Alumni Emerging Leader Award

AoD-Leader-grayThe Alumni Emerging Leader Award honors an alumni who has made a positive impact in their community, industry or profession and has received their degree within the past ten years. There is an expectation that the nominee is in the beginning or middle of what will be a long-term distinguished career or role.

Previous Winners


Mistee Davis, A.A.S. Human Services '06, B.A. Psychology '12. Chief of Services, Assets Inc.

10 years ago, while studying at UAA, Mistee joined Assets, Inc. as an employment coach. A decade later, she is now the agency's chief of services, guiding all community-based services at the 64th largest private employer in the state. Assets, Inc. provides services for Anchorage residents who experience developmental disabilities and serious mental illnesses—two populations with inarguably high rates 
of unemployment. Mistee and her staff work to boost the independence and self-worth of the city's marginalized neighbors, placing people in homes that work and jobs that matter. It's a seriously demanding role with high employee turnover, but Mistee has found her calling as an employment cheerleader. For the past decade, she has thrived in a demanding and significant field and helped place Alaska among the leaders in disability services nationwide. Read Mistee's full story on Green & Gold News.


082614 virginia Groeschel 001Virginia Groeschel, B.S. Civil Engineering '06, Aviation Design Engineer with State of Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Works

Virginia is a passionate engineer with a strong focus on assisting UAA engineering students. As a student,Virginia balanced several jobs during her early semesters and even took several years away from school before earning her undergraduate degree in 2006. With a perspective on the challenges facing students, she's committed to helping aspiring engineers navigate their way to graduation day. She's served as president of the American Society of Civil Engineers chapters at both the Anchorage and statewide levels and sat on the College of Engineering advisory board. Virginia is exceptionally dedicated to her role as President of the College of Engineering alumni chapter at UAA, which she also co-founded. As chapter president, she works to connect aspiring engineers to the supportive alumni network throughout Alaska and provide mentorship, support, advice and opportunities for current engineering students at UAA. Read Virginia's full story at Green & Gold News.


Stephenstephen-trimble Trimble, B.S. Interdisciplinary Studies '08,Project Manager at URS Corporation in Alaska

A lifelong Alaskan, Stephen Trimble serves as a project manager and mining business lead for URS Corporation and sits on several boards, two of which are at UAA. As a young leader himself, Stephen recognizes the importance of building the next generation of Alaska leaders. Toward this end, Stephen teaches geology to students in the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program's (ANSEP) Summer Middle School Program at UAA. Stephen has demonstrated the qualities of a natural, ethical leader who has earned the respect of his peers and the community. Earlier this year, Stephen was recognized as one of Alaska Journal of Commerce's Top Forty Under 40, an award that recognizes young professionals who display both professional excellence and a commitment to the community. Read Stephen's full story at the Green & Gold


2012-Candice-McDonald Candice McDonald, B.B.A. Business Management '05, M.S. Global Supply Chain Management '08, Owner, Salmon Berry Tours

Entrepreneurship is in the blood of the McDonald family. Candice McDonald’s father, Harry, owns Carlile Transportation Systems, and two of her three siblings also own their own business. Candice started Salmon Berry Tours, a travel tour business in Anchorage, in 2005 with one employee—herself. Now, she has eight seasonal employees and four full-time employees who stay on year-round. The business has shown substantial growth since its inception, including several partnerships in the business community that help give tourists the vacation they’re looking for, from Talkeetna to Seward to just about anywhere in Alaska. Read Candice's full story at the Green & Gold


Dan BigleyDan Bigley,M.S.W. '09, Director of Therapeutic Foster Care Services, Denali Family Services

A grizzly bear mauled Dan Bigley in the summer of 2003 on the shores of Alaska's Russian River and left him for dead. The odds were against him, but Dan survived, and after many surgeries and rehabilitative efforts he was able to pick up where he left off several years ago. With the support of UAA's Disability Support Services, Dan earned his M.S.W. in '09 from UAA with a 4.0 GPA. He now works with youth and families facing trauma, sexual abuse, substance abuse, behavioral disorders or mental illnesses. Dan is currently writing a book about the bear that nearly killed him and left him blinded. Read Dan's full story at the Green & Gold


2010-Linda-LearyLinda Leary, M.S. ’04, President, Carlile Transportation Systems

Linda Leary is the president of Carlile Transportation Systems, a company she’s been with since the mid-1980s. Founded in 1980, Carlile has grown from two tractors to one of Alaska's largest trucking companies. Today, Carlile's wholly owned terminals serve Alaska from Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai, Kodiak, Prudhoe Bay and Seward, as well as Seattle, WA, Houston, TX, Blaine, MN, and Edmonton, AB. Linda has a firm grip on the marketing side of Carlile, and has recently added several value-added aspects, such as logistics services for its customers, and additional shipping and forwarding service to Hawaii. She received her M.S. in Global Supply Chain Management from UAA in 2004.