Sealaska Announces $1.1 million in 2023-2024 Scholarship Awards
Tuesday, May 23, 2023

2023 Angoon High School graduate and Sealaska scholarship recipient Cheyenne Kookesh, pictured here with her dad. 

Sealaska is invested in education.

We are proud to announce that over $1.1 million in scholarships will be awarded to 462 recipients for the 2023-2024 academic year. Scholarships will support shareholders and descendants pursuing degrees on either a full- or part-time basis, as well as those enrolled in vocational-technical programs.  

“By supporting students on their educational path and beyond, we are investing in future leaders, an investment with perhaps the greatest return of all,” said Sealaska President and CEO Anthony Mallott. “Every scholarship represents an inspired learner. We are proud to support them, and proud of all their current and future accomplishments.”    

To advance our commitment to increasing opportunities for Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people, Sealaska awarded scholarships to an increasing number of “non-traditional” students, such as those pursuing advanced degrees, seeking hands-on training and exploring mid-career professional development. Each student is on a different path, with diverse personal, academic and professional goals.  

Sealaska partners with Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) to award hundreds of merit-based scholarships to our community’s future leaders every year.  Funding comes from the investment performance of Sealaska’s scholarship endowment fund, established in 1989 through a $2.5 million commitment.  In 2018 and 2020, the Board approved additional commitments of $10 million and $2.5 million, respectively. In 2022, the Board approved an additional $8.4 million.  

“The increased funding is fortuitous as we are witnessing a trend in an increasing number of scholarship applicants,” said SHI President Rosita Worl. “The increased funding is also meeting a need to fund part-time students.”      

A 2022 study from the National Native Scholarships Providers (NNSPs) found Native students are disproportionately impacted by financial barriers and stressors including part-time work, caretaking responsibilities and food insecurity. Findings suggest that financing is one of the primary barriers for Indigenous students in pursuit of higher education, and scholarships are vital to success.  

At Sealaska, we believe school is a place where our people should feel free to learn, grow and excel — and that our role is to not only help students succeed, but thrive. We aim to support emerging leaders in their academic and professional goals, as well as their hopes, dreams, identity, wellbeing and way of life. 

We are honored to witness scholarship recipients reach their full potential and shape the future. Check out the stories below to get to know some of Sealaska’s past scholarship recipients: 

  • In 2022, former Sealaska employee Heather Davis became the first person in her family to graduate from college, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Concentration in International Business from Fort Lewis College. 
  • Nirvana Ramos has earned three degrees with support from Sealaska scholarships, which she describes as a “confidence boost.” She earned an associate degree in 2020, a Bachelor’s degree in 2021 and, this past winter, a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership with a strategic and organizational communication concentration. 
    Nirvana Ramos
     
  • Karen Lauth Elliott and her youngest son both received diplomas on the same day in 2021. She earned her master’s in education policy from the University of Washington (UW). As a lifelong learner, this pursuit empowered Elliott to inspire other Native students in their own education dreams.  

Looking for more education and professional development opportunities? The following programs may interest you: 

  • Sealaska is partnering with University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) eCampus to encourage members of the Sealaska community to up-skill, begin or complete their college degrees – from wherever they are. Sealaska shareholders and descendants are eligible for in-state tuition and 10% off all eCourses. Click here to learn more and enroll. 
  • Sealaska is seeking youth members of the Shareholder Participation Committee (SPC). Established in 2019 as a way to strengthen shareholder engagement with Sealaska, the SPC is made up of shareholders representing the interests of three regions — Southeast Alaska, other Alaska, and outside Alaska. SPC members meet with Sealaska leadership on a regular basis to discuss and advocate for the needs and interests of shareholders in their region. Click here to learn more and apply. 

About Sealaska’s Scholarship Program  

Sealaska is dedicated to advancing the opportunities of our people through access to higher education and vocational training. The Sealaska scholarship program serves shareholders and descendants enrolled full or part time in vocational-technical programs and accredited colleges and universities. To date, Sealaska has committed more than $27 million to its scholarship fund and awards 400-plus scholarships per year. For full program information and eligibility requirements, please visit MySealaska.com.  

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