Phone: 907.793.3575 or Toll-free: 800.764.3382 |tcf@thecirifoundation.org

TCF Recipient

TCF Recipient- Hannah Lowery

Thank you TCF! Story and Photo from Hannah Lowery I am going into my senior year of college in the nursing program at Arizona State University. Currently, my plan is to become a postpartum nurse or further my education with graduate school. These scholarships made it possible for me to further my education and begin a career in a field I love. I’m very thankful that The CIRI Foundation has helped me and so many others get a higher education.
By |September 17th, 2021|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Recipient- Hannah Lowery

TCF Recipient- Jacob Schmidt

The Gift of Continuing Education Story and Photo from Jacob Schmidt Dear The CIRI Foundation, I wanted to take a moment and try to put into words what the support I have received over the years has meant to me. Financial support from The CIRI foundation has allowed me to pursue educational goals beyond my undergraduate degree. It has allowed me to focus on school, and ease the stress that comes with paying for it.This year, as a recipient of the John N. Colberg Endowment Scholarship Fund, I will be able to complete my third year of law school at Gonzaga University, a feat I would not have thought possible just a few years ago. My educational goals have been one stop on a long road, a road that ultimately I know will lead back to Alaska, and back to my family. I plan to be able to give back as generously to the people who gave so much to me.Without your support, I could not have gotten where I am today, thank you so much for your generosity and for bolstering my educational success! Chin’an, Jacob Schmidt
By |September 16th, 2021|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Recipient- Jacob Schmidt

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Marissa Shaver

Appreciation from a Scholarship Recipient Story and Photo from Marissa Shaver Hello! My name is Marissa Shaver from Fostoria, Ohio. I have been one of the scholarship recipients for the past four years and now for this upcoming school year. I attended Trine University in Angola, Indiana and studied biomedical engineering. I recently graduated this past May and received my bachelor’s degree. I will be continuing my education at Eastern Michigan University to pursue a Master’s degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics. After graduation from Eastern Michigan I hope to gain more experience in the field and eventually open my own practice to fit individuals with prosthetics and/or orthotics.Throughout the course of my senior year at Trine I was able to work on a senior design project, The Helping Hands Project, with three other seniors. Our goal was to design and manufacture functional, 3D printed prosthetic hands. This project presented an amazing opportunity to work with the two girls and their families. As a group we were able to improve the quality of life for those two girls.This summer I am working in the lab at Roppe, a rubber flooring factory. I have worked in the lab the past five summers as a quality control technician. This summer I was fortunate enough to take a trip up to Alaska with my parents, sister, brother-in-law and my boyfriend. It was an amazing two weeks spent visiting family, fishing, hiking, riding bikes, riding 4 wheelers, exploring downtown Anchorage, and traveling around Alaska. I have always loved going up to Alaska because of the breathtaking views and different activities we can’t do here in Ohio.I am beyond appreciative for the support The CIRI Foundation has provided throughout my educational journey. I have had an amazing college experience thus far and I look forward to what the future holds.I have included a photo of myself with my older sister, Kassie, a previous scholarship recipient as well, from our vacation to Alaska this summer.
By |September 16th, 2021|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Marissa Shaver

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Brenda Blankenship

My Journey to a Law Degree Story and Photo from Brenda Blankenship My name is Brenda Marie Blankenship, and I’m one of those people who decided to go to school later in life. I am Athabaskan, and an enrolled member of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, as well as a direct lineal descendant of an original Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) Shareholder, Virginia Wolf. I grew up commercial fishing in Egegik, Alaska in the summers, and hanging out on my dad’s boat, the Perseverance, on Willapa Bay, Washington. After graduating high school in 1998 I took some welding classes and ended up working in sawmills for 15 years, eight of those years serving my union membership as a shop steward and later as the local president. I loved what I did, but wanted to do more. I was also a single mother for a long time, so I stayed in sawmills because ultimately it kept the bills paid.When I turned 34 I decided that I was ready to make a major change in my career. A group of lawyers in Seattle, Washington decided to give me a shot at my first office based position as their Legal Assistant/Office Manager, and thus my introduction, and what would become my love for the law, was born. That position led to my next job at the Grays Harbor County Prosecutor’s Office. After some time spent there I saw an opportunity to come home to Kenai, Alaska and work for the Kenaitze Indian Tribe as the Executive Assistant to Tribal Administration, and I took it.I realized shortly after beginning my job at the Tribe, that going back to school was essential if I wanted to advance at work, and more importantly, if I was to contribute my best to my people. I was nervous, but again, I decided to make the plunge and enroll at Alaska Pacific University in the Business Administration Program.I finished my Associate’s Degree in 15 months, and about a year out from finishing my Bachelor’s Degree if I stay the course (which I will). My plan is to enroll in law school as soon as I finish my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. I plan to specialize in Federal Indian Law.I am currently the Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) Manager for the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, and my main objective is to locate and help open up doors for as many Kenaitze Tribal Citizens and Alaska Native people as possible. The opportunities that have been given to me by those who took a chance and have believed in me has taught me that each one of us has the ability and the power to uplift and change lives of countless people. We just have to keep our eyes open and watch for the chance to do so.Learning more and more about my culture, and that of all Alaska Native people, has inspired me to reach as far as I can. If I am able to help flip that switch in others than I will succeed in making my ancestors proud. It is our way to support one another. I could not do any of this without the support of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, The CIRI Foundation, Alaska Pacific University, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and others who have so generously given to allow me the opportunity to obtain my education. It is my pledge to make it worth it.
By |September 16th, 2021|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Brenda Blankenship

