noahNoah Lovell, born in Fairbanks, Alaska, is the son of Sallie and Patrick Lovell, and the grandson of Lillian J. Evans and Joseph W. Burns. He is currently enrolled as a freshman at the University of Alaska Fairbanks pursuing a degree in business administration with a minor in Japanese.

Since the age of 15, Noah has worked as a Native tour guide on the Riverboat Discovery, where he shares how Alaska Natives have lived for generations. Noah, who is Japanese and Alaska Native, says he has always had an interest in cultures, particularly his own. He has been able to experience both cultures, growing up in Alaska and traveling to Japan on a summer exchange in high school.

Noah also enjoys stories from his father about his youth and his grandmother about their indigenous heritage. “I love going to different cultural events, listening to elders sing and dance, as well as being active in the festivities myself,” he says. “Surrounding yourself in a community of strong people is the best thing for anyone, and I’m happy our Alaska Native community is as strong as it is.”

As a Doyon Foundation fall 2016 Competitive Committee Choice scholarship recipient, Noah says, “The Foundation has helped me financially to further my education and has been instrumental with connecting me with others in the community. It’s shown me that there are groups and organizations that can help Native students achieve their goals.”

Choosing a major has been one of the biggest challenges Noah has faced in college so far. “College catapults you into the workforce and picking the right major that suits you and your interests is very important,” he says, adding that he overcame this challenge by reviewing his options and personal strengths before picking a field that was right for him. “I chose business because it’s a strong field and allows people to understand the business side of the world around us as well as enabling me to possibly start my own business.”

Speaking to his fellow students, Noah says, “Realize that success is for everyone, and never forget where you came from. Wherever you go in life, always take with you a strong work ethic, dedication towards your goals, and a willingness to learn new things.”

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Doyon Foundation student Nicole Smith, daughter of Nancy and John Smith, and granddaughter of Elsie Smith, and Anita and Michael Bolton, aspires to become a marketing manager in a large corporation or to start her own business. From Dexter, New York, Nicole will begin at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego in the fall and study marketing.Nicole Smith

Along with looking for internships, “my plan is to cheer at Oswego State. I have cheered since I was 9 years old. I have always loved the sport and cannot wait to continue my career in college,” says Nicole, who was also on a lacrosse team throughout high school.

Nicole says her biggest challenge to overcome has been transitioning into college life, especially “leaving the only home I have ever known. Leaving my family will certainly not be easy, but I know we can do it.”

Fostering a close relationship with her father, a firefighter, Nicole volunteered at the fire department in her community as a junior firefighter. She had the opportunity to go on calls, help get equipment and learn more by attending a weekly training class.

“My father, also enrolled in the Nenana tribe, is a firefighter and that always inspired me to help people like he does and to be just like him,” Nicole says.

Eager to start her college career, Nicole says, “Doyon Foundation has been so helpful as they have been there by giving me the opportunity to apply for scholarships to help me as I advance to higher education; they are great supporters.”

To supplement her scholarship, Nicole also plans to enroll in a work-study program to help pay for her tuition.

Her advice to current and future students is to “never give up. I just graduated high school and this is my time to shine. Show the world, your school, your family what you can do. If you choose to attend college, do your best and never give up.”

Nicole plans to join clubs at college, and encourages others to “always push for the stars whether it’s school, work, clubs, sports or just simply meeting new people! Push as hard as you can with everything you do. Go for your dreams!”