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Doyon Foundation Student Profile: Sarah Walker

Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient Sarah Walker is a first-generation, low-income college student – but neither of those facts have kept her from pursuing her goals.

“I try not to look at things as challenges, just things that I have to work on or get done,” she shared.

Sarah is in her second year at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), where she is double majoring in Alaska Native studies and rural development with a Yup’ik minor.

It’s a place she’s worked very hard to get to. After she got her acceptance letters and chose UAF, Sarah spent the entire summer mowing lawns, gardening and tree trimming, washing cars and picking up trash to make money. In the fall, a friend lent her money to pay for unexpected school fees and Sarah got a job, working at night after long days at school to pay the friend back and to help out with her family’s expenses.

Sarah worked as an intern in Doyon, Limited’s communications department in summer 2011 and is currently working for the Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development as the student coordinator for the Festival of Native Arts. She was recently recognized with the fall 2011 UAF Exceptional Student Employee Award.

In addition to her personal hard work, several organizations, including Doyon Foundation, have helped Sarah financially.

“The support I receive from Doyon Foundation is great! If it wasn’t for the Foundation, I don’t believe I would have been able to attend college. I greatly appreciate the financial support and the student dinners that are put on, too,” she said.

On top of a very busy school and work schedule, Sarah manages to find time to serve as president of two student organizations, Native Alaskan Business Leaders and Festival of Native Arts, as well as participate in numerous cultural and academic student groups.

Learning about and celebrating her Alaska Native culture is very important to Sarah, who is Yup’ik and Inupiaq. It’s one of the reasons she chose to move from her home state of Washington to attend UAF.

“I returned because I love Alaska and how rich all the Native cultures are up here,” she said.

After graduating, which she expects to do in summer 2014, Sarah hopes to attend graduate school and law school, where her main concentration will be on the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

“Never stop learning and never let anything get you down; we’ll all reach our goals someday,” advises this hard-working, inspirational student, who is the daughter of Terry and Doretha Walker, granddaughter of Franklin and Lena (Crane) Amouak, and great-granddaughter of Oliver and Olga (Waska-Mike) Amouak.