Why I am at UAF

Why am I at UAF? Well, that is a question I have been asking myself ever since my first year at UAF. First, I am from the island of Shishmaref, Alaska. My family and ancestors have been living around the mainland by Shishmaref for the past 4,000 years. My family were forced to live on Shishmaref back in 1901, when western civilization came and built the first school and post office there. Now, we are living on the island known as Shishmaref. The one thing wrong with that?

We have been seeing climate change first hand since the middle 1900's. Our island has been eroding from coastal erosion and rising sea levels have made flooding more severe. If we do not do something now, my home will be under water in a few decades. To me, that is why I am at UAF. My home, my culture, my way of life, is the reason why I am at UAF. So that I can learn how to manage and organize and find the available resources and write grants to improve the lives of my people, and the young people.

I am at UAF to further my education so I can go back to Shishmaref and help my community any way I can. The saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." That is so true because everyone back at home raised me growing up. I interacted and saw everyone on the island, I visited family and friends, and I saw everyone almost every day! Also, my older brother and sister attended UAF and graduated from here before. So that is another reason why I am here, because I have my sister to support me along with other family members. Another reason I am here at UAF is because I get to see all my friends and family almost every day because of how small this campus is. I get to see a couple of my cousins and countless friends here on campus and see them on my way to class or to lunch or dinner.

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