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Receptions Recognize UA Scholar Achievements

Students in the 2015 class of UA Scholars pose at a photo booth during the UAS reception in Juneau. See more fun photos on the UA Scholars Facebook page. Photo by Monique Musick

Award Recognizes the Top 10 Percent of High School Seniors

The 17th class of UA Scholars was recognized during a series of events hosted by the UA Scholars Program, President Patrick Gamble and the three main Universities. This class, graduating from high school in May 2015, will be the first to receive a total award of $12,000 under a recent policy change by the University’s Board of Regents.

The new Scholars heard from current UA Scholars, the chancellors from each campus and President Gamble about why they should consider attending UA. Current UA Scholars spoke of the opportunities they’ve received attending UA – and the money saved by that decision. The chancellors touted the research and educational opportunities available in the UA System, the benefits of smaller class sizes and the importance to Alaska of retaining top high school graduates. President Gamble spoke of the growing reputation of the University of Alaska, the importance of UA universities to Arctic research, the commitment necessary for success in higher education and the true desire to attract and retain Alaska’s top students into the university system. Each program was followed by a networking reception where Scholars had the chance to chat with representatives from each of the campuses and many top academic programs.

The Scholars Program was designed to inspire Alaska students to attend and graduate from college in their home state. In the 1990s University leaders recognized that too few high school graduates were continuing on to post-secondary education. They worked to design a program that would bring together students from every geographic region in Alaska to learn together, to share meaningful experiences and eventually to lead Alaska’s workforce together.

Since its inception in 1999, the Scholars program has helped to change the face of higher education in Alaska with over 6,800 Alaskan high school graduates benefiting from the scholarship. UA Scholars outpace the retention and graduation rates of all other UA students and students attending other public open admission institutions by nearly 20 percent.

Student Speakers at UA Scholar Receptions

Lindsey Dreese, '15 - UAF

Lindsey is a Biological Sciences major from Wasilla, AK. She is an Alaskan, born and raised. She grew up on a small farm in the Mat-Su valley with alpacas, horses, chickens, rabbits, dogs and a duck. Horses are her true passion. She spent the past summer living on the bank of the Susitna River radio tagging fish for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. She was completely inspired and can’t wait to do it again next summer. She is proud to be a UA Scholar.

She is actively involved in the UAF community as a student ambassador, a member of the Aurora Ariel Arts club on campus, and outdoor activities including rock climbing, hiking and horseback riding. She is an avid photographer and describes herself as an Aurora hunter.

Noah Betzen, '16 - UAF

Noah is a Computer Science major from Unalaska, AK who speaks Norwegian. As a UA Scholar, he keeps himself busy by doing things that give him experience, skills or good stories to tell. He is a UAF student ambassador, participates on an intramural broomball team and has been involved with an international NASA-sponsored robotics competition (Lunabotics) with UAF. Additionally, Noah has been a part of UAF’s Choir of the North and practices Aikido.

He has taught for the Alaska Summer Research Academy and is currently employed by Alasconnect, a local IT company. Noah attributes experiences he gained through UAF as the largest contributing factor to receiving the Alasconnect position. Noah has also worked for UAF’s Office of Information Technology and the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center.

He longs to live in Norway. He was inspired after spending his third year of college studying abroad in Norway so that he could learn Norwegian. He fell in love with the country, culture and language. He wants to return as soon as possible.

Trevor Luedke, '15 – UAS

Trevor is a UA Scholar from Port Alexander, a small town on the southern tip of Baranof Island. He first came to UAS in 2009. In 2011 Trevor earned an Associate of Applied Science in Construction Technology and in 2012 earned a certificate in Drafting Technology. He spent 2012-2013 as a Study Away through the National Student Exchange program at Utah Valley University, in Orem, Utah. Trevor is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Liberal Arts program with an emphasis in Communications and Art, and is planning on graduating this spring. Trevor supports the Arizona Cardinals, who are currently at the top of the NFC West.

Kivalina Grove, '15 – UAA

Kivalina Grove graduated from Polaris K-12 School as valedictorian of her class. She is a senior majoring in Psychology with minors in Math and Statistics. She is a UA Scholar and a member of the Honors College. She earned the Dean’s Award of Excellence and was the Master of Ceremonies for Freshman Convocation this year. Working with faculty mentors, her research into cognitive biases received an award at the Behavioral Science Conference of the North, was an invited presentation at the Midwives Association of Alaska Conference, and was featured on both the UAA “Amazing Stories” campaign and in the Anchorage Dispatch News. In her spare time, Kivalina has designed logos for several local businesses and has illustrated a psychology book due for publication this spring. After graduation, Kivalina plans to pursue a graduate degree in social psychology.  

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