Corporate & Foundation Relations

New York Life Insurance

Inspiring Young People to Succeed In College and Beyond

New York Life Insurance Pledges $450,000 to UA Bridging Programs

Shehan Stickwan learns about biology in a lab during the Alaska Summer Research Academy sessions.
Shehan Stickwan learns about biology in a lab during the Alaska Summer Research Academy sessions. Credit: UAA Photograph.

Shehan Stickwan, 15, is from the small rural Alaskan village of Craig, which has a population of 1,171. During the summer of 2009, Shehan came to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) to participate in the Alaska Summer Research Academy (ASRA) which provides middle and high school with an intensive, two-week residential learning experience in science, engineering or liberal arts. Shehan’s exposure to college through ASRA was so inspiring that she hopes to attend the Rural Alaska Honors Institute (RAHI) next year. RAHI is a bridging program that helps ease the academic and social transition between high school and college.

“This is exactly what we hope to see,” said Denise Wartes, director of RAHI. “We know that early exposure to college through ASRA, then attending RAHI will help students from rural towns build confidence, establish relationships and learn about academics and college life."

Shehan’s experience is just one of the many successes that the ASRA and RAHI programs saw during the summer 2009 sessions because of a generous commitment from New York Life Insurance Company. Their three-year, $450,000 gift was, in part, made possible because of the Alaska Educational Tax Credit.

New York Life Insurance logo
Credit: Image courtesy of New York Life.

According to Chris Park, president of the New York Life Foundation, “inspiring rural and Alaska Native young people, just like Frieda, to attend ASRA and RAHI and to support them throughout their college experience is exactly what we want to do. It is our hope that this early exposure will increase their chances of success in college and beyond.”

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