Dear UAA Community,
This is the most exciting time of year as we celebrate the graduation of 2,315 UAA students, who will earn 2,421 degrees and certificates. Commencement celebrations are being held on our Anchorage, Mat-Su, Kenai, Kachemak Bay, Kodiak and Prince William Sound campuses.
Here's some facts about this year's graduates.
The top five majors that we will award degrees from are:
Last month UAA hosted the first statewide Alaska Native Studies conference attended by more than 300 people. One thing we learned is that throughout the country there are fewer than 60 Alaska Natives who hold Ph.D.s, but UAA is poised to add one more.
This year, UAA will award two Ph.D.'s in the Joint UAA-UAF Clinical Community Psychology Ph.D. program: Ruth Zuniga and Alaska Native Tina Marie Woods.
Behind every degree is an amazing story and Tina Woods' story includes receiving her high school diploma after attending six different high schools: St. Paul High on St. Paul Island; Mt. Edgecumbe in Sitka; Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Ore.; East, West and Bartlett High Schools in Anchorage. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology in 1999 from UAA and worked at various organizations throughout Alaska including North Star, Akeela Inc., Cook Inlet Tribal Council and eventually the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association where she was recruited to be the Wellness Program Director. In her second year of the program she said the only thing that kept her going: "deep down in my heart and soul, it's the love I have for the Alaska Native people." She was also elected chair of the Statewide Tribal Behavioral Health Directors committee.
When she heard that UAA had a Ph.D. program in clinical community psychology with a rural indigenous emphasis, she knew she had to do it. Tina was already enrolled in a master's in public health administration program at UAA, but the Ph.D. with a "rural indigenous emphasis" tugged at her heart. Even though she never thought of herself as someone who would go beyond a master's, much less a bachelor's degree, she had to apply.
UAA's Ph.D. candidates are just two of 2,315 graduates this year. Look for this Sunday's article in the Anchorage Daily News for more amazing stories about our graduates as well as an in depth look at this year's graduating class.