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Belinda Burk Jaeger and Jamey Lee Stoddard
Belinda Burk Jaeger and her son Jamey Lee Stoddard graduated together this spring from Western Washington University – Huxley College of the Environment in Bellingham, Wash. But diplomas weren’t the only things they walked away with – the mother and son were also honored with the Dean’s Outstanding/Distinguished Student Award for 2007.

“They usually only give this award to one student, but (the college’s dean) told us that because we had both done extremely well in our respective programs, that we were mother and son, and, most importantly, that we were Native American, he decided to honor the both of us,” said Burk Jaeger, who was born in Fairbanks and raised in Nenana by her mother, the late Jenny Burk Moses, and step-father, Lawrence Moses.

Attending the same college was a fairly unique experience for Belinda and Jamey.

“It’s not everyday that parents get the opportunity to go to college with their children. As a matter of fact, during my final year, I attended school with both of my youngest sons! We were able to encourage each other when things got tough, as we all understood what the other was going through,” said Burk Jaeger, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies/environmental policy and planning.

“Although we never actually had a class together, it was still nice to see her on campus. It was also cool to be able to talk with her about school and different environmental issues,” added Stoddard, who earned a bachelor’s in environmental science and a minor in chemistry.

Both mother and son are grateful for the support they have received from the Doyon Foundation.

“I can never thank Doyon enough. The financial support I received allowed me to focus entirely on my school work. I also did not have to receive as many loans as I would have without the support of Doyon,” said Stoddard, who was born in Anchorage and grew up in Nenana and Friday Harbor, Wash.

“Doyon Foundation support has been vital to my success while in school. They have supported me through scholarships and ongoing moral support,” Burk Jaeger added.