Doyon Foundation student Cecelia Grant, who is from Koyukuk, is currently spending a year in Yakima, Wash., where she is studying to
become a physician assistant through the MEDEX Physician Assistant Training Program at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
After completing the program in May 2011, Grant plans to return home to work in a rural hub health clinic. She will likely have no
problem finding work, as physician assistants have been identified as a high-demand job in Alaska. According to the Alaska Physician
Supply Task Force, Alaska will need to increase the number of physician assistants in the state by 240 during the next 20 years.
Grant first became interested in this career field through her work as a community health aide.
“I loved working with patients,” she said. “I realized that I was very limited with my skills and knowledge, and decided to further my education.”
For Grant, the most difficult part of that decision has been leaving her family, including her husband and daughters, to attend school in
“I try to talk to my girls a couple times a day and, thanks to the Internet, my sister e-mails me pictures of them. I remind myself
that this year will go by very quickly, and I use my busy schedule to keep me from getting too lonesome,” she said. “I have also
learned to rely on my fellow classmates. Many of us have left our families behind for the didactic year, and we learned to support each other.”
Grant also appreciates the support she has received from Doyon Foundation.
“I feel more secure knowing there is an organization such as Doyon that is dedicated to assisting students financially. It’s very costly
attending any type of school, and the stress of worrying how you’re going to pay for it and continue supporting your family can be
overwhelming. This year, Doyon has done a lot to relieve some of that stress,” Grant said.
In addition to Doyon Foundation, Grant said she was “astounded” by the support she received from the community of Koyukuk, other
Native organizations and from her family.
“Through determination, I applied for and was awarded a lot of scholarships. It’s possible for students to achieve this, and there are
a lot of people out there willing to assist you,” she said.
“My family has selflessly sacrificed their time away from me, and my mom, sisters and oldest daughter do everything to help my
husband with my young daughters,” added Grant, who is the daughter of Benedict and Eliza Jones, and the granddaughter of the late
Josie and Little Peter.