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.


Each year, Doyon Foundation awards Morris Thompson competitive scholarships to students who exhibit the qualities we admired most in the late Morris Thompson – vision, dedication to excellence, exemplary leadership and integrity. This year is no different.

As we prepare for the upcoming Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic – our largest annual fundraiser benefiting the Morris Thompson Scholarship Fund – we invite you to get to know some of our 2015 – 2016 Morris Thompson scholarship recipients.

Geoffrey Bacon

Geoffrey BaconGeoffrey, of Fairbanks, Alaska, is the son of Glenn and Adele Bacon, and the grandson of Michael and Eleanor Michel, and Joseph and Frances McCullough.

A graduate of Cornell University in May 2016, Geoffrey holds a master’s degree in industrial and labor relations. He now plans to use his foundation in labor relations to “transition into other human resources areas and continue the work of improving people’s lives.”

During the pursuit of his degree, “Doyon Foundation provided me financial assistance with a generous scholarship,” Geoffrey said. “Thank you again for helping me achieve this educational and professional goal.”

Geoffrey advises current students to “Have a clear vision of where you want to be in the long-term. That vision will help you clarify what are important goals you need to achieve now or in the near future that will help you achieve that vision.”

Jordan Craddick

Jordan CraddickJordan has lived all over Alaska, and spent his early years predominantly in Southeast Alaska. He currently resides in Seattle, Washington, but will move to Fairbanks later this year. He is the son of Steve and Vicki Craddick, and is the grandson of John Kristovich and June Parsons, and Randolph Kalkins and Caroline Demientieff.

Jordan attends the University of Washington, where he is a third-year graduate student pursuing a PhD in history – Alaska Native history. He begins his dissertation research this summer and hopes to graduate in May 2018.

After receiving his PhD, “There are many things I would like to accomplish,” Jordan said. “First and foremost I intend to teach. Providing students with a history told from an indigenous perspective is necessary if we are to counter the biased narratives that persist to this day. Next I intend to continue my research and writing with the hope that my projects will be of use to the Native community at large. Finally, I would like to be involved in the preservation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge.”

Scholarship support has been “critical,” Jordan said. “It demonstrates a real investment in the future not just in monetary terms but also in the advancement of indigenous career prospects. For me personally, this support demonstrates confidence in what I can and will achieve. For that I am forever grateful.”

Jordan describes education as “an empowering process that allows us to focus not so much on what we are, but rather, what we will become. For many of us the pursuit of knowledge will never end and the journey is the reward.”

Jordan advises current students to “take the time to explore what interests you and what you’re passionate about. Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged by measures of aptitude, education is a process which means persistence is the key.”

Jarynn Cunningham

Jarynn Cunningham_photoJarynn, originally from Palmer, Alaska and currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota, is the daughter of Lucille Stickman and the late John Cunningham II. She is the granddaughter of the late Jessie Stickman and the late Donald Stickman, and Betty Cunningham and the late John Cunningham.

A sophomore at Century College, Jarynn is working toward an associate’s degree in computer science. She plans to go on to receive a bachelor’s degree and then “start my career in software development that will hopefully one day be beneficial to our community.”

Receiving a scholarship from Doyon Foundation “makes me feel like I have people outside of my friends and family who are equally invested in the success of my educational goals,” Jarynn said. “I have a great appreciation towards the Doyon Foundation because without the scholarship I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my goals without falling into debt.”

During her own educational journey, Jarynn has “learned that education allows us to reach our full potential, dream bigger dreams and aid in social mobility. So the way I see it is that education is a lifelong journey and that everyone should have the opportunity to embrace it.”

Speaking to current students, Jarynn said, “Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it. Whether that be academically, financially, or socially. Everyone needs someone by their side to help guide the way to success.”

Kyle Demientieff-Worl

Demientieff-Worl, KyleKyle, originally from Fairbanks and Juneau, and now living in Anchorage, is the son of Beverly Demientieff and Rodney Worl, and the grandson of Alice and Rodolfo Demientieff, and Rosita Worl and Rodolfo Rodriguez.

Kyle is a senior at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he will graduate from in August 2016 with a bachelor’s of arts in anthropology, and a minor in Alaska Native studies.

Following that, “I will be applying to graduate schools this fall to continue my education in the field of linguistics or language revitalization. I hope to use my education to help our community bring new life into our Native languages,” Kyle said.

Education is important to Kyle as it “broadens our horizons and creates new opportunities. It allows us to see what our community needs and take action to creating a solution.”

Kyle’s scholarships from Doyon Foundation “made it possible for me to complete my undergraduate without having to also take on a full-time job or take semesters off to pay for tuition. I was able to focus on my education and graduate with honors. I am grateful for all the support Doyon Foundation has given me throughout my undergraduate degree.”

“Be involved in your community,” Kyle encourages his fellow students. “It will give greater meaning to your education and motivation to complete your degree.”

Krysten Walker

Krysten Walker - preferredKrysten, originally of Maple Valley, Washington and currently residing in Stanford, California, is the daughter of Robert and Dawn Walker, and the granddaughter of Virginia Sweetsir and the late David Sweetsir, Sr., and Jan and the late Bob Walker.

