First and foremost, I've updated my layout here because I just realized it's been the same hokey post-"scene kid" nonsense for four whole years now. You would think that someone who has "grown professionally as well as personally" in the past year would have the sense to reflect that anywhere they hope to be taken seriously. Granted, blogging is a verbose, redundant, almost narcissistic extension of social media, but this is one place where I in particular come to be heard. Because goodness knows I'm not heard much anyplace else.
I can also go off on a tangent about how social media has expanded to more than just a "weak" substitute for phone calls, letters, or face-to-face visits as generations before my own have come to recognize it, but that's a post for another day. Another day! Time you would think I would make if I'm paying $10 a year for this ghost-town of a page.
This post in particular has been a long time coming because this past April I received another registration renewal notification email, which as it does every year, prompted me to start coming up with ideas for a new post. I can't remember if it was this year or last year that I decided I should post the answers to an interview I completed for Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) shareholder scholarship recipients. Either way, that interview was completed two years ago, so I would like to take this opportunity to publish this interview – and compare my answers then to how I would answer them now.
Where are you from, or where is your family from?
My family and I are originally from Dillingham, Alaska.
Did you live in your village?
We did all my life, but we’ve just recently relocated to Anchorage this past summer.
How do you remain connected to BBNC/ Bristol Bay/ your village while attending college/working?
I still maintain some social contact with family, friends and former coworkers still living in the Dillingham area.
How do you give back to your native community?
I am now working in Human Resources (withholding company's name for privacy purposes), helping to achieve our vision by serving on the team that welcomes and orients all new care providers and other new employees.
How has the ED Foundation scholarship helped your educational endeavors?
The Education Foundation scholarship has helped immensely in my educational endeavors by funding my college experience as well as inspiring me to continue living and working in Alaska.
What are you studying?Obviously, as I'm sure I've mentioned countless times by now, it has now been two years! As time goes on, more and more of my family and friends are making their way from home over to here and beyond – my brother graduated this past spring with his Masters degree in school administration and has applied to a handful of school districts in Alaska and a couple in the lower 48, but stayed in Alaska for the summer to serve as a staff director and student mentor with this year's Rural Alaska Honors Institute in Fairbanks. Otherwise, everyone still keeps in touch online.
I am not currently studying anything, but I am in the process of working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance.
How will your major benefit natives in your region/Alaska?With this degree I can continue on to bring music back into Alaska Native schools or universities through pursuing a career in education; or I can represent Alaska Natives in a professionally-performing orchestra or as a composer – either classically or in the film industry.
How did you find out about the BBNC scholarships?
My family and I have been BBNC shareholders for as long as I can remember, and my older brother attended and graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with help from BBNC’s Educational Foundation, and my family urged me to apply for the same scholarship funding when I graduated from high school.
What is one hardship that you have had to overcome while in school?
The biggest hardship I had to overcome in college was time management. In addition to planning downtime between classes to get assignments and other requirements taken care of, I also had to map out the rest of my academic career and continue to make adjustments as time went on.
Who is someone that has helped you to get to where you are today? Role model?I owe everything to my parents, and my dad is my biggest role model. His honesty, integrity, generosity and caring attitude as well as strong family values are everything I hope to emulate as I continue to mature as a person.
What is one piece of advice you would give to an incoming freshman who has received a scholarship?
Above all, be grateful and show your gratitude – to scholarship foundations as well as family and friends and anyone else that helped get you to where you are. This also means more than just saying “thank you” – put that support to good use and give back by doing your absolute best.
What’s the hardest thing you have had to experience while in school?The hardest thing I had to overcome was being away from my family – but it became a time for me to grow as a person and as my own responsibility, which I very much needed and came to enjoy.
Why do you think advancing our education is so important?
Education is an enriching experience, intellectually as well as socially. Go out and learn as much as you can and take advantage of as many educational opportunities as possible. There is a whole world out there to be seen, and bringing back new experiences can help us to adapt, evolve, and make changes to prepare for the future.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra is holding auditions by appointment within the next month, and I’m considering auditioning, even as just a standby for their Horn section. I haven’t played much since leaving Fairbanks a few years ago, so this will be a chance to pick up where I left off as a musician. Other than that, I have nothing else to share at this time, but thank you for this opportunity.
The department I work in is an ever-changing department, continually striving and working towards providing the best customer experience for hiring managers, current employees and new hires alike. We are faced with ongoing opportunities for professional growth and progression, and I hope to continue giving back in any capacity that I can, whether in my current position or elsewhere within my department.
After working in my field for two years and staying conscious of my work schedule, I’m considering pursuing certification in office support or Human Resources. My academic and professional experiences have taught me that I can do anything I not only set my mind to, but also make the time to do – one other piece of advice I would give to students and people in general everywhere is that planning and doing are, in fact, two separate things.
Now, endorsement in office support would validate the lines of work I’ve been in since my first job out of high school; obviously, Human Resources would give me that much more staying power in my current field – continuing to find and help the best people to provide for Alaska Native customer-owners. In addition to the above, my dad was the first of us to find work in Anchorage – he moved six months before we did, and my mom and the rest of my family and I worked to run a household (or two... or three) together until we could join him. My dad also inspired me to find work with the same company he did, and continuing support from my parents, the rest of my family, and my friends helps keep me grounded and focused.
September of 2013 was the last time I heard anything about open auditions for the Anchorage orchestra. A musical group to participate in would be great, but I don’t know where to begin looking. In the mean time, I broke down and bought a gym membership this past January, which I hope to use more (and the reason why I haven't been to the gym since this past February is something I'll have to save for my next post).
I've also recently had the opportunity to take a week-long Middle Eastern dance class under the instruction of Souzana as part of what I later learned was the 35th Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. (I have a knack for unknowingly signing up for milestone events.) Souzana taught the last class I took while I was in Fairbanks five years ago, both before I moved back home and before she left Alaska! The class culminated in a final performance as part of the Festival's World Music and Dance concert this past Sunday the 26th. I must have done well because I was invited to audition for the student group of Fairbanks' Middle Eastern dance troupe, Tundra Caravan! Unfortunately, that may have to wait until I return to Fairbanks full-time, if I do. In the mean time, I may look for classes or another group here in Anchorage. I could get into it and go on a tangent about Middle Eastern dance, too, but that's another-another post for another day.
The interviewer that sent me the above questions told me that I would be notified if my answers were ever published with them. I never heard anything back, so I'm guessing it's good I'm publishing them here.