Pursuing/Earned Degree: Sport Management with minors in Esport Management and Philosophy
University/College: Endicott College

 

Hello, my name is Kainu’u Gavin. I am currently studying at Endicott College, pursuing a degree in Sport Management with minors in Esport Management and Philosophy. I recently had the opportunity to study abroad in the great country of Ireland this past spring semester.

During my five months abroad, I stayed in Cork City in County Cork, Ireland. My location within the city allowed me to enjoy the many wonders Cork City had to offer. Whether it be from attending local sporting events, excellent restaurants, and art galleries, it helped me better understand the culture and atmosphere of living in Ireland. It allowed me to interact with some new friends from the university I was attending, Munster Technological University (MTU), and develop long-lasting friendships.

Public transportation was a significant element because it helped me get to MTU and visit some other Irish cities, such as Dublin, Limerick, and other European communities. I chose to travel to England during my spring break and had a memorable time I will never forget. I hope to be able to study abroad again in the future, possibly conducting my semester internship with The Cork County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (Cork GAA) or The Cork City Football Club (Cork City FC).

To anyone interested in or on the edge of wanting to study abroad, now is your chance to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Studying abroad has had a long-lasting impact on my understanding of the world and myself. You will also be able to learn about new cultures and make some lifelong friends down the road. Hopefully, you take this into consideration. Please let me know if you have any questions, as I would be happy to answer them.

Until next time,

Kainu’u Gavin

Scott Larionoff
Pursuing/Earned Degree: Master’s in Rural Development
University/College: University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Scott Larionoff is in the second year of his Angayuk internship and is attending graduate school at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, where he is pursuing a Master’s in Rural Development. His family history is deeply rooted in Old Harbor. Scott has lived in Old Harbor and Kodiak for most of his life and describes that his connection to Kodiak impacted his choice of major. “I chose this field of study to pursue my desire to aid my hometown and surrounding villages. Rural Development is tailored towards developing rural Alaska and allows for the development of projects directly geared towards your community. The Rural Development program has a unique approach to studying with an Indigenous influenced paradigm, shying away from typical Western standards.”

While attending school, Scott is involved with Alaska Native organizations on the UAA campus, such as Native Student Services and the Cama-I room. He is a resident advisor for the Rural Alaska First-Year Transitions (RAFT) and a Teacher Assistant (TA) for the Alaska Native Studies department at UAF. Snowboarding during the winter and participating in intramural sports such as basketball and volleyball keep him very busy.

Scott credits Koniag Education Foundation for providing a foundation for his academic career. “KEF has supported me throughout my post-secondary career and provided more opportunities than I imagined. Through these experiences, I have become aware of KEF’s intentions to benefit and invest in students. His long-term plans include completing his final year of his master’s program and then working for Koniag, Inc. while beginning his Ph.D.

“Believe in yourself, as your presence as an Alaskan Native is monumental, and to understand that our ancestors would be proud” is Scott’s advice to fellow students. “Our ancestors and elders endured some of the worst treatment, yet we are still here. You are the ancestors and elders to the next generations and passing on the strength and courage expressed by our people is one of the most beneficial aspects of being an Alaskan Native. We will continue to pass on our Native identity and express our strengths and capabilities through anything thrown at us.”
Keane VanTrease
Pursuing/Earned Degree: Bachelor's Degree in Management and Economics
University/College: Trinity University

For Keane VanTrease, college was a tough adjustment following the rigid structure of high school. It was challenging for someone who wasn’t familiar with having to block out time for work or learn on their own. Keane quickly realized that managing his time was influential during his first year of college. He made the dean’s list his last semester of sophomore year by holding himself accountable to a schedule and focusing on his grades.

Double majoring in Economics and Management, Keane has set his sights high and plans to obtain his graduate degree in business, law, or both.

