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. 

Selina

Selina Sam, Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipient

Selina Sam will graduate in May 2019 with a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS). Her parents are the late William and Janice Sam of Tanana. Her maternal grandparents are the late James and Elizabeth Folger of Tanana, and her paternal grandparents are the late Frank and Elma Sam of Alatna.  

Doyon Foundation: You’re among students who’ve earned the Foundation’s Morris Thompson Scholarship, a competitive award. What has that meant to you?

Selina: Being the recipient of a Morris Thompson scholarship is such an honor. In 2017, I volunteered at the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, where I helped with hole watching. I learned that there are many donors who believe in the value of education and how it can benefit shareholders of Doyon, Limited.

I’ve received a Doyon Foundation scholarship almost every semester while I was enrolled in the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and working toward my bachelor’s degree in rural development. I graduated in 2017. These scholarships have allowed me to focus on my schoolwork rather than worrying about making financial ends meet.

Doyon Foundation: The golf classic is the Foundation’s annual fundraiser for scholarships. It’s among several volunteer outlets for you.

Selina: I sit on two boards, Tozitna, Limited, which is the Tanana village corporation, and the Interior Alaska Campus Council (IAC-C). The Interior Alaska Campus, based at UAF, is committed to lifelong learning for rural Alaskans and Alaska Native communities, culture and ways of life.

I started volunteering for each board about a year ago because I believe it’s important to be involved with things that affect you and your livelihood.

I also enjoy volunteering with the Tanana Dog Mushers Association, where I serve as a trail marshal. And I volunteer with the UAF Festival of Native Arts, an annual event planned by Alaska Native students and involving Alaska Native students from around the state.

Doyon Foundation: You’re volunteering, going to school full-time and working too.

Selina: I currently work as a community outreach facilitator and program adviser at the Interior Campus of UAF while working online toward my master’s degree at UAS.

My plans are to finish the spring semester, take two classes over the summer and head back to school full-time in the fall. After graduation, my goal is to obtain a public administration job within the University of Alaska system.

Doyon Foundation: Public sector jobs are a big part of Alaska’s economy. What attracts you to your field?

Selina: Public administration will serve as a great degree for me as I currently work in the public sector. It’s important to understand how government works and affects our state and university system.

Doyon Foundation: What advice do you have for other students?

Selina: Learn to take care of yourself throughout the semester to prevent burnout. Be aware of important deadlines, including scholarship deadlines. Never be afraid to ask for help. There are people whose job it is to help you succeed.

Doyon Foundation: You’ve applied this advice to your own college career.

Selina: In the fall of 2015, I lost my parent. Instead of dropping out, I motivated myself to finish my undergraduate degree earlier than originally planned. I changed my major and found something I really enjoyed.

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 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. 

Cheynne

Cheyenne Swanger, Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship Recipient

A nursing student whose hometown is Allison Park, Pennsylvania, Cheyenne Swanger is the daughter of Jack and step-mother Amy (Fink) Swanger of Allison Park. Her paternal grandparents are Kathy and Jack Swanger of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, and her step-grandparents are Joyce and Tom Fink of Allison Park.  

Cheyenne’s biological maternal grandmother, Denise James of Fairbanks, helped Cheyenne learn about Doyon Foundation’s scholarship program. Since fall 2015, Cheyenne has been a recipient of Morris Thompson Scholarships for undergraduates.

She completes the nursing portion of her education in May at Citizens School of Nursing before a final year at Penn State University for her bachelor’s of science degree in nursing.

Doyon Foundation: That last year of nursing school can be a real challenge. What’s on the horizon for you, Cheyenne?  

Cheyenne: I’ll complete the nursing portion of my studies on May 2 and then go on to take the NCLEX, the National Council Licensure Examination, which will board-certify me as a registered nurse. Summer school starts May 7. I’ll be taking three courses so that as I move into my final year at Penn State the load won’t be quite as strenuous.  

Between the end of nursing courses and the start of summer school, my paternal grandmother Kathy (meme) and I are taking a short trip to New York City to refresh. We’ll visit the 9/11 Memorial, see “Wicked” on Broadway, and just take in the many sights.  

Doyon Foundation: Then school starts again? 

Cheyenne: August begins the final year toward my bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN); graduation is December 2019. I’ve applied to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh and hope to be on staff there by July. It’s the largest trauma hospital in western Pennsylvania. 

After receiving my BSN, I plan to work several years as a nurse. Eventually I want to complete a master’s degree in nursing and then take steps to become certified as a nurse practitioner. Once I reach that goal, I want to specialize in pediatrics. I’d like to have my own practice or work in conjunction with another physician. 

Doyon Foundation: That means several years of schooling ahead.  

Cheyenne: I’m staying focused solely on my current studies. I believe that will give me a solid foundation as I move forward.  

Doyon Foundation: How did you choose nursing?  

Cheyenne: As far back as I can remember, my goal has always been to become some part of the medical field. Add to this that my paternal grandfather has had multiple sclerosis all my life.

Although all aspects of nursing pique my interest, my aspiration is to apply my skills in some form of specialized nursing. 

Doyon Foundation: You’ve mentioned the importance of keeping focused. How have scholarships from Doyon Foundation helped?  

Cheyenne: Without a doubt, Doyon Foundation has been a true blessing to me. I’ve watched as classmates struggled with families, jobs and schooling without assistance. I’ve watched as some failed to realize their dreams. 

The generosity of the Doyon Foundation scholarship allowed me focus on my studies without the burden of worrying where funds would come from to see me through the school year. Neither of the schools I have attended or am attending were accustomed to dealing with Native American scholarships. There were many times when the Foundation went out of its way to email me and worked with me when I was confused about scholarship details.  

Doyon Foundation’s ongoing support and some of the financial worry lifted helped me to do as well as I have with my college studies. And for that I’m forever grateful.  

Doyon Foundation: You believe in paying generosity forward. You’ve done that throughout your time in nursing school.  

Cheyenne: I’ve been truly blessed to have financial support through scholarships. Not having that constant financial pressure has allowed me to volunteer, starting with the beginning of my college career when I was activity coordinator for elderly people in an assisted living home. I must say that even among the aging, competition in games and activities is ever present! 

I also volunteered for two years as clerical help in the financial aid office while attending the Citizens School of Nursing. Currently I’m volunteering at the Veterans Administration hospital in Aspinwall near Pittsburgh. I help compile informational folders that educate veterans on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I donate blood regularly and I’m registered as a bone marrow and stem cell donor.  

Between school and volunteering, there’s not much time left for hobbies. But I always find a little time for family and friends.  

Doyon Foundation: What challenges have you encountered? And what advice do you have for others who confront obstacles? 

Cheyenne: I find I put pressure on myself to excel in everything I do. Exams are the worst. I’ll study and study, then test time comes and it seems as if I tense up. Doesn’t matter if I get an A or not, if I have missed questions, I become very disappointed in myself. I’m learning that as long as I’ve put forth a solid effort and truly dedicate myself to studying, then I’m doing the best I can. That’s all anyone can really do. 

Doyon Foundation: You’d encourage others to believe in themselves too.   

Cheyenne: The best advice I could give anyone is that if you dare to dream, then with determination and dedication your goals are attainable. I’d say believe in yourself, but also know that anything worth having will never come easily. Yes, it takes work. Stay focused, be positive, and don’t give up.   

If you’re making an effort to do well, there’s always someone there to help. And never hesitate to pay it forward.  

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 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. 

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.”

Annie

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.

annie.jpeg
“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.”