118_People Promotion_Cory_FB-IN

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. 

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. 

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. 

“For anyone lucky enough to have been mentored by them, Hugh and Mary Jane’s words were life changing” – Niisha Walsh

Niisha

A University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) May 2018 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in social work, Niisha Walsh is the daughter of Maureen Walsh of Tanana and Dewayne Sanford of Tok. Her step-mother is Lena Sanford of Beaver Creek, Yukon, Canada. Niisha’s maternal grandparents are the late John Walsh, Sr. and Esther Starr-Walsh. Her paternal grandparents are the late Walter and Laura Sanford of Tok.

“I’m extremely grateful to be the first recipient of a scholarship that honors two people whose passion for bettering the lives of others continues through those who were privileged to be mentored by them,” Niisha says.

Niisha has made a point of meeting people who’ve benefited from the efforts of Mary Jane and Hugh Fate throughout their 65-year marriage. Effects are plain to see: “For anyone lucky enough to have been mentored by them, Hugh and Mary Jane’s words were life changing,” Niisha says.

Born in Rampart and among the first Alaska Native women to attend UAF, Mary Jane drew on her Athabascan subsistence traditions to overcome hardship and become a lifelong leader at the state and federal levels on behalf of Alaska Native people and the status of women. In 2014, she was inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame in recognition of her role, along with others, to lobby Congress for passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. A Korean War veteran who came to Alaska in search of new opportunities, Hugh is a retired dentist whose many leadership achievements include serving as president of the University of Alaska Regents and as Alaska state representative from Fairbanks.IMG_2992-001

Established in 2017 by their daughter, Jennifer Fate, the Mary Jane and Hugh Fate, Jr. Leadership Fund is among Doyon Foundation scholarships for shareholders pursuing higher education in a variety of programs.

“This fund celebrates those who strive to make our community a better place, and our people a stronger and healthier people,” says Jennifer, a member of the Doyon, Limited, and the Doyon Foundation boards. Applications are encouraged from Doyon shareholders studying health care, mental health, business and other professions that advance Alaska Native business, cultural or community interests. The next application deadline is May 15, 2018.

Niisha, the first recipient of this scholarship, traces her passion for helping people in part to her grandmother, the late Laura Sanford, with whom Niisha spent much of her childhood.

“She’s remembered as a compassionate but no-nonsense woman, rich in her Athabascan culture,” Niisha says, adding that her grandmother often opened her home to children from outlying villages who needed a safe place to stay while attending school. “She was selfless, resilient and fearless.”

Witnessing her grandmother’s willingness to help others led Niisha to her own commitment to improving the health and safety of youth and families. Today she’s a foster care and adoption recruitment specialistin the Child Protection Program at Fairbanks-based Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC). Niisha’s goals include earning a master’s degree in social work through the advanced placement graduate program at the University of Alaska Anchorage and remaining with TCC, working in the best interest of Alaska Native children.

“I want to continue building community and tribal relationships to better serve youth,” Niisha says, echoing the passion for activism that the Mary Jane and Hugh Fate, Jr. Leadership Scholarship seeks to foster.

“This leadership scholarship celebrates the positive ‘can-do’ activism that has helped build our innovative system of for-profit and nonprofit Native organizations, all geared to improve the well-being of our people. It upholds the values of self-reliance, productivity and creative collaboration for the betterment of our community,” Jennifer says. “Niisha represents these positive values and will carry these qualities into her work and studies.”

A recipient of Doyon Foundation scholarships throughout her college education, Niisha says she’s come to consider the Foundation part of a team that motivates her to always do her best. “I can’t thank Doyon Foundation enough for its generosity,” she says.

Since graduating high school from Tok School in 2002, Niisha’s work has focused on improving the lives of young people, often through education. Volunteering over the years has included time as a basketball and tee-ball coach and working with the Johnson O’Malley Native Youth Basketball Tournament. Before joining TCC, she worked in the Tribal Home Visiting Program of Fairbanks Native Association. Today she serves as treasurer of the Alaska Native Social Workers Association.

“My short-term goal is to continue to raise awareness regarding the need for Alaska Native foster homes throughout the Doyon region,” Niisha says. For instance, in 2013, the state reported that Alaska Native children represented more than half of the roughly 2,000 children needing foster care statewide. However, less than a third of licensed foster homes in Fairbanks that year were Alaska Native foster homes.

Niisha’s long-term goals include developing a program offering youth in and out of the child welfare system a way to resolve obstacles to well-being while building on their strengths.

Niisha enjoys family dinners, watching football, baking and boat rides. She’s looking forward to time with family before embarking on her master’s degree, and she encourages other students to remember that educational success depends in part on surrounding yourself with people who push you to be your best.