She is a junior at Stanford University, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s of science in science, technology and society, with a concentration in innovation, technology and organizations.

For Krysten, “Receiving a Doyon Foundation scholarship means graduating from Stanford debt-free and on time. My Doyon Foundation scholarships have been able to fill the gaps in my institutional financial aid, leaving me with time to find my place on campus without worrying about spending all of my free time at work.”

Krysten describes her time at Stanford as “life changing. My classes have challenged me to examine the world around me critically. Outside of class, my dormmates and sorority sisters have taught me infinitely more. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to get to know such a diverse group of people and I’ve really valued every minute of my Stanford experience.”

To her fellow students, Krysten advises, “Stay true to yourself. I’ve found that it’s easy to get stuck in the trap of taking hard classes because everyone else is doing it and then stress about your grades, sacrificing your health and well-being for something that isn’t meaningful to you. Find value in what you do and success will follow, whatever success means to you.”

Darren Whitworth

Whitworth, DarrenDarren, originally from McGrath, Alaska and currently residing in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is the son of Carl and Marcia Whitworth, and the grandson of the late John and Cecelia Andrews, and the late Rudolph and Ethel Whitworth.

Darren graduated in May 2016 from Regent University with a master’s of divinity, with a concentration in chaplain ministry.

“Although it seems the learning has only begun, I hope to put my education to work in my local community, and in communities around the world,” said Darren, who plans to serve and pursue a career in the chaplaincy field. “While being open to the lead and guidance of the Spirit of God, I hope to accomplish my life’s purpose, and destiny, which I believe involves serving the people of Alaska, as we build healthy, vibrant, prosperous communities to the glory of God.”

Darren values education because, “When it comes to each person finding and fulfilling his or her own purpose in life, an education can help them find, and develop his or her own strengths. I believe as we seek an education, we maximize our potential in bringing forth our gift or contribution to the world,” he said.

Receiving a Doyon Foundation scholarship was important to Darren because “Instead of channeling my energies to a part-time job, or a work study program, I am able to devote my attention, time and energies to my academic course work,” he said. “Your support also shows how much we as Athabaskans value education, so it is a privilege and an honor to receive financial contributions from Doyon Foundation, as I feel compelled to take more responsibility for the assets you have entrusted to me.”

To current Foundation students, Darren said, “I would encourage you to be yourself, because the minute you try to be someone else is the first minute we lose the personality, character, and person you bring into our world – you are a blessing. Another word of advice, I would encourage you to run your own race. Given your own life circumstances, you may have to balance school with work and a family, so even though the program is a three- or four-year program, it is okay to complete it in the length of time that is good for you.”

The 14th annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic took place June 12 and 13 at the Chena Bend Golf Course on Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska. A total of 32 four-member teams participated in the event, which raises scholarship funds for Doyon Foundation students. The event netted more than $105,000 for the Foundation’s Morris Thompson competitive scholarship fund. View our event album on Facebook.IMG_0071

Congratulations to this year’s winning teams, including the first place winners, Team Carlile, which walked away with $5,000 in winnings, and their Calcutta team buyer, CIRI President and CEO Sophie Minich.

The Calcutta, held Thursday evening at the Wedgewood Resort, featured a live auction. Thank you to all who participated, especially the auction winners:

·      2014 U.S. Open Golf Bag: Woody Wallis, $300

·      Anchorage Golf Vacation: Jim Adams, $600

·      Fairbanks Golf Course Package: Jay Sadler, $800

·      Peppermill Hotel Package in Reno, Nevada: John Hendrix, $2,000

Student speaker and scholarship recipient, Nadine Carroll, also addressed attendees at the 2014 Calcutta. Read a transcript of her speech on our website.

Our sponsors have made the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic a successful annual event, and our largest fundraiser of the year. We also extend a special thank you to the individuals who volunteered their time to help make the 2014 classic such a success. Visit our website to see the list of sponsors and volunteers who supported the 2014 event.

With the support of our golfers and sponsors, we are pleased to have awarded $49,000 in Morris Thompson scholarships for the 2013-2014 school year. See a list of recipients on our website.

The 15th annual classic will take place June 18 – 19, 2015 in Fairbanks. If the past couple years are any indicators, sponsorships and golfer registrations will fill quickly, so be sure to watch for details next spring and confirm your participation early.

When Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient Raymond Pitka Jr. looks at Alaska’s youth, he sees potential and possibilities, waiting to be uncovered and developed.


“No one knows the full reach of a person, and that in itself is exciting and sometimes sad. I often think about the Boston bombings and the people who had died there, especially an 8-year old boy. We won’t know this boy’s full reach in life. Perhaps he would have brought many great things to existence had he lived,” Raymond shares.

“That’s how I see youths in Alaska, and supporting them through the Foundation is one great way in achieving that.”

