TCF Scholarship Recipient- Denise Tuttle

Story by: Denise Tuttle (2017) “Going Back to School” Although I teach full-time and have periodically taken educational classes, a Master’s Degree seemed unreachable for me. I wondered if I could manage as a full-time teacher, a mom, a wife and a part-time graduate student at the same time, let alone re-enter graduate school 27 … Read more

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Vanessa Standard


Story and Photo by: Vanessa Standard  Dear TCF- Thank you so much for the generous vocational grant that you awarded me. I was able to graduate with my yoga teacher training certification. I am now working with others – teaching them the healing science of yoga. Many people’s lives are improving because of my education. … Read more

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Christian Kamkoff

Story and Photo by: Christian Kamkoff

The cultural support of American Indians and Alaskan Natives is incredibly important to the community. A critical component of this support comes through cultural preservation. Equally significant, however, is the continued growth of Native American culture. It is important to show the world that Indigenous culture is not simply a historical culture, but a vibrant, living culture as well. I have met individuals, both from the United States and abroad, that were surprised to learn that American Indians are not a bygone ethnicity. I believe that the low percentage of American Indians and Alaskan Natives who graduate college compounds with the fact that fine and performing arts are the smallest category of degrees received, resulting in an incredibly small number of Native Americans in the arts—especially in literature. The success of American Indians in any field, but particularly in the arts, reminds the world that we are still here, we are thriving, and we have a beautiful, creative culture that enriches humanity. It is my hope to contribute as an author to the voice of this culture. By giving me the tools to improve and become a successful writer, my education will help me make an impact as an artist of Native heritage.

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TCF Scholarship Recipient- Savannah Bickley

My mother tied the makeshift plastic bib around my tiny torso checking to make sure it wasn’t too tight. Guiding my pudgy hands, she gently dipped them into a small bowl of paint (non-toxic of course) and pressed it against the smooth paper. Little did she know of the monster she had just unleashed upon the world, for in that exact moment, when tiny hands touched canvas, art began to play a huge impact on my life.

I drew on anything I could scavenge from mom’s spreadsheets to homework. Thankfully for my parents’ sanity, as I grew older my preferences turned from paperwork to sketch pads. My skills started to become more expansive and fleshed out as I started to explore every nook of my favorite subject, from sculpting to digital artwork, my love seemed to know no bounds and it quickly became obvious that I was destined to be an artist.

Well, should I say obvious to everyone but myself.

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TCF Scholarship Recipient- Tammy Ashley, “My Academic Success”

My name is Tammy Tuttle Ashley, daughter to Terry and Delores Tuttle. I am an original CIRI shareholder born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. My Grandmother Alma (Foster) McCormick and Mother were born on Unga Island in the Shumagin Islands on the Aleutian Chain and my Grandfather Roy Ashenfelter was born in Council and lived … Read more

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Tierra Colberg, “A Summer Story”

Tierra Colberg, TCF's Summer 2016 Intern, hard at work supporting the education of Alaska Native people.
Tierra Colberg, TCF’s Summer 2016 Intern, hard at work supporting the education of Alaska Native people.

The end of my junior year at UAS was beginning to approach. Weather in Juneau, while as rainy as ever, was starting to reach toward summertime warmth. Sunshine glowed on the ocean, classes finished one by one, I closed the covers of my heavy elementary education textbooks with a satisfying thump and I began to think about summer employment.

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TCF Scholarship Recipient- Raina Thiele

I was born and raised in various parts of the great state of Alaska. My mom (Dena’ina Athabascan) is from Lake Iliamna and my dad (Yup’ik and German) is from Alexander Creek near Mt. Susitna. From a young age, I knew that I wanted to get an education that would enable me to pursue my passions. However, as a first generation college student, I had to feel my way through the college application and financing process as though I were fumbling through an obstacle course in the dark.

At that early stage of my life, I could never have imagined that 15 years later I’d have earned credentials from Yale and Harvard, and worked for President Obama at the White House.

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TCF Scholarship Recipient- Cynthia Baldwin

My name is Cynthia Baldwin the daughter of Nicholas and Patricia Baldwin. My great grandmother, Lucy Whitley, is the original CIRI Shareholder that I descend from on my mother’s side.

I guess you can say I grew up in the Education and Training field. My mother was an Employment and Training Advisor, after school I would sit in the common area of her office, waiting until it was time to go home. I would listen to her talk to prospective students, do assessments to find out where their interests lay, research schools to attend and help the apply for funding. In the evenings she took college classes over teleconference and would be listening to the class discussions while getting dinner on the table. I am the youngest of 5, through her own perseverance she graduated with her Bachelor degree the year before I graduated high school.

I received my Bachelor of Art in Art May 2005. In 2009 I began work as a Financial Aid Advisor at UAF, and took advantage of my tuition waiver, starting the MBA program in January 2010. I got a headache on the left side of my head, that I attributed to stress, but the headache did not go away, it was constant.

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TCF Scholarship Recipient- Vivian Pomeroy

Hi my name is Vivian Pomeroy, I am Inupiaq and Tsimshian from Anchorage, Alaska. I am one of the few Alaska Native students attending Haskell Indian Nations University. This May, I will be graduating with my Associates Degree in Liberal Arts. It has been a wonderful experience here, teaching about my culture. I have been involved … Read more