The inaugural John Active and Mary Pete scholarships have been awarded: Corey Joseph of Kwigillingok and Janice Wiseman of Tuntutuliak are the recipients.
Corey Joseph taught himself Japanese at home.
"I’ve always liked languages, even when I didn’t realize it before," Joseph said.
Joseph is a swiss-army knife of talent. He films, translates Yugtun into English, and loves math and languages. Any one of those would be impressive, but Joseph is good at all of them. He also wants to use his talents to help people back in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
"Once I finish school, I want to use math, or Yup’ik, or both, in order to help the people of our region, whether it’s possibly through teaching, translating, interpreting, or other things," Joseph said.
Joseph began his film career in the Film Academy that the Lower Kuskokwim School District puts on in Bethel during the summer. His first film was about his baby brother. He enrolled at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kuskokwim Campus, but has since transferred to the Fairbanks Campus, where he plans to get a degree in math and Yup’ik studies. Like most people in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, he grew up hearing stories from pioneer Yup’ik broadcaster, storyteller, and journalist, John Active.
"I was extremely honored and grateful, and with such an influential person like John Active, what I wanted to do was to make my own impact in my own way," Joseph said.
Joseph says that the John Active scholarship is one of several that will help him pay for college.
The other scholarship recipient is Janice Wiseman. She adds up numbers for the Quinarmuit Corporation in Tuntutuliak, where she is the bookkeeper. She left home to get her associate’s degree in applied science nearly 10 years ago, but quit.
"My family needed my help here for subsistence, especially my mom. I was planning to come back," Wiseman said.
A friend convinced her to return to college last year.
"We both started taking our classes together; it’s good to have some support," Wiseman said.
The Mary Pete Scholarship can help her pay for two college classes in the fall. The scholarship can also help her purchase textbooks, which can cost as much as $250.
The Mary Pete and John Active scholarships are especially helpful as Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s vetoes cut deeply into the University of Alaska’s budget, and state-funded scholarships are put on hold.
Both Wiseman and Joseph plan to continue their educations despite the uncertainty.