Alberta Jones, PhD Indigenous Studies Candidate
Alberta Jones is an Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Juneau for the past eight years. She is a tenure track faculty and teaches in the teacher education program. Alberta grew up in Sitka, Alaska, with her mother, Corrine Sundberg Brown from Larsen Bay on Kodiak Island and father, Albert Nelson, is from Ketchikan and Metlakatla. She is of Tsimshian, Alutiiq, Russian, Hispanic, Norwegian, Swedish, and German decent.
During her public school teaching years, she taught in the Juneau School District at middle school level and upper elementary levels. She worked on two master’s degrees, while also having a family when teaching. She coached many sports during her ten years at middle school. Middle school coaching and teaching were a very rewarding part of her teaching experience. Alberta then moved into administrative work and served as a grant director, coordinating multiple large federal Native education grant programs. A highlight was coordinating many secondary level summer science camps, including a role as a cultural coordinator with Alaska Native Student Wisdom Enrichment Retreat (ANSWER) Camp, which typically involved 80 Alaska Native students from 40 rural communities. The academically rigorous, STEM camps embedded place-based education with integrating several standards-based content areas and culturally responsive curriculum in the two-week intensive camp programs.
Following her 20-year retirement, she moved to metro DC with her federal employee husband, Peter and son, Bruce. Alberta then taught in Maryland’s Montgomery County Public schools. She greatly valued the opportunity and benefited from it with gaining knowledge in rigorous assessment models. Following her husband’s two-year job detail in Washington DC, they drove back to Alaska and within six hours of arrival she began teaching at UAS and entered University of Alaska Fairbanks Indigenous Studies PhD program a month later.
While teaching at UAS, Alberta completed her PhD degree in Indigenous Studies with an emphasis in Research. She is also a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society (top 10%) as well as a recipient of the Mellon dissertation Fellowship Scholarship.
Her emphasis area was in Research. She recently successfully defended her dissertation. Her thesis was entitled, “Alaska Native Scholars: A Mixed-Methods Investigation of Factors Influencing their Ph.D. Attainment.” The study is a one of a kind study for Alaska and will have great benefits to Indigenous graduate students and to universities and agencies seeking to recruit, retain, and graduate Alaska Native PhD students. Alberta investigated first-hand information and experiences from nearly all living Alaska Native PhDs, located around the country and overseas in fall 2014. Her study resulted in finding common and unique demographics and factors of the participants. She discovered what motivated them prior and during their doctoral journey, as well as their various types of support networks that contributed to their PhD degree attainment. Ninety-two percent of living Alaska Native PhDs replied to her lengthy survey, which was followed up with ten personal interviews from eight different ethnicities, including diverse degree fields, year of completion, birthplace, and degree location.
Alberta understands the importance of the necessary elements to support Alaska Native graduate (and even undergraduate) students. She enjoys networking with her peers and having fruitful discussions on Native student success in postsecondary education, particularly with the interest of increasing the number of future teachers.
Now that she finished her PhD journey, she would like to work on publication of the important research she has done. Alberta looks forward to getting back to some travel, family time, and other interests.
Dan Ho, PhD in Indigenous Studies Candidate
January Scott, PhD in Indigenous Studies Candidate
Marjorie Kunaq Tahbone, M.A. Cross-Cultural Studies (current student)
Marjorie Kunaq Tahbone grew up in Nome, Alaska and is both Iñupiaq and Kiowa. While growing up she learned how to pick and gather food from the land. Her mother taught her the proper ways to take care of seal and fish to prepare for winter storage. This upbringing guided her to pursue an undergraduate in Alaska Native Studies and a minor in Iñupiaq language. She graduated with her bachelor's degree in 2012. Kunaq is currently working on her master's degree in Cross Cultural Studies. Her emphasis has been on reviving traditional Iñupiaq tattooing and reclamation of our ceremonies. Kunaq has been actively working as an Inuit tattooist in Alaska. She hopes to use her experiences and stories to share with the future generations. Her anticipated graduation date is December 2018.