Kuskokwim Campus 2023 Students of the Year Awards

by Cindy Andrecheck

Felicia Daniel of Bethel. Photo by Cindy Andrecheck

Brianna Norton, Nunapitchuk. Photo courtesy of Brianna Norton

University of Alaska Fairbanks Kuskokwim Campus (KuC) is pleased to announce its Student of the Year Awards. The full-time Student of the Year Award will be presented to Felicia Canaar Daniel, born and raised in Bethel, daughter of Clarence and Julia Daniel. She earned her high school diploma at BRHS in 2021.

Felicia has many role models in her immediate family when it comes to pursuing higher education: her brother Thomas earned his AA in 2018 and BBA in 2022; her father Clarence earned his AA in 2020; her brother Ray and sister Emma are currently in ANSEP programs; and her sister Roselyn will enter an ANSEP program next fall.

A sophomore, Felicia is working on her Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education. After graduation Felicia hopes to find a job teaching young students, perhaps even going back to Tuntutuliak where her parents are originally from. While taking an introduction to education course, she said they visited a fourth grade classroom for half a day, and “it was fun.” A faculty member who nominated her said “she is a very committed and determined student who is always on campus all day all week, working on assignments, studying and attending classes.”

When not studying, Felicia enjoys doing subsistence activities with her family, especially fishing, berry picking, gathering greens and egg hunting. Her advice to incoming college students is “Don’t be scared; communicate with your professors or staff when you need help.”

KuC’s Part-time Student of the Year Award will be presented to Brianna Akagalria Norton of Nunapitchuk, daughter of Susan Wassillie.  After earning her high school diploma from Galena Interior Learning Academy (GILA) in 2015, Brianna started her college career in Southeast Alaska but found KuC more to her liking. At KuC she earned her CNA certificate in 2016 and her Associate of Arts degree in 2021. Currently she is a senior in the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work program, hoping to complete her degree requirements next spring and begin a social work position working with children in the Yukon Kuskokwim region.

Though Brianna enjoyed dorm and campus life for a couple of years, she now appreciates that she can continue to pursue her degree by taking online courses while staying in her home village and caring for her young family. She originally chose KuC because it was close to home and felt like a community where faculty and staff understood the culture and lifestyle; there was a support system to help you succeed. “Don’t be afraid to reach out,” she states. Brianna thanks her mom and husband for their constant support and caring during her academic career.

Congratulations Felicia and Brianna from all of us at Kuskokwim Campus.