“I love economics. I’ve had several classes so far that have made me choose that as my primary major. Regardless, I still wanted to major in business school, so I chose a management major to balance my studies and potential options after graduation. I think applying economic concepts graphically and determining how one variable affects others is interesting and personally my favorite part of my field of study,” says Keane.

Keane has loved the opportunity to take on leadership roles and meet new people through his fraternity. He serves on their executive board, helping to make decisions and planning events. His leadership skills don’t stop there. As one of this year’s Angayuk Interns and Scholarship recipients, he provides other students with guidance from his experiences, “if you can be on top of your schedule and work from the start and manage your time well, you’ll be ahead of the curve.”

The Angayuk Interns are currently in Kodiak, fulfilling the remainder of their internship with Koniag. Following their trip, Keane plans to visit Washington State with his family and then travel through Italy.

Keelin Rice
Pursuing/Earned Degree: Bachelor's Degree in Politics, Policy, Law, and Ethics
University/College: Willamette University

A rising junior at Willamette University, Keelin Rice is studying for her bachelor’s degree in Politics, Policy, Law, and Ethics with a minor in Environmental Science. Keelin’s passion for Indigenous rights and the recent Indigenous Land Back movement have inspired her to seek a career practicing environmental law after she graduates.

“With every election, the land that the nation once fought so hard to protect continues to be auctioned off to the highest paying lumber or oil company. Since I am interested in law, I have a natural calling to do something about it”, says Keelin.

As one of this year’s awarded Koniag Angayuk Intern and Scholarship recipients, Keelin has shared her excitement about traveling to Anchorage and Kodiak to start her internship in May. She plans to learn as much as possible and spend time with her Kodiak family, which has been on the island for many years. Keelin shared that her great-grandfather, August Heitman established a fox farm on Long Island following the Katmai Eruption. As a tribal citizen of the Sun’aq Tribe, she continues to strengthen her immediate family’s relationship with the island.

Keelin’s advice for fellow students?

“Do your best, even if it doesn’t result in a perfect score. As long as you do your best, you have every right to be proud in your work and of yourself.”

KEF is inspired by Keelin’s passion for advocacy and can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next.
Patricia Wolkoff
Pursuing/Earned Degree: Bachelors Degree in Business Administration
University/College: Bay Mills Community College

My name is Patricia Wolkoff and I am from Anchorage Alaska. Growing up on Kodiak Island, gave me the desire to travel and see as much of the world that I can soak in. My love for travel and yoga have led me to India, and recently Ecuador where I learned traditional healing from local Shamans. Learning new cultures and meeting new people have given me a bigger perspective on life and myself, which, led to the desire to complete my degree after a decade long hiatus.

My philosophy on life and goals have changed tremendously since the first time I attempted college.   Working towards my Bachelors degree has given me purpose and a future that will not only have personal benefits but, will also allow me to give back to my native community. I hope to share my love of yoga and dance by opening my own studio and provide virtual learning classes to reach people worldwide once I complete my degree in Business Administration.

This is my second year or third semester at Bay Mills Community College. I started at Bay Mills because my mother had begun courses a year earlier while working for a rural head start program that required further education.  Observing her ambition and  accomplishments inspired motivation and confidence for me to pursue completing my education goals.  Currently I work part-time with our family-owned green cleaning business and pre-covid I worked as a yoga instructor.

Benjamin Nelson
Pursuing/Earned Degree: Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry
University/College: University of North Dakota

“Where are you from?”

For many people, this question bears little significance, or at least no complication. For me, this question poses an important quandary. I grew up a military brat. I was born in Hawaii, lived in Japan, and moved to Germany for most of my formative years, all while visiting stateside family in Minnesota and Washington every summer. The plurality of my childhood made establishing my personal identity difficult. Initially, I was jealous of my cousins in Minnesota and Washington. Each of them would spend their entire childhood in one place, within driving distance of our grandparents and within the same circle of friends. At the same time, I endured countless goodbyes, leaving close friends behind every two to three years and learning to swallow my emotions every time we left our aging grandparents for the upcoming school year. Growing up, I did not recognize the opportunities my childhood afforded me. I remember my father forcing my brother and me to play for the local, German ice hockey team despite our complaints and my mother pushing our family to continue exploring yet another European city despite our lagging enthusiasm.

