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Doyon Foundation Student Profile: Kailey Jo Erickson

Kailey Jo Erickson
Kailey Jo Erickson has several titles to her name – the Doyon Foundation student was recently crowned Miss Nuchallawoyya, and was also named Miss Fairbanks Native Association in 2006. To Erickson, the whole purpose of those titles is to be a good representative for other youth.

“I think it is an honor to be able to stand for something and to represent the Native youth as a sober and strong individual,” said Erickson, who was raised in Tanana, Alaska, and is the daughter of Dale and Cynthia Erickson of Tanana, and the granddaughter of Harold and Florence Esmailka of Ruby, and Howard and Frona Erickson of Washington.

There’s no doubt Erickson is a good youth representative. She currently attends Brigham Young University in Idaho, where she is majoring in health education and minoring in physical education. After graduating in spring 2010, Erickson plans to teach secondary education and coach high school basketball. In the future, she is interested in pursuing a graduate degree in school administration.

Outside of school, Erickson has many other activities and interests. She volunteers with intramural sports teams, referees basketball games and participates in all kinds of outdoor sports. She serves on a committee that plans positive activities for youth, and is an active member of her church. She enjoys reading, keeping a journal, and working on family history projects. And, last summer, Erickson interned with Doyon, Limited’s land and resources department.

“That was a growing experience and an amazing opportunity to broaden my education,” she said.

While education is something Erickson enjoys and typically excels at, she’s faced some hard times along the way. Last winter, soon after returning to college, she found out a good friend had been killed in a car accident. Not long after, her uncle also passed away.

“It devastated me, especially being so far away from home,” Erickson said. The personal issues, combined with a bout of illness, took its toll on her grades. At midterms, Erickson was failing all of her classes, and had to choose between withdrawing for the semester or trying to bring her grades up.

“I decided to take that opportunity as a challenge and, with the help from tutors and long hours in the library, I brought my grades up to a 2.7 by the end of the semester. Normally, a 2.7 grade point average would disappoint me, but I was so excited that I passed all my classes. I felt more proud of my 2.7 then any 4.0 I received in high school.”

In addition to her own hard work, Erickson said Doyon Foundation has played a role in her academic success.

“Independence is so important to me, and the Doyon Foundation has helped me succeed as an individual person. It is hard to pay for school without getting into debt, and debt is a big problem in the world today. By receiving the Doyon scholarship, I am able to pay for school without going into debt. I am extremely grateful for their generosity,” she said.

When asked for her advice on being a successful student, Erickson said, “Remember the choices you make and the people you choose to be associated with will ultimately choose the person you will become. Evaluate your life and ask yourself ‘is this what I want?’ And if it isn’t, find that intrinsic motivation and change.”