“When you’re not feeling motivated to write that 10-page paper,” Niisha says, “find people who tell you, ‘Eye on the prize.’ Find people who want to see you win and hold onto them.”

Sierra Evans is the daughter of Glenn and Tami Evans of Manley Hot Springs and Nenana; her grandparents are Thomas and Gwen Evans of Rampart, and Wayne and Marion Taylor of Nenana. Her hometown is Palmer.

SierraSierra earned Doyon Foundation scholarships for four straight years before graduating in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Grand Canyon University (GCU) in Arizona. She’s employed today in Los Angeles as an analyst with the global financial company Willis Tower Watson, and credits the Foundation for scholarship help so that she could go to school in Arizona.

“It isn’t easy to stay motivated to make your dreams a reality when you’re far from home,” she says. “My family was extremely supportive. Doyon Foundation scholarships helped immensely.”

Returning home to Alaska helped too. To earn money to stay in school, Sierra worked three summers in a row at Kantishna Roadhouse, the Denali National Park backcountry lodge operated by Doyon Tourism, a subsidiary of Doyon, Limited.

Her goals include continuing her finance career and enrolling in a master’s program in psychology at GCU. She plans to eventually earn a doctorate and pursue a psychology career.

Sierra says that volunteer and community work are important stepping-stones to rewarding work after college graduation. A four-year member of her university’s business club, she served as president for two years when the GCU club was the largest of its kind in Arizona. Competitions in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., expanded her network, as did working for the chair of the business department at her university.

When she learned that Arizona has among the highest rates of high school dropouts, Sierra presented a talk on the importance of earning a high school diploma and planning for college. Volunteer work also helped distinguish her resume; Sierra earned several awards, including being named among the top 10 future business executives in a nationwide competition.

Job interviews found her ready to answer questions based on real-world experience as a student worker and business club president. “Getting involved in volunteer work and work for GCU was the best decision I made,” she says. “The more involved you are, the more opportunities you have.”

A Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient who graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2016, Raymond Kangas is the son of Irene and Gary Kangas of Fairbanks. His paternal grandparents are Nora and Al Kangas of Ruby; his maternal grandparents are Martha and Franklin Dayton of Koyukuk.

Raymond KangasWhen Raymond Kangas looks back on his college years, he has a hard time counting up all the people who helped him get where he is today. A mechanical engineer since 2016 with Anchorage-based Doyon Anvil, Raymond received Doyon Foundation scholarships while earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Classes in fluid mechanics and arctic engineering were key – along with a work ethic instilled in him since childhood and fish camp days with his family on the Yukon River.

“My family gave me stability, with my parents being the anchors,” he says. Inspiring professors and study group friends helped. And he says, “Thanks to the Doyon Foundation scholarship program, (Doyon, Limited) annual dividends, and overall encouragement to see shareholders progress, the Doyon family certainly has played a role in seeing Athabascans succeed in competitive occupations.

Raymond, 24, is one of numerous classroom-to-career professionals who benefit from Doyon Foundation college scholarships before going on to employment with Doyon, Limited companies. It’s a trend that advances Doyon’s core values because in addition to knowledge, skills and talent, shareholders apply traditional values as they collaborate with clients worldwide.

“Creating a means for shareholders to potentially work for Doyon improves their economic well-being,” says Terry Caetano, president and general manager of Doyon Anvil. “It’s also a key part of the mission on which the company was founded.”

With offices in California, Montana and Washington state, Doyon Anvil is a multi-discipline engineering and design firm offering process safety/risk management; project management; and construction coordination support services. Doyon Anvil projects include upstream oil production, including North Slope expertise; pipeline and terminal work throughout Alaska, the Rocky Mountain region and Pacific Northwest; and power generation in Alaska, Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

Terry says that in addition to seeking out smart, motivated people, what he values in new hires is a desire to solve complex problems and keep learning. “That’s what I saw in Raymond,” Terry says.

Doyon Anvil is Raymond’s first engineering job out of college, and among things he enjoys is the chance to work on a variety projects requiring different skills. For instance, a typical workday may involve a facility where new piping is needed; Raymond’s role includes working with piping designers to prepare a complete work package – from checking compliance with specifications and reviewing drawings to putting together a material requisition to purchase components. If needed, he also completes a stress analysis on the design.

Raymond advises college students seeking to join professional ranks at Doyon subsidiaries to stay focused in the early stages of their education.

“Being awarded scholarships and getting selected for a job position are some of the things that are out of your control,” he says. “What you can control is the effort you put into your education. The first step in any career is being qualified.”

Are you a former Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient working today in the Doyon, Limited Family of Companies? We’d like to feature your story! Please send email to foundation@doyon.com and we’ll be in touch. Thanks!