Aang, (Hello in Aleut)
My name is Viola Joan Stepetin and I am a Student
Advisor for the Alaska Native Science Commission. I am from
the Pribilof Island of St Paul. That is my father's home and
my mother is from Atka on the Aleutian Chain. At present, I
am studying science technology and civil engineering at the
University of Alaska, Anchorage.
In January, I traveled to Kotzebue for my first
Board and regional meeting. I learned how the Board operates
and their goals along with the mission statement and how these
goals and objectives can be met. This was a rewarding and exciting
learning experience for me.
While in Kotzebue, I met local Elders from
the Northwest Region, representatives from the NationalScience
Foundation and scientists performing various research projects
in the region.
I learned the roles and interactions of these
organizations and saw how changes would better serve the Native
people of Alaska. I also learned of the challenges that are
in the future for the Board and Alaska. However, after spending
three days with the Board members and staff I have confidence
that the challenges will be met.
My personal experience was spiritual growth.
I was surrounded by strong and courageous Alaska Native leaders.
I am gaining strength and confidence from them by watching,
listening and learning. It is refreshing to be on the same team
and speak the same language regarding Native issues and concerns.
I am proud to be part of the Alaska Native
Science Commission Board and will strive to contribute as much
as I can and make the most of my role as a student advisor.