What drew you to the Caleb Scholars Program? Do you have a personal story about meeting Caleb, a connection to his legacy, or family connection?
The Caleb Scholars Program is a program that piqued my interest at first sight. My father knew Caleb personally and upon hearing about the scholarship, eagerly sent me the application. Right away I knew that this is a program that would benefit me greatly and decided to apply, despite being a journalism major. I am honored and humbled to be a part of this program and the many, many, many opportunities it has to offer.
What does marine conservation mean to you? How do you engage with marine conservation at school and/or at home?
The preservation of marine conservation is vital for the continuity of the Indigenous People of Northwest Alaska, as the ocean has provided a dependable source of nourishment for the Inupiat, Yupik, and Siberian Yupik peoples. I myself grew up in Unalakleet, Alaska, and am Inupiaq, Yupik, and white. My entire life we have relied on the ocean to provide us with nourishment year-round; whether it be in the form of seals, ugruk, salmon, crab, or beluga. For much of my adolescent life into adulthood, I have witnessed a steady decline in sea ice and listened to reports of our waters warming. If our ocean and rivers continue to warm, many of those in our coastal villages could face hunger and may be forced to move from their homelands because it is highly unsustainable to eat solely from the store. This a major cause of concern.
What are your future educational and career goals? What are the top three things that are moving you toward those goals?
I would love to be working and learning in the field of journalism and communications when I am done with my degree. Since a young age, I have loved expressing myself through writing. I hope to actively fight for the representation of Alaska Native people and the issues they face and make sure they get the amount of coverage that we deserve. My involvement with the NASU, or Native American Student Union, and my place in the honors program for Journalism students are two things in my University that are propelling me toward such goals. Last, I feel that the Caleb Scholars Program is an invaluable resource that will provide support in my degree program, mentorships, and internships that will help boost me to reach my dreams of becoming an influential, Inuit journalist.
Can you share a memorable story from your past when you felt a relationship to the ocean or waterways?
Since a young age, I have had a deep appreciation for our waters. I was blessed to be raised fishing, hunting, and gathering the sustenance our oceans and rivers provide. One of my favorite memories as a child — and an annual trip my family makes to this day — is boating down the coast to Blackpoint to gather herring eggs which spawn on kelp. The way the herring return every year to spawn at the same place has always been awe-inspiring. Their return to my home waters brings us delicious food for eating and trading and memories that I will never forget. Living away from the ocean and in the lower 48 is a struggle at times, but knowing I will return, just like our marine life, brings me comfort.