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2021 Award Recipients

The Alumni of Distinction awards provide the UAA Alumni Association the opportunity to recognize and celebrate alumni who have made important contributions in their communities and whose actions honor the legacy of excellence at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Congratulations to the most recent recipients, honored at the virtual Alumni of Distinction Celebration on April 23, 2022.

Alumni of Distinction 2021


Alumni of AchievementDr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson — 2021 Alumni of Achievement Award
M.B.A. '98
President, Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, likes to humorously sum up her life’s trajectory by saying she’s only ever lived, studied, and worked in the three biggest states in America, serving as vice chancellor for administrative services at the University of Alaska Anchorage; vice president at California State University, Fresno; and currently president at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Throughout her career, Dr. Teniente-Matson has made a point to focus on issues of equity and inclusion, working to enact policies at every institution she leads while also delivering keynote addresses nationally on the topics of women’s leadership and Latinx leadership. She has also never strayed far from her initial studies in business administration from the University of Alaska Anchorage and University of Alaska Fairbanks, as she continuously employs an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset to higher education. Read more about Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson.


Alumni HumanitarianAmanda Metivier — 2021 Alumni Humanitarian Award
B.S.W. '08, M.S.W. '12
Director, Child Welfare Academy
Co-Founder, Facing Foster Care in Alaska

Amanda Metivier has dedicated her career and personal life to child welfare reform, culminating in her appointment as director of the Child Welfare Academy. A former foster youth herself, she, along with a group of her peers, co-founded the nonprofit Facing Foster Care in Alaska in 2003. Through her advocacy with Facing Foster Care, Metivier has led efforts to expand services and support for foster youth across Alaska while paving the way for them to share lived-expertise to raise awareness and make change. In 2018, Facing Foster Care and the Child Welfare Academy partnered to launch the Office of Youth Empowerment, serving more than 300 current and former foster youth annually across the state to streamline access to higher education and training, develop critical life skills and engage in systems reform. Read more about Amanda Metivier.


Alumni Emerging LeaderKira Apaachuaq Eckenweiler — 2021 Alumni Emerging Leader Award
B.M. Music Performance '16
Mayor of Unalakleet, Alaska

Since graduating from UAA and receiving her Master of Music from the Berklee College of Music, Kira Apaachuaq Eckenweiler has distinguished herself as a professional singer by performing with the Anchorage Opera, the Boston Conservatory, Intermountain Opera Bozeman and more. After COVID-19 shut down live events worldwide, effectively pausing the performance industry, Kira decided to ride out the pandemic back home in Unalakleet with a new pursuit to stay productive: a seat on the city council, which quickly accelerated into the position of mayor. As mayor, Kira prioritized fixing the city’s aging water system and successfully secured $30 million to finally overhaul Unalakleet’s water system in summer 2022. Read more about Kira Apaachuaq Eckenweiler.