Meet Amber, Ilisagvik College Student from Alaska!

Jun 18, 2012 | Blog, Inside the College Fund, Student Success

Ilisagvik College student blogger Amber
Ilisagvik College student blogger Amber

Ilisagvik College student blogger Amber

Hello all! My name is Amber. My Inupiat name is Kapuqqaq (pronounced “ga-bu-kuk”). I am a tribal member of the Native Village of Unalakleet, located on the Northwest coast of Alaska. The community itself consists of roughly 750 people year-round. It’s a small town, but there is plenty to do.

In May I received my bachelor of arts degree in elementary education from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). This fall I plan on starting my master’s program in Counselor Education at UAA.

I’m a village girl at heart so I stay close to home. Anchorage is only an hour-and-a-half plane ride away from Unalakleet, so if I got homesick I could be home in a jiffy. I will be starting my program through distance education courses online. I’m so grateful for technology because it makes it possible for me to stay in my home community and continue with schooling!

Once I get my degree, I am hoping to work with high school students to help them plan for their futures. I think guidance counseling is the perfect job for me because I have a lot of hope in our younger generations.

I began my college education in August of 2004 with a plan of graduating in exactly four years with a degree in psychology. It didn’t happen, as most plans don’t. In November of 2006, I welcomed my first son, Keane, to the world. I was a single mom at the time and almost dropped out of college. My mom has been a strong advocate for me to finish what I started, so she helped with taking care of Keane while I went to school. Now I have two boys who are healthy, happy, and very much lively. Keane is now 5 and his brother, Brian, is 4. It was a challenge trying to balance school with young children, but it all worked out. I try to get the word out to young mothers that, “Just because you have young kids doesn’t mean that you can’t go to college.” I’ve noticed a lot more young mothers from my village attaining higher education now. It’s a good feeling to know that we can depend on ourselves!

Our people live mostly off the land throughout the year. In the summer we do a lot of fishing for salmon (silvers, kings, chum, humpies, and trout). There’s no better feeling than the one you get when you catch your first silver of the year. Autumn calls for moose hunting. Spring is the time for bird hunting (geese, crane, ptarmigan, and ducks) as well as egg hunting. We love to go egg hunting down the coast. It may sound weird, but many Alaska Natives eat seagull eggs and eider duck eggs like most Americans eat chicken eggs. They really are a delicacy to our people.

Early spring is also a great time to go out and shoot a caribou. Caribou is my favorite meat. The back strap of the caribou is the most tender meat I’ve ever eaten in my life. I personally would rather have a caribou burger over a hamburger any day.

Besides fishing, some of my hobbies are boating, traveling, photography, and visiting with family and friends. I’m also a sucker for WWE Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown. Everyone tells me it’s fake wrestling, but I’ve grown up watching it and I find it very entertaining. My all-time favorite wrestler is The Undertaker. He is as good as he was when he first started wrestling 20 years ago. Not many wrestlers will ever have a record like his.

This intro was just the tip of the iceberg. In my coming blogs you will learn a little more about me and culture. If you have any questions about Alaska or my hometown, please do ask in the comments. They are more than welcome and I will try to answer. And NO we do not have polar bears as pets and we do not live in igloos. It is pretty warm outside (41 degrees). The igloo would melt in this weather!


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