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.