Published April 11, 2024

I was raised in 32 different foster homes in Alaska.
My Tlingit name is Yankwagé Tláa (I am my great-grandmother’s mother). I am Tlingit; born and raised in Southeast Alaska. My moiety is Yéil (Raven) and I am L’uknax.ádi (Coho salmon) from Dry Bay.

At 38 years old, I enrolled at Shasta College. It was a challenging time for me as a single mom with three young children to support. While I had a high school diploma, I knew that I needed to go to college to improve my job prospects. Some of my friends, who were also single moms, were talking about enrolling at Shasta College, so I decided to join them. One of the cool things about Shasta College is that they don’t push to get you in and get you out. It was “do what you can,” and we’ll accommodate what you can do. It just seemed so natural.

Enrolling at Shasta College was surprisingly easy. Within a couple of days of signing up I was applying for FAFSA, meeting with a counselor, and attending an orientation.

Student Success with Teresa Doyle was the best class I took. Teresa gave me so many affirmations that I’m taking some of what I learned from her and implementing it in the course I’m teaching in Alaska. My Sociology classes really spoke to me. Heather Wylie told me that I was a good writer, and I don’t think she realizes the impact she had on me.

All of my teachers were patient. To come to school and be treated as an adult, with healthy expectations and boundaries implemented compassionately and respectfully, was huge!

My tribe in Alaska is opening a learning campus that will become a tribal-based college, and I am helping in that development. I’m so blessed to be a part of something that will be fabulous for the communities I’m a part of. I’m a bit of a fan-girl and am just so grateful for Shasta College!