Meet Our Students!
Name: Brennan Zelener
College: Colorado State University
Degree/Certificate Program: Business Management major, Entrepreneurship Certificate, Global Environmental Sustainability minor.
Field of Study: Business
Education/Career plans & goals: Currently I run an iPhone recycling business called Green iPhone. I'd like to continue growing the company and sell it to a larger firm in the next five years. I also direct a professional team building iPhone applications. I enjoy software development immensely. The opportunity to create and design an application from the ground up is enthralling. Within ten years I want to be working in the renewable energy industry on innovative projects.
How has TCF assisted you in this journey? TCF has been essential in providing me with funding for school, connecting me with internship opportunities, and notifying me of possible job positions.
Advice to fellow students: Fail fast and fail often. Don't be discouraged by failure; it's one of the best ways to learn. Be persistent in everything you want to do. Stay hungry and stay foolish.
Name: Tiana Lopes
College: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Degree/Certificate Program: B.S. in Business
Field of Study: Accounting
Education/Career plans & goals: Currently I plan to start my career in public accounting and pass the CPA exam by next fall.
How has TCF assisted you in this journey? TCF has tremendously helped with tuition costs which has allowed me to attend my top choice university. This has also enabled me to have numerous opportunities including studying abroad and completing a professional internship.
Advice to fellow students: Choose a major that you are truly passionate about instead of based on the potential salary it could bring.
Name: Jessica Bissett Parea
College: Graduated from UCLA June 2011; Currently a President' Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley.
Degree/Certificate Program: PhD
Field of Study: Musicology & Ethnomusicology
Education/Career plans & goals: Having just completed my doctoral degree, I am focusing on the following long term goals: 1) to obtain a tenure-track teaching and research position at a major North American university; 2) to continue educating myself and others about past, present, and future issues affecting the health and well-being of Alaska Native and Indigenous communities; 3) to promote the importance of incorporating Alaska Native perspectives and worldviews into creative and performing arts programs and scholarship, as well as the importance of incorporating traditional and contemporary creative and performing arts curriculum and scholarship into Alaska Native studies.
How has TCF assisted you in this journey? The CIRI Foundation gave me the necessary financial support to pursue my music degrees at top-tier institutions in the "lower 48." I have gained an invaluable education over the years -- both on and off campus -- that I feel has fully prepared me to take a balanced approach toward achieving success within my professional and personal life.
Advice to fellow students: Don't be afraid to take risks -- even if you don't succeed, where one door closes another door opens! Always be aware of and open to your options.
Name: Nadia Jackinsky-Sethi
College: University of Washington
Degree/Certificate Program: PhD; expected graduation spring 2012
Field of Study: Art History - Alaska Native focus
Education/Career plans & goals: I am currently completing my PhD in Art History at the University of Washington where I have focused my studies on Alaska Native art. I recently began working as the curator of collections at the State of Alaska's Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka. This museum holds one of the finest collections of Alaska Native art in the country. As a curator I hope to continue my research in Alaska Native art and am looking forward to adding an indigenous perspective to our exhibitions and collection's care plan.
How has TCF assisted you in this journey? I am very grateful to The CIRI Foundation for supporting me throughout my educational endeavors. Along with assisting with tuition costs during my undergraduate and graduate studies, The CIRI Foundation also supported my fieldwork research making it possible for me to travel throughout Alaska to collect primary resources, and to museums abroad that hold examples of Alaska Native art.
Advice to fellow students: I would encourage students to take advantage of every opportunity that pursuing higher education offers. The most valuable experiences that my education provided for me were opportunities to return to Alaska for research in our state. There are huge gaps remaining in Alaska Native recorded history. Hopefully this work can be done by our own people for the benefit of future generations.
Name: Kristen Barnett
College: University of Montana
Degree/Certificate Program: Graduate; Central Heritage Program
Field of Study: Archaeology
Education/Career plans & goals: My long term goals are to work as a Professor/educator. I want to encourage and inspire students to realize and accomplish their goals. Prior to that my career will focus on prehistoric archaeology of the arctic and sub-arctic , with the incorporation of indigenous peoples, as we are more often underrepresented in the professional and public works of archaeology. I would like to bridge that gap,working towards the goal of a more public and inclusive discipline.
How has TCF assisted you in this journey? I am a new recipient of the TCF Scholarship as of this semester. As a mother and full time student, TCF has helped me to continue my education in order to achieve my goals while reducing some of the financial stress that accompanies higher education.
Advice to fellow students: Once you recognize your dream, remember that you get there one day at a time; don't get overwhelmed or discouraged, just keep showing up.
Name: Vance Felton
College: Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Degree/Certificate Program: M.D.
Field of Study: Medicine
Education/Career plans & goals: I'm finishing up my last year of medical school here in North Carolina and am getting ready to start a family medicine residency next summer somewhere back on the West Coast. I chose family medicine because it is a very relational specialty and it gives me a chance to practice preventative medicine and not just reactive medicine. Hopefully I will be able to help some people alter the course of their health and adopt healthier lifestyles earlier on and avoid some of the bad outcomes like heart attacks and strokes that come from being sedentary, eating unhealthy food, etc. As an athlete and person who loves the outdoors, I also plan to practice some sports medicine and wilderness medicine as well.
How has TCF assisted you in this journey? I am extremely grateful to TCF for all the support they have given me in my undergrad years and in medical school. It has been a huge blessing to receive the scholarships and reduce my expenses. I am thankful that TCF shows such a commitment to supporting post-secondary education.
Advice to fellow students: Do what you love, don't be afraid to fail, try many different things. More specifically, try to get exposure to a number of career fields or majors early on in your career or undergrad education so you can figure out what you enjoy and what you're good at. They often are very similar. Choose a path based on what fits you and your personality, not what others think you should do. Don't be afraid to contact people in career fields you're interested in to pick their brains for advice or information about the field. Pursue your dreams even when there's a chance you might not attain them. Be more afraid of missing out on experiencing life and not realizing your dreams than being afraid of failing. Go big!