As a Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient, Raymond understands the importance of that support. “I feel greatly honored to be a recipient of a Morris Thompson competitive scholarship. It has definitely allowed me to focus more on school work rather than worry about financial issues,” said Raymond, who received a $3,000 Morris Thompson undergraduate award for the 2013 – 2014 school year.

The scholarship is helping Raymond attend Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, where he will graduate in April 2015 with a degree in accounting. He plans to attend graduate school to obtain a master’s degree and become a certified public accountant.

Raymond shares that the biggest challenge he has faced during his education is being hard-of-hearing. “However, with support from my doctor and family as well as friends, I have no trouble with my learning abilities at this moment,” he says.

“There are going to be times in life when you are feeling super down and out, but that doesn’t mean you should give up so easily,” he says. “The road to destination is often the adventure everyone is looking for and they missed it because they’re too focused on the goal far in the future. Take each day at a time is my philosophy.”

Originally from Fairbanks, Raymond is the son of Raymond Pitka Sr. and Debra Pitka, and the grandson of Sam and Elizabeth Pitka, and Donald and Marie Head. He has two brothers, Jonothan Head and Christopher Pitka, and an older sister, Shirley Pitka.

“I have always relied on family for support. They’re always there for me, through the thick and thin,” Raymond says.

Read more student profiles and success stories on the Doyon Foundation website.

Registration is now open for the 2014 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, and there are many ways to get involved as a golfer, sponsor or volunteer. For details, view the 2014 brochure here on the Doyon Foundation website. To register as a player or sponsor, click here or download the hard-copy form on the Foundation website. Space is limited and will fill quickly, so register today!Image

Doyon Foundation will host the 14th Annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, Tee up for our Future, on Thursday and Friday, June 12 and 13 in Fairbanks, Alaska. Last year’s golf classic raised a record-setting $115,600 and drew 120 golfers, 150+ sponsors and more than two dozen volunteers, who all came together to benefit the Morris Thompson Scholarship Fund, an endowed fund that provides scholarships to support the efforts of hard-working Alaska Native students.

The Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic was established in 2000 by Doyon Foundation in honor of the late Morris Thompson, who served as the president/CEO of Doyon, Limited from 1985 until his passing in 2000. The annual event is held each year in mid-June. Proceeds from the classic support the Morris Thompson Scholarship Fund, an endowed fund benefitting Alaska Native, higher education students studying business management and leadership.

For more information, email admin@doyon.com or call 907.459.2098. We look forward to seeing you on the green!

Doyon Foundation hosted its 2013 scholarship award ceremony on September 6 in Fairbanks. Students, staff and supporters gathered for the ceremony, which took place at the Doyon Industrial Facility cafeteria.Image

During the ceremony, the Foundation announced it is awarding $199,000 in scholarships to 233 students this fall. The scholarships include 157 $800 basic scholarships for full-time students, 45 $400 basic scholarships for part-time students, and 31 competitive scholarships ranging from $2,500 – $5,000.

Last year, the Foundation awarded 18 competitive scholarships totaling $68,000. This year, the Foundation nearly doubled the amount awarded to $110,500, and presented competitive scholarships to an additional 13 recipients, who will receive half of the award for the fall semester and the remainder next spring.

“We’re so pleased to be able to award these scholarships, and are so thankful to our donors for their support to make these scholarships possible,” said Doris Miller, Foundation executive director.

The event featured a welcome and introductions by Miller and Foundation Board President Lanien Livingston, who gave special acknowledgement to the Foundation’s generous individual and corporate donors. The Foundation also recognized the competitive and basic scholarship recipients, and recipients in attendance had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the audience.

Among the recipients was student speaker Sharon Hildebrand, who is originally from Nulato and was raised by her grandmother the late Ellen Peters. Hildebrand shared about her experience as a single mother and moving to Fairbanks, where she enrolled for her first year of college, but dropped out and started working full-time to support her son.

Several years later, while working for Gana-A’Yoo, Hildebrand mentioned her dreams of becoming a lawyer to her husband. With his encouragement, she began working toward her goals, starting with a college degree, as she believes that education is the key. During this time, Hildebrand realized that she was encouraging her children to seek an education and found she can be a role model for her children while pursuing her own goals.

Hildebrand also stressed the importance of knowing your culture and where your people came from. “The further you go back, the further forward you will go,” she said.

Hildebrand, who is a 2013 Morris Thompson Memorial Scholarship recipient and a senior at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Alaska Native studies with a concentration in Alaska Native law, government and politics. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Hildebrand and family plan to move out of state next fall as she pursues a law degree.

Hildebrand thanked Doyon, Limited and Doyon Foundation, as well as the many mentors who have helped her along the way. “We each possess a unique talent; you must be willing to tap into it. There are so many willing to help as long as you are willing to step forward,” she said.Image

Doyon Foundation awards scholarships to Doyon, Limited shareholders and their children who are accepted to an accredited college, university, technical or vocational school, and who meet GPA and credit load requirements. Applications are accepted three times per year: March 15 for the summer semester, April 15 for the fall semester, and November 15 for the spring semester.

For more information on Doyon Foundation and the scholarship program, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.