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Doyon Foundation Student Profile: Amy Gustafson

Doyon Foundation student Amy Gustafson
and her 3-year-old son, Noah.
Doyon Foundation student Amy Gustafson is certainly a long way from her hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska. Gustafson is currently attending Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in European studies. She expects to graduate next month and plans to do an internship before beginning a master’s program in European studies in October 2010.

“After I attain my master’s degree, I hope to go on to work with an embassy or government organization. As I speak four languages and am open to learning another, the location of my future employment is unimportant. I am open to the United States or Germany,” Gustafson said.

As a single mother away from her family and studying in a foreign country, Gustafson has faced her share of challenges while pursuing her education.

“I have had to overcome many stereotypes about single mothers in college – people thinking I would not complete my studies or that I don’t take university seriously,” Gustafson said.

With her upcoming graduation, several internship opportunities on the horizon, and plans to attain a master’s degree, Gustafson has proven those stereotypes wrong. She credits this success to hard work and determination.

“I think that being determined is two-thirds of the work; just keeping your goals clear helps you recognize all and any problems that arise,” she said.

In addition to her busy academic life, Gustafson is also a dedicated mother to her 3-year-old son, Noah; tutors other students in English; does English-German translations; and attends church. She also stays in touch with her family on the other side of the world.

“I love and miss my big family in America,” said Gustafson, who is the daughter of Jon A. Gustafson and Mary Long, the step-daughter of Vern Long, and the granddaughter of Gus Gustafson, and Cliff and Joyce Burglin.