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Leaders From the Region

Lisa Jenkins, CECI Scholarship Recipient

Storyknife, May/June 2019 edition

Three years ago, Lisa Jenkins from Atmautluak discovered her father had cancer. Lisa was only 16 years old, felt helpless and didn’t know what to do. Inspired by her sister’s career in nursing, Lisa wanted to do what she could for people in her village by studying to become a nurse.

Lisa Jenkins of Atmautluak, CECI Scholarship Recipient

Lisa Jenkins of Atmautluak, CECI Scholarship Recipient

“I was worried about having to ask my family for money, but the scholarship helped,” Lisa says.

Lisa, a Calista Shareholder, is going to school at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) for a bachelor’s degree in Nursing Science. Through Calista Education and Culture, Inc. (CECI), Calista Corporation’s nonprofit arm, Lisa is receiving scholarships to support her higher education.

“If I didn’t have the Calista scholarship, I’d probably have to take loans,” says Lisa. “And I’m afraid to take loans.”

Lisa hopes to graduate from the Nursing program in about four years. As a full-time student, Lisa takes 12 credits a semester. The CECI scholarship can be used for her tuition, books and fees. She applies each fall and spring semester. With a grade point average over 3.8, Lisa can receive up to $1,250 for the semester.

“Last semester I had a 4.0 GPA. Since this time last year, it has pushed me more to do better,” she says.

Lisa is living over 400 miles away from her home in Atmautluak—and sometimes may feel a bit overwhelmed with big city life—but she always seems to find a connection with fellow students “from the village.”

“I was broken after finding out my dad was terminal. This was a long drawn out process, and I know this might happen again. I can help change that.” – Lisa Jenkins, CECI Scholarship Recipient

“Having connections to other students through (UAA’s) Native Student Services lets me know that I’m not doing this alone,” Lisa says.

The community at school empowers her to share her own personal experience and learn from it.

“When my dad was first sick, they didn’t really believe him,” Lisa says. “He even had to wait a week to finally get checked up.”

A week later, Lisa’s dad went to Bethel for another appointment. That’s when they discovered he had terminal cancer and medevaced him to Anchorage.

“I was broken after finding out my dad was terminal,” she says. “This was a long drawn out process, and I know this might happen again. I can help change that.”

Lisa is passionate to put her studies to practice not only for Alaska, but for our Region as well. Ultimately, she wants to be a traveling nurse in rural Alaska.

“That woke me up. I always knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t know how,” says Lisa. “I just really love helping people, and I can’t wait to do that.”

Register for the CECI Golf Tournament

Calista Education and Culture is hosting the 20th Annual Golf Tournament is Wednesday, June 19. The tournament raises scholarship funds to benefit students with ties to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta—just like Lisa!

The tournament is chance to play golf for a good cause—with a $10,000 hole in one cash prize!

Register to play or review sponsorship opportunities by Friday, June 7 at CalistaEducation.org.