Matthieu O.

“As an out-of-state student my tuition is substantially higher, so your support is especially beneficial.”

Matthieu first came to UAA two years ago as a freshman. Relocating from his tropical home in Hawaii to the cold climate of Alaska took some adjustment. But he has thrived in his new home, joining UAA’s championship debate team while pursuing dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and economics.

“The University of Alaska has been a blessing for me. The faculty and staff here are some of the most outstanding people and educators I’ve ever met.”

A first generation U.S. citizen, Matthieu was lucky enough to travel the world throughout his childhood. He shares his experiences and perspective with Alaska’s youth by coaching debate and mock trial teams at Anchorage area high schools. Already, Matthieu embodies the spirit of giving back, passing along the benefits he’s received to the next generation. It’s this spirit that inspired the founding of the First Fruits Scholarship for Working Students.

“Thank you for your generous contribution, not just to me, but to all the students you have helped further their education.”

Ian Wheeles

“My real hope is not just to help others, but to help others help others.”

UAA alumnus Ian Wheeles believes in giving back to his community. This belief is so deeply rooted that 50 percent of all profits generated by his firm, the Law Office of Ian Wheeles, are donated to charitable organizations.

“I’ve been blessed with a career that provides me with more than I need, so it’s important for me to give back and provide for other people.”

In 2009, Ian established the First Fruits Scholarship for Working Students at UAA to help hard-working students overcome their financial obstacles and achieve their educational goals. Since then, his Scholarship has helped 19 working students alleviate some of the financial burden accrued in pursuit of a life-changing education at UAA.

“I can put myself in the shoes of anybody applying for a scholarship right now. Every dollar they get from a scholarship is one less dollar they have to earn or go without.”

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