says Emily, a Marquette University student in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “Getting over homesickness has been essential.”

Emily has had a Doyon Foundation scholarship in each semester. “Especially for a student attending college so far from Alaska, these generous scholarships truly help decrease the high cost of education,” says Emily, a current Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship recipient.

Named for the late president and chief executive of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship Fund has awarded nearly $400,000 over the years to students like Emily who share his commitment to excellence, leadership and integrity. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic held in June is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser to benefit these scholarships.

Emily’s goals include graduating in 2018 with degrees in accounting and political science before going on to become a certified public accountant and attending law school. She’s interning this summer at a Milwaukee investment company.

During the school year, Emily is involved in the Native American Student Association. She also volunteers as a reading tutor with the First Nations Studies Program in Milwaukee public schools. “It’s been rewarding,” she says. “Most of these students are first-generation college students like me, so I brought them on a tour of my campus. It was the first time many of them had been on a college campus or talked about attending.”

Her advice to students: Apply for scholarships, get involved early in student groups and make time to volunteer. “It’s been an incredible experience to serve as a mentor,” she says.