2023 COMMENCEMENT— Northwest Campus’ Director Dr. Barb Amarok applauds the achievements of the class of 2023, during the commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 11 at Old St. Joe’s.

Forty-three graduates celebrated at UAF NWC Commencement

Nome’s Northwest Campus of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, College of Rural and Community Development held their 47th Annual Commencement on Thursday, May 11, at Old St. Joe’s Hall.
UAF’s class of 2023 consisted of 43 graduates, some of whom were present to walk the stage. Two graduates received general education diplomas, 19 graduates received occupational endorsements, seven graduates received certificates, seven graduates received associate degrees, three graduates received baccalaureate degrees, two graduates received graduate certificates, and three graduates received master’s degrees.  The event was well attended by friends and family eager to celebrate this milestone in their loved ones’ lives.
The commencement ceremony began with the procession of the graduates, in their caps, gowns and hoods, to the strains of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance.  Doctor Barb Amarok, Director of the Northwest Campus, presided over the event, introducing the speakers and the graduates as they were recognized and received their degrees.
After the national anthem was performed by Jackie Reader and the invocation prayer led by Arlene Soxie, four short speeches were given by Tyler Rhodes, Northwest Campus Advisory Council, Melanie Bahnke, President of Kawerak, Bryan Uher, Dean of the College of Rural and Community Development, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Doctor Dan White, Chancellor of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Speakers emphasized the contribution that the graduates could make in their respective fields if they chose to return to their home communities. “We all win when it’s locals serving us,” said Tyler Rhodes in his speech.
“Stay connected, stay in touch,” concluded Doctor Dan White in his recorded message to the graduates.
After the speakers, Community Education Department Director of Kawerak, Pamela Cushman led the recognition of the GED recipients. Cushman congratulated the recipients, expressing good wishes for their future careers. “I encourage you most of all to be a good person, your character and integrity matter,” Cushman said.
Before the Conferring of Degrees and the Presentation of Diplomas, Dr. Amarok, explained the significance of some of the academic regalia, stating that different chords honored different graduates’ statuses as first-generation students, LGBTQ+ students, veterans etc.  She explained that the red sash some graduates wore signified their Alaska Native or Native American heritage.
During the Conferring of Degrees, Amarok read out the kinds of credit hours and requirements it took for each graduate to obtain their degree or certificate. Graduates told stories of putting their careers on hold to raise children, drawing inspiration from anything, from leading the next generation to successful battles against addiction.  Graduates who chose to speak shared encouraging messages, telling the audience to seek out educational opportunities and help their communities.
For the presentation of diplomas, Dr. Amarok called up the deans of various departments to present the degrees and certificates to their students.

Wade Gray Harrison, Master of Arts, Justice Administration; Luke Henslee Master of Science, Fisheries; Nicholas Settle Master of Education, Educational Leadership (UAS)

Aaron Brown* Graduate Licensure Certificate, Counseling; Maisie Thomas Graduate Licensure Certificate, Arctic & Northern Studies

Qanikcaq Rebecca Atchak    Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education; Brayden Bahnke*    Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering; Jasmine Jemewouk* Bachelor of Business Administration

Alice Amaktoolik, A.A.S., Nursing (UAA); Kathleen Herzner A.A., General Program; Alyssa Jemewouk    A.A.S., Applied Business; Marina Koonooka, A.A.S., Community Health, Amanda Patrick, A.A., General Program; Amy Payenna A.A.S., Business Administration (UAS); Matthew Petta  A.S.

Sherri Anderson, Cert., Rural Human Services; Shannon Klescewski, Cert., Rural Human Services; Shana Noongwook, Cert., Tribal Governance; Megan Rock Cert., Pre-Nursing, Perry Saito, Cert., Construction Trades Technology; Penny Schaeffer, Cert., Rural Human Services, Celeste Washington, Cert., Rural Human Services

Jack Jay Adams O.E., Facility Maintenance; Johanna Adams, O.E., Certified Nurse Aide, Dena Angi, O.E., Certified Nurse Aide; Hazel Brunette O.E., Administrative Assistant and O.E., Supervision & Personnel Management; Evett Henry, O.E., Rural Waste Management; Kathleen Herzner    O.E., High Latitude Range Management; Edward Jackson O.E., Facility Maintenance; Channa Koozaata,O.E., Certified Nurse Aide; Charles Okpealuk, O.E., Facility Maintenance; Bertha Olanna, O.E., Certified Nurse Aide; Samuel Otton, O.E., Facility Maintenance; Teresa Richards,  O.E., Certified Nurse Aide; Sharon Rida, O.E., Administrative Assistant and O.E., Supervision & Personnel Management; Desiree Rock, O.E., Certified Nurse Aide; Tiffany Rookok, O.E., Rural Waste Management; Susan Waghiyi, O.E., Rural Waste Management; Raenelle West, O.E., Administrative Assistant.

Courier Nichols, Nome; Grace Okleasik, Nome


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