Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 4:06 PM on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Homer student among 13 awarded ATIA scholarships




ANCHORAGE – The Alaska Travel Industry Association recently awarded scholarships totaling $15,000 to 13 students from around Alaska, including one from Homer.

The scholarship funds were raised through the ATIA Foundation, a program designated to offer tuition assistance to Alaska students who plan to pursue a career in the visitor industry.

"Students with an interest in Alaska's visitor industry play an immense role in the future of tourism in our state," said ATIA President and COO Ron Peck. "By supporting students and professionals who want to stay in Alaska and pursue careers in tourism we are not only investing in them, but in the visitor industry as a whole."

ATIA Foundation scholarships are made possible by company and personal donations, and by ATIA community chapter fundraising efforts. The program is open to full- or part-time post-secondary students.

Recipients of the scholarships each received between $1,000 and $2,500 and were selected 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.

2011 Scholarship Winners:

Feodora Basargin of Homer was the recipient of the Kris Geldaker Memorial Scholarship, a one-year, $2,500 scholarship funded through the ATIA Ketchikan Chapter for students pursuing a degree in tourism or maritime-related field. Basargin currently attends the Kachemak Bay Campus of the Kenai Peninsula College. She plans to transfer to the University of Alaska Anchorage in the fall of 2011 where she will continue to pursue a bachelor of arts degree in hospitality and restaurant management. Basargin also plans to complete an associate degree in culinary arts during her time at UAA.

Zach Johnson of Eagle River received an ATIA Foundation Scholarship, a one-year, $1,500 scholarship funded through member pledges. Johnson plans to use his scholarship to continue his bachelor's degree in business administration and economics at the UAA and hopes to work in the Alaska travel industry after earning a master's degree.

Shirley Cleaver of Galena, whose passion for the visitor industry stems from her professional goals to operate her own tourism business in Galena, is the recipient of the ATIA Rural Scholarship. Cleaver plans to use the $1,000 toward her education at the University of Alaska Southeast to obtain her Master of Business Administration.

Elizabeth Kiddle of Anchorage is the recipient of the $1,000 ATIA Anchorage Chapter Scholarship, funded through donations raised by the ATIA Anchorage Chapter. Kiddle recently transferred to UAA and plans to complete a degree in hospitality and restaurant management in December 2012.

Also a recipient of the ATIA Anchorage Chapter Scholarship, Jody Overstreet of Anchorage is a tourism sales manager for the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau. Overstreet is working to complete a bachelor's degree in journalism and public communications at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She will use her $1,000 scholarship to finish her education and pursue a career as a travel writer and photographer.

The last recipient of the ATIA Anchorage Chapter Scholarship, Kelley Sefton of Seward, spent her summers working in the tourism industry and understands that it is key to her local economy. She plans to use her $1,000 scholarship toward her education at a four-year university where she will pursue a bachelor's degree in business administration or finance.

Jesse Carlstom of Anchorage is the recipient of the ATIA Continuing Education Scholarship, awarded to adult students pursuing tourism-related studies or professional certification. Carlstrom will use this $1,000 scholarship to help finance his education as he works toward his Master of Business Administration at UAA. He currently works as the travel trade and international marketing manager at ATIA.

John Mobly of Anchorage was awarded the Chuck West Memorial Scholarship of $1,000, funded through an endowment in memory of Chuck West, the Alaska tourism pioneer known as "Mr. Alaska" who passed away in 2005. He will use his scholarship to continue pursuing a bachelor's degree in hospitality and restaurant management at UAA. Mobly was an onboard tour guide for the Alaska Railroad from May through September of 2009.

Also a recipient of an ATIA Foundation Scholarship, Dragon London of Ketchikan is working toward funding her future education at George Washington University. She will use the $1,000 scholarship towards a certificate in sustainable tourism management.

Another recipient of an ATIA Foundation Scholarship, Megan Ostendorf of Anchorage, will use her $1,000 scholarship toward a bachelor's degree in business administration and management at Alaska Pacific University. Ostendorf currently works for the Alaska Railroad as a corporate administrative support technician.

Christy Hand of Palmer was awarded the Alaska Hotel and Lodging Association Scholarship of $1,000. Palmer plans to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks and major in business management with an emphasis in hospitality management. She intends to continue her involvement with the visitor industry by working at the Palmer Museum and Visitor Information Center in the summer.

Mackenzie Barnwell of Seward is the recipient of the one-year $1,000 Princess Vocational Scholarship. Barnwell plans on attending Macalester College in Minnesota where she will pursue a bachelor's degree in the fields of media and international studies. She would like to return to Seward after graduation and hopes to become a part of her father's business, Alaska Fjord Charters.

Laurel Stark of Juneau is the recipient of the Alaska Cruise Association Scholarship. She plans to use the $1,000 scholarship toward her education in international relations, and hopes to one day become a partner in an ecotourism business, sharing the environment of Southeast Alaska with visitors.

The Alaska Travel Industry Association is a non-profit, member-based, visitor industry trade association that conducts marketing on behalf of the State of Alaska and represents the industry in the policy arena. ATIA's membership is comprised of more than 1,100 large and small tourism and travel-related businesses throughout the state of Alaska.

For more information about ATIA, visit www.AlaskaTIA.org.

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