CONGRATULATIONS — Josie Styles, right, smiles for the camera along with her daughter Kallie King and granddaughter Mary Lou during the UAF Northwest Campus Commencement Ceremony held at Old St. Joe's on Thursday, May 9. Kallie King received her pre-nursing certificate.

Fifty graduate from Nome’s Northwest Campus

Graduates from Kawerak’s GED program all the way up to a University of Alaska PhD recipient gathered at Old St. Joe’s Thursday evening to celebrate the fruits of their hard work. “We have them all here tonight,” said Bob Metcalf, Director of the Northwest Campus. In between the GEDs and the PhD were occupational endorsements, certificates, associate degrees, bachelors and masters degrees.

The lone PhD went to Julie Raymond-Yakoubian. “The highest degree offered by the university system is the PhD and we have one PhD to be hooded this evening,” said University Vice Chancellor Evon Peter, who conferred the degrees. “She decided to pursue her PhD in anthropology after moving to Nome to work for Kawerak in order to be more effective in collaborating with tribes on cultural heritage projects. She was strongly motivated through her work with the Native Village of Elim to collaborate with the community to document the Elim’s people’s knowledge and experiences related to salmon, subsistence and identity.” Vice Chancellor Peter quoted Raymond-Yakoubian:  “In the Bering Strait region our communities have a rich depth of knowledge about the world in our elders and other traditional knowledge holders. I strongly encourage people of all ages to seek that knowledge out and apply it to their lives.” The title of her doctoral thesis is “Salmon, Cosmology, and Identity in Elim Alaska.”

Bob Metcalf has given over thirty years of service to the Northwest Campus and every speaker acknowledged his contribution. He will be retiring at the end of June. “He’s leaving this campus in one of the best conditions you can leave a rural campus not only with $7 millions in renovations to the campus but he’s really helped to situate the campus in a good way for the transition to new leadership,” said Vice Chancellor Peter. Thunderous applause shook the building.

To the GED graduates Peter said “My path wasn’t an easy path, either. I ended dropping out of high school. I was in your seat at one point in time, working through to complete my GED.” He spoke of the long and circuitous path he took to his high position at the university. It took him 12 years to complete his masters.

“It’s wonderful we have everything from GED to PhD today.”

“It’s a great evening, it’s one of celebration, and I’m honored just to be a part of it,” said Ron Huffman, Director of Kawerak’s Adult Basic Education program. Huffman thanked Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation for their support. He thanked the Bering Strait School District for providing lodging and classroom space for instructors who travel out to bush locations to deliver intensive study courses. “Kudos to the Bering Strait School District,” he said. Addressing the graduates he said that their new degree will open new doors. “Employment opportunities, vocational training, and post secondary education. Kawerak can help you move on to those next steps. I don’t want you to think the GED is the end.  The GED is only the beginning for you. Take advantage of these opportunities.” He urged them to always dream big, look to the future, take risks, and don’t be afraid to fail. “Find something to believe in and when you do work for it and sacrifice for it. Always believe in something. If you’re not passionate about something in your life then you’re missing out.” The GED recipients got their certificates with a chorus of walrus barks from the crowd.

Occupational endorsements are focused, specific training programs designed to give students the knowledge and the training to be immediately employable. They also lead students into certificates and degrees. “I extend a huge appreciation to your family and your friends because I know their support was critical along this journey,” said Norton Sound Health Corporation CEO Angie Gorn, who stressed the importance of local people in providing good health care. “I extend a huge appreciation to your family and your friends because I know their support was critical along this journey.” Endorsements were awarded for certified nursing assistant training, billing and coding, ENT and ETT training, introduction to health care careers, pre-nursing courses, construction training, boiler and maintenance training and more. And community health aids, the backbone of NSHC’s web of health care.

 “Norton Sound is really fortunate to have our own nursing program here in the region,” said Gorn. “We partner closely with UAF for the pre-nursing part of the program. The actual RN program is provided through the University of Alaska.”

As she received her Masters Degree in Administration of Justice Sandra Martinson stated “I appreciate the university for working with those of us who take a pause in our educational efforts, and for offering distance education. It’s never too late not to start, and not to finish.”

“Now you can move your tassels from the right to the left!” said Bob Metcalf at the end. “Thank you for supporting the educational pursuits of family and friends.”

Ron Horner led the assembled crowd in the singing of the Alaska Flag Song and everybody adjourned for the receiving line, to take photos of the graduates, and for refreshments. 


2019 NWC Graduates:


Doctor of Philosophy

Julie Raymond-Yakoubian, Anthropology


Master’s Degrees

Sandra Martinson, Master of Arts, Justice Administration

Amber Otton, Master of Education, Secondary Education

Cassie McDonald*, Master of Education, Educational Leadership (UAS)

Nicholas Brian Walston*, Master of Education, Educational Leadership (UAS)


Post Baccalaureate and Graduate Certificates

Heather Godshall*, Gr. Cert., Post-Baccalaureate K-12 Special 

Education Licensure: Additional Endorsement

Amber Otton, Gr. Cert., Secondary Education: Initial Teacher Certification Program


Baccalaureate Degrees

Boyd T. Branch, Bachelor of Arts, Justice

Georgia Durden*, Bachelor of Arts, Russian Studies

Krysta Kauer, Bachelor of Arts, Social Work


Associate Degrees

Colleen Stymeist-Wood, A.A.S., Applied Business Management

Richelle Horner, A.A.S., Nursing (UAA)

Mary Ruud, A.A.S., Nursing (UAA)

Colette Topkok, A.A.S., Nursing (UAA)

Rebecca Sherman-Luce*, A.A., General Program

Emma Weyiouanna, A.A., General Program                                       



Helen Eningowuk, Cert., Community Health

Jacki Johnson, Cert., Community Health

Maasingah Nakak, Cert., Community Health

Katrina Raymond, Cert., Community Health

Kallie King, Cert., Pre-nursing

Lori Hughes, Cert., Tribal Management

Hattie Keller, Cert., Tribal Management


Occupational Endorsements

Nancy Analoak, O.E., Administrative Assistant

Ariana Musich*, O.E., Administrative Assistant

Jessica Oleson*, O.E., Administrative Assistant

Janelle Pootoogooluk, O.E., Administrative Assistant

Talitha Thompson, O.E., Administrative Assistant

Beverly Tran, O.E., Administrative Assistant

AnnaMarie Adams, O.E., Certified Nurse Aide

Rebecca Horton*, O.E., Certified Nurse Aide

Ilene Koonooka, O.E., Certified Nurse Aide

Kristy Kuzuguk*, O.E., Certified Nurse Aide

Digna Andrews, O.E., Facility Maintenance

Chase Gray, O.E., Facility Maintenance

James Musich,  O.E., Facility Maintenance

Isaac Okleasik III, O.E., Facility Maintenance

Rhonda Sparks*, O.E., Facility Maintenance

Brendon Tran,  O.E., Facility Maintenance

Cordell Murray*, O.E., Law Enforcement (UAS)

Justin Stein*, O.E., Law Enforcement (UAS)

Clarissa Nakak, O.E., Medical Coding

Deilah Johnson, O.E., Sustainable Energy


General Education Diplomas

Geneva Anowlic-Okitkon, Nome

Tami Horton, Nome

Candice Koozaata, Gambell

Walter Nayokpuk, Shishmaref

Travis Tocktoo, Brevig Mission

Brandon Walker, Nome

The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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