As I got older I began to embrace the unique experiences of my childhood and the qualities they imparted in me. I grew adventurous in my overseas environment, but, most importantly, the role models of my military community imparted in me a burning passion for service. In college, I followed my burgeoning curiosity and desire for service, enrolling in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). I similarly explored the unknown as a volunteer EMT, hoping to gain proficiency in basic medical skills while providing support for my local, underserved rural community. These two experiences, initially exploratory ventures, became the foundation for my later undergraduate pursuits and developing professional goals.

I discovered myself in the proud, independent people of rural North Dakota and in my brothers and sisters in arms. I pursued my interest of the sciences in my university classes, but I nurtured my burgeoning passion for medicine and public health as I worked within the community. One particularly relevant ambulance call remains deeply engrained in my memory. During my first year in Grafton we transferred a farmer who was a World War II veteran. During the ride to the hospital the topic of my ROTC membership arose, and prior to dropping him off at the emergency department he thanked me not only for my medical aid, but also for my military commitment. This man had experienced ordeals I could not even imagine, and yet he still thanked me. He epitomizes two characters closest to my heart—the soldier, sacrificing without expectations of gratitude, and the rural worker, living with limited access to amenities many of us take for granted.

Thinking about the image of this man in the middle of a health crisis and future patients like him I will encounter motivates me to improve my ability to make a significant, positive impact upon their lives. I seized the opportunity to embark on a cultural and occupational exchange program (CULP) with the German military to gain experience working within the kind of multinational, allied workforce I will inevitably encounter as a future military physician. I conducted research at a federal institution and at the University of North Dakota so I could develop my ability to think critically and innovatively as a physician. I confronted my fear of heights to become military parachutist-qualified so that I will be prepared to quickly deploy with any of my future soldiers should the need arise. My current and past experiences with the military offer me valuable lessons in service. As a child, I grew up in awe of the tenacity and generosity of our community’s soldiers, and as I embarked upon my own path towards military service I grew cognizant of the unique combination of domestic and international service opportunities a military career could support.

I take after my mother’s side of my family (coincidentally the side from where I claim my Alutiiq ancestry) in that I enjoy staying busy. Every day is demanding, but I am deeply engaged in a field that I love. The successes I’ve experienced throughout my childhood and in college can all be attributed to the mentorship I’ve received from my family and individuals within my communities. And although I experienced geographic separation from the Alutiiq community during my childhood in Germany and throughout my university education in North Dakota, the support I’ve received from its members continues to inspire me to pursue opportunities to not only improve myself, but to improve others now as a mentor and tutor, and hopefully in the future as a community-conscious physician.

Joshua Hanson
Pursuing/Earned Degree: Bachelor’s degree and double major in Economics and Statistics
University/College: University of Toronto

Joshua has earned his Bachelor’s degree and double majored in Economics and Statistics at the University of Toronto. Joshua now works at Koniag Inc.

Kelly McCracken
Pursuing/Earned Degree: Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training with a Pre-Physical Therapy Specialization and a minor in Psychology
University/College: Washington State University

Kelly is a junior at Washington State University and is working to earn her undergraduate degree in athletic training with a pre-physical therapy specialization and a minor in psychology. After completing her undergraduate degree Kelly plans on attending physical therapy school to earn her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, and has a goal to specialize in sports physical therapy.

Josh Schwartzenburg
Pursuing/Earned Degree: Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences
University/College: Louisiana State University

Josh is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences at Louisiana State University. Once Josh graduates with honors, he plans to further his education by attending medical school. He is the treasurer of LSU’s Native American Student Organization (NASO) and an active member of Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) Premedical Honors Society.