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Larissa Sommer
Doyon Foundation student Larissa Sommer, originally from Galena, Alaska, is currently living in Flagstaff, Ariz., where she is pursuing a master’s degree in environmental science and policy at Northern Arizona University. After graduating in 2009, Sommer said she plans to return home to work.

In addition to her studies, Sommer also teaches two environmental science labs to undergraduate students as part of a teacher assistantship. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and exploring the area where she lives. When she’s at home in Alaska, she is also very involved in community activities, which she believes is a key to success.

“It helps to be a good, active citizen of your community,” she said. “Whether it be picking up trash once a year, learning how to live a subsistence lifestyle and doing your part in the sustainability of the earth, voting for a candidate in which you feel comfortable of his or her ability to lead, or simply helping a person in need.”

Sommer, who received a $7,000 scholarship from Doyon Foundation this academic year, said she believes the Foundation’s support has positively impacted many students over the years.

“The Foundation has contributed to many individuals throughout its existence, and those individuals’ growth and success can, in part, be attributed to the help of the Foundation,” said Sommer, who is the daughter of Christopher and Albertha Sommer of Galena, and the granddaughter of the late Henry and Maudry Sommer of Tanana, and Laura and the late Edward Pitka Sr. of Galena.