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Rita Pierce
Non-traditional students can learn a lot from Doyon Foundation student Rita Pierce. Pierce, a mother of four teenagers, is currently pursuing two associate’s degrees from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Tanana Valley Campus.

After graduating with associate’s degrees in instrumentation technology and process technology in May 2008, Pierce plans to embark on her second career, working for a Native-owned refining and fuel marketing operation.

Making the commitment to return to school has not been easy for Pierce. Completing her schooling has required her to move from Nenana, which she calls home, back to Fairbanks, where she was born and raised. The rising cost of housing and heating fuel, coupled with raising a family and ensuring her children have adjusted to the move, are challenges Pierce has faced – and is overcoming.

Pierce said the $5,000 vocational competitive scholarship she received from the Doyon Foundation this year has definitely helped in her educational efforts.

“Doyon’s scholarship has allowed me to pay for parking, the costly student health fee, books and extra classes each semester to finish my degree on time,” said Pierce, who is the granddaughter of Salvin and Charlotte Adams from Beaver, Alaska. “Thanks for your belief in my efforts and your support.”