Submitted by Denise Wartes
Phone: (907) 474-6886
This summer the Rural Alaska Honors Institute--the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Rural Alaska's premiere college preparatory program--will celebrate its 22nd year of helping rural high school students build college-level academic skills in a supportive learning community.
With support from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and Alaska Natives Into Psychology (ANPsych), 45 students have been selected to participate in the six-week campus residence program which begins May 29.
"We help them believe in themselves," said interim coordinator Denise Wartes. "We teach them how to study and we give them the tools to go forward. We have college graduates who come back later and tell us 'I couldn't have done it without RAHI.'"
Organized in 1983 at the request of the Alaska Federation of Natives, RAHI is charged with helping Alaska Natives and rural students make the academic and social transition from high school to college. According to Wartes, approximately 175 RAHI alumni have earned baccalaureate degrees since the program's inception, including five law degrees, and more than 60 have earned associate degrees. Several more are in graduate school, three are attorneys and one is a practicing physician.
RAHI graduates are entering Alaska's professional workforce as engineers, teachers, registered nurses, attorneys, artists, land use planners, Native corporation officers, social workers and tribal administrators, among others. Wartes emphasizes that "RAHI is definitely having an impact."
RAHI participants must be juniors or seniors in high school with a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply. RAHI students receive between 8 – 10 university credits for successfully completed course work that will count toward academic degree requirements. Courses include writing for college, study skills, geo-science, biochemistry, precalculus, psychology, tribal management, Alaska Native dance, web design and swimming.
Students arrive at the UAF campus May 29. A public graduation ceremony and evening awards banquet July 9 will mark the end of the program.