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Alaska Travel Industry Association Awards $20,500 in Tourism Scholarships


ANCHORAGE – The Alaska Travel Industry Association Foundation recently awarded scholarships to ten students from Anchorage, Eagle River, Fairbanks and Ketchikan totaling $20,500.

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.

“Tourism plays an integral role in Alaska’s economy as the second largest private-sector employer in the state,” said ATIA President and COO Ron Peck. “It is important to invest in the future of Alaska’s visitor industry by supporting students who want to stay in Alaska and work in tourism.”

ATIA Foundation scholarships are made