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Alaska Travel Industry Association awards $27,000 in scholarships


July 02, 2007

The Alaska Travel Industry Association (AlaskaTIA) recently awarded 14 scholarships totaling $27,000 to Alaskan students pursuing careers in the visitor industry.

The program, funded through the nonprofit tourism marketing organization's foundation, is designed to offer assistance to promising Alaska residents with an interest in turning their tourism experience into a career.

"Tourism is Alaska's second largest private-sector employer," said Stefanie Gorder, chair of the AlaskaTIA foundation. "By assisting these talented students today, we are helping develop Alaska's skilled work force for the future."

"This scholarship program exhibits tourism's investment in its future. The travel industry offers many excellent career opportunities and AlaskaTIA is committed to helping these students explore these opportunities and develop Alaska's future work force," said AlaskaTIA president and COO, Ron Peck.

The Alaska Travel Industry Association (AlaskaTIA) is the non-profit, member-based, visitor industry trade association that conducts marketing on behalf of the State of Alaska and that represents the industry in the policy arena. AlaskaTIA's membership is comprised of more than 1,100 businesses - from small bed and breakfasts to cruise lines. For more information about the association, please contact Dave Worrell at (907) 929-2842 or visit

2007 Scholarship Winners:

Sean Hovik of Ketchikan received the largest scholarship, the ATIA Two-Year Scholarship worth $5,000. Hovik hopes to pursue a degree in marine transportation at California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, Calif. Hovik grew up on Pennock Island across from Ketchikan and has spent his entire life on the water. He intends to use his degree to become a sea pilot in Southeast Alaska.

Shauna Moore of Chugiak was the recipient of the AlaskaTIA Anchorage Chapter Scholarship, worth $2,500. Moore attends the University of Alaska Anchorage, and is currently studying abroad at Apicius, the Culinary Institute of Florence, Italy. Through an associate's degree in culinary arts and bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management, Moore hopes to one day open her own Parisian-style gourmet café in Alaska.

Maria Benner of Anchorage, who is pursuing her master's in business administration at Alaska Pacific University, received the AlaskaTIA Continuing Education Scholarship for the second year. Benner will use her $2,500 scholarship to continue her MBA to further her career in tourism marketing.

The AlaskaTIA Rural Scholarship went to Jonathon Garrison of Wrangell. Garrison plans to use the $2,500 to attend the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., and obtain a degree in aeronautical science. Garrison has gained a broad knowledge of Alaska tourism from his family's charter-tour based company. Garrison plans to follow a similar path using his passion for flight to begin a sightseeing company.

Mitchell Potter of Ketchikan was one of two recipients awarded The Kris Geldaker Memorial Scholarship worth $2,500. Potter currently attends the California Maritime Academy where he pursues his longstanding dream to become a harbor pilot with the Alaska Marine Highway. The second recipient, Kory Eberhardt of Fairbanks, has previously been awarded the Bob Rocker Memorial Scholarship. Eberhardt will apply his $2,500 towards his business studies degree at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He has already begun construction on a log home in Alaska and hopes to continue his work in tourism as a visitor destination.

The Bob Rocker Memorial Scholarship, funded by Dave and Liz Knightly of Knightly Tours, was awarded to Catherine Burtness-Adams of Fairbanks. Burtness-Adams will apply her scholarship toward a bachelor's degree in hospitality management and an associate's degree in culinary arts. She hopes to open a restaurant that will portray the adventure and distinction she values about Alaska.

Asia Fisher of Wrangell was awarded $1,500 for the Princess Cruises & Tours Scholarship. She is currently pursuing a degree in recreation with an emphasis in tourism from Western Washington University. Her experience working in Alaska tourism has driven her toward a desire to address challenges of the industry in her future career.

The Holland America Line Scholarship was awarded to Tram Anh Nguyen of Ketchikan. Nguyen will use her $1,000 to attend the University of Alaska, Anchorage to study accounting and hotel management. She hopes to eventually become a hotel manager, and provide an atmosphere that will keep guests returning to Alaska.

Ty Nausid of Ketchikan was awarded the Alaska Travel Adventures Scholarship of $1,000. Nausid plans to attend the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, Calif., where he will pursue a business degree. Nausid's goal to become a maritime officer has stemmed from his many treasured experiences in Alaskan waters.

Melissa Stoner of Anchorage received the $1,000 Royal Caribbean Cruises Scholarship. Stoner will use her scholarship to work toward her goal of obtaining her degree in culinary arts and nutrition from Johnson and Wales University in Denver, Colo. Stoner's ultimate goal is to use her education and experience to become a registered dietician and personal chef in Anchorage.

The Chuck West Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Gabrielle Vance of Juneau. Vance will use her $1,000 Scholarship to attend Whitman College and pursue a physics/environmental studies degree. Throughout college, Vance intends to obtain backcountry skiing experience and one day own and operate her own heliskiing business in southeast Alaska.

Chelsea Alletson of Anchorage received the $1,000 ATIA One-Year Scholarship. Alletson will use her scholarship at the Western Culinary Institute of Portland to pursue a degree in restaurant and hotel management. After college she plans to continue working in the hospitality industry and one day manage her own restaurant.

Pamela Winders of Anchorage was awarded the ATIA Continuing Education Award of $1,000. She currently attends Alaska Pacific University where she is pursuing a degree in business management and administration. Winders recently started her own travel business that she hopes to expand through her education.

AlaskaTIA is a statewide non-profit trade association and the ATIA Foundation selected the 14 scholarship winners from a pool of qualified applicants from across Alaska. The selection criteria included academic achievement, tourism-orientated career goals, letters of reference and an essay each applicant wrote about their future plans.



Source of News:

Alaska Travel Industry Association

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