Marissa Brakes is obtaining a criminal justice degree from Boise State University. She is one of 289 scholarship recipients for the 2015-2016 academic year. She says the award is extremely important to her. “My goal is to obtain my undergraduate degree, debt free,” said Brakes. “The scholarship I receive from Sealaska allows me not to take out a loan. Plus I only have to work part time while attending school full time.”
(Pictured right is Sealaska scholarship recipient Marissa Brakes)
“Every dollar that Sealaska contributes to scholarships is a long-term investment into our community,” said Sealaska Chair Joe Nelson. “With more than half of our 22,000 shareholders living outside of Alaska, we need to make conscious efforts to bring some of our best and brightest back home. As vice chancellor of Enrollment Management for University of Alaska Southeast, I support the recently launched “Come Home to Alaska” program. It allows a student from the lower 48 with family ties in Alaska to avoid the non-resident tuition surcharge. For the average full-time student, that is a $12,000 annual savings.”
Sealaska is issuing $459,000 in scholarships this year. Since inception Sealaska has directed millions toward scholarships. The program is designed to encourage, recognize and provide financial support to students who demonstrate scholastic ability and who are seeking higher education. Students may apply if they are attending, or plan to attend, full-time vocational or college programs.
“Marissa’s story is a great example of the impact the scholarship and internship programs provide,” said Sealaska President and CEO Anthony Mallott. “Not only is she driven to obtain her degree, but she also is gaining valuable experience as a 2015 Sealaska intern with the finance department in Juneau. Both the scholarship and internship programs are examples of Sealaska’s priority on leadership development and capacity building for our shareholders.”
Sealaska has funded the scholarship program since the early 1980s. Sealaska set up a scholarship endowment in 1989. Sealaska also contributes to the scholarship program through Sealaska Timber Corporation (STC), a benefit of the timber harvest program. Together both the scholarship endowment fund and STC have contributed $13.1 million for Sealaska’s scholarship program, managed by Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI).
SHI was established to support and administer cultural and educational programs, including Sealaska scholarships. “Alaska Natives have long valued education and view the scholarship program and the Sealaska internship program as a way of growing and supporting our future leaders,” said Sealaska Heritage Insitute President Rosita Worl.
Sealaska Heritage Institute announced that Amelia Wilson of Hoonah, Alaska, was awarded the Judson L. Brown Leadership Award, a scholarship created by an endowment established by former Sealaska President and CEO Chris McNeil Jr. and his wife Mary. McNeil established the scholarship to honor his uncle Judson Brown.
Learn more by watching this short video.