UAA announces 2021 Alumni of Distinction recipients

by Marci Suazo  |   

The UAA Office of Alumni Relations and the UAA Alumni Association are pleased to announce the 2021 UAA Alumni of Distinction awards recipients. The three distinguished UAA alumni will be honored for their outstanding contributions in their chosen fields and communities at the UAA Alumni of Achievement Banquet on April 23.

Alumni Emerging Leader:
Kira Apaachuaq Eckenweiler, B.M. ‘16

  • Since graduating from UAA and receiving her Master of Music degree from Berklee College of Music, Eckenweiler has distinguished herself in her career as a professional singer, having performed with the Anchorage Opera, Intermountain Opera Company, Boston Conservatory and more. She also serves as mayor of Unalakleet, most recently securing a new $30 million water system.
    • From the selection committee: Although there were many strong candidates, Kira excels in giving back to her community. Having returned to rural Alaska, she shares her education and love for music and serves as a community leader, making her uniquely qualified for this award.

Alumni Humanitarian:
Amanda Metivier, B.S.W. ‘08, M.S.W. ‘12

  • Metivier’s work in philanthropy specific to foster youth is extensive. As a founder and leader at Alaska's most effective foster youth nonprofit, Facing Foster Care in Alaska, and as a professional at the Child Welfare Academy, she has been a significant driver for major changes to Alaska's foster care system and has created more opportunities for youth to succeed in the workforce and in college.
    • From the selection committee: Amanda has an inspiring story and is exceptionally selfless in her dedication to serve others, especially the foster youth of Alaska.

Alumni of Achievement:
Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, M.B.A. ‘98

  • Dr. Teniente-Matson exemplifies excellence, and her accomplishments reflect what UAA aspires for its students and alumni. Currently president of Texas A&M University-San Antonio, Dr. Teniente-Matson is an advocate for higher education and a visionary in her profession. During her time at UAA, she worked across institutional lines and administrative functions to support student success.
    • From the selection committee: Cynthia's distinguished career is the perfect example of a strong alumna who is doing truly transformational things in her community and in the world of higher education. She sets a high benchmark for all alumni and students to aspire to.

For media inquiries, contact Director of Public Relations Marci Suazo by email at or by phone at 907-786-1435 (office) or 970-618-8684 (cell).

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