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Steven Brown

The Honor of Representing CIRI in College Story and Photos from Steven Brown Over the past two years I have been blessed to receive the general academic year scholarship from The CIRI Foundation (TCF) and I cannot begin to express my thankfulness for having been selected for the Excellence Annual Scholarship this year.In no small part, the scholarship has granted me the opportunity to be an athletic scholar. In the realm of athletics, I have been privileged to participate on 2 National Championship teams for the clay target discipline. Beyond this, I have also been able to use the TCF grants to focus on my undergraduate studies. I am humbled to say that I have made the President’s list both years and thoroughly enjoy my degree program.My goal is to one day get into medical school and pursue a career in medicine from that point. I know that my capability of accomplishing this dream would not be nearly as possible without the continued support of The CIRI Foundation. I will close by simply expressing my sheer gratitude to the organization for allowing me the opportunity to turn a dream into a reality.
By |September 16th, 2021|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Steven Brown

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Lauren Sanford

My Journey to Becoming a Speech Pathologist Story and Photo from: Lauren Sanford​ My name is Lauren Sanford and I was born and raised in Washington State. My mom was born and raised in Fairbanks, and has taught me to love and appreciate my Alaska Native heritage through educating me about my great grandmother, a strong Iñupiaq woman who served Alaska during World War II and ran her own dog team. Hearing stories like her’s inspired me to pursue a career where I will be able to serve and make a difference in others’ lives as a speech pathologist. The CIRI Foundation has been a large contributor to my journey to becoming a speech pathologist. I attended Baylor University in Texas for four years of undergraduate studies in the speech pathology department, and it would not have been possible without the generous funding from TCF, all four years. Currently, I am pursuing my Master’s in speech language pathology at Washington State University and earned an Annual Achievement Scholarship from The CIRI Foundation. This generous scholarship covered a large portion of my graduate tuition, allowing for minimal debt post grad, and the ability to pursue a career I love with much less stress. In the future, I plan to use my degree to serve rural areas of the Alaska Native community, where speech pathologists are greatly needed. I am so thankful to be a part of an Alaska Native community that supports continuing education and provides scholarships that make a huge difference in many students’ lives like myself! Alumni ・ Recipient ・ Participant Do you have a story to share? We love hearing from you!Sharing stories is an important part of Alaska Native culture and we are excited to hear about your experiences. Click here to share your story!
By |August 27th, 2019|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Lauren Sanford

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Peter DuBois

“An Inuit in Arizona” Story and Photo from: Peter DuBois I am Yupik Inuit, and a CIRI descendant of James and Mabel Larsen, my grandparents, original CIRI shareholders and my mother, Katherine DuBois, also an original CIRI shareholder. I am a PhD candidate in […]
By |August 1st, 2019|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Peter DuBois

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Ayyu Qassataq

“Iḷisimmaaġiksuaq” Story and Photo from: Ayyu Qassataq Through my work and studies, I aspire to embody one of our traditional Iñupiaq characteristics: Iḷisimmaaġiksuaq – one who seeks knowledge and wisdom to become an informed and active contributor to their community. I strongly believe […]
By |July 31st, 2019|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Ayyu Qassataq

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Trey Oursler

“Rocketing Bearkat” Story and Photo from: Trey Oursler I was extremely lucky to be chosen as a recipient through The CIRI Foundation to pursue my college education at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. I studied Communications with a minor in English Literature […]
By |January 4th, 2019|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Trey Oursler

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Janelle Feller

“My Education Journey” Story and Photo by: Janelle Feller (2017) Hello, my name is Janelle Feller and I am an Athabascan Alaska Native, as well as a member of the Native Village of Ruby. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, and plan […]
By |March 5th, 2018|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Janelle Feller