Office of the President

Teach for Alaska Scholarship

The $12,000 Teach for Alaska Presidential Scholarship is an academic award to individuals who plan to attend a University of Alaska campus and study to become a teacher. The scholarship is important because it is specifically aimed at students who are so essential to our future. It highlights Alaska’s need for UA-educated teachers and underscores our goal to graduate 90 percent of Alaska’s teachers from UA by 2025.

The scholarship competition is a component of the University of Alaska’s Drive Change campaign, a privately funded effort to drive change statewide by supporting postsecondary education and vocational training. Alaskans are encouraged to support the campaign by joining the Change Force at www.drivechangeak.org.

For more information on the scholarship, please refer to the program information booklet PDF.

Scholarship Winners Announcement Via Webinar

2017 Scholarship Announcement May 19, 2017

University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen awarded seven young Alaskans with the first-ever Teach for Alaska Presidential Scholarship during a video conference with them today. The competitive scholarship, part of the university’s Drive the Change public awareness initiative, was open to all Alaska high school students planning to pursue a degree in education. Scholarship recipients hail from Angoon to Nome.

“These very talented and dedicated young people are the kind of students we want at our university,” Johnsen said, “and each demonstrates a strong desire to seek a career as a teacher and to nurture the next generation of young minds. Providing support and an educational path for Alaska’s future teachers is just one of the ways the university can continue to drive change in our state. We are honored to be able to support the higher education of not only one, but seven aspiring teachers as they pursue their career goals.”

The group of seven learned this week that they had been chosen as a finalist from a pool of 21 scholarship applicants, although it wasn’t until they convened for a video conference from their hometowns with Johnsen that they learned each had been selected for the coveted four-year academic scholarship to study teaching at one of UA’s campuses.

“You will be the educators of the future and you will be the ones who help drive change for your generation in Alaska,” Johnsen said in awarding the scholarships.

The winners are:

  • Rebecca “Becky” Polum of Kodiak—Polum currently works as an instructional paraprofessional at Main Elementary in Kodiak.
  • Bobbi Storms of Galena—Originally from Unalakleet, Storms is now a high school senior at Sidney Huntington School in Galena who says her own teachers have inspired her to pursue a degree in education.
  • Megan Contreras of Nome—Contreras expresses that she wants to be a teacher in order to give back to her community and work to improve high teacher and administrative turnover rate in small communities.
  • Amanda Friendshuh of Kenny Lake—Friendshuh says her experience with the teachers at her small, rural school has led her to understand and appreciate what it takes to be an educator.
  • Pancho Valladolid of Kodiak—Valladolid is a Marine veteran who wants to study teaching to help students in his community of Kodiak.
  • Kara James of Angoon—As an instructional paraprofessional in Angoon, James assists high needs and at-risk elementary students and wants to build her career as a teacher.
  • Eleanor “Ele” Ruchti of Galena—Described by her teachers as a “young leader,” Ruchti plans on pursuing a degree in education to one day teach in Alaska.

Between February and April, the applicants completed video submissions explaining why they plan to pursue a degree in education and what they hope to accomplish as a teacher. In the coming weeks, the University of Alaska will share additional information about the winners and their video stories via its Instagram page, @DriveChangeAK.

The Teach for Alaska Presidential Scholarships are funded from the Land Grant Trust Endowment, which allocates annual funding for the UA president’s discretionary scholarships.

 

Comments From Teach For Alaska Scholarship Recipients
Rebecca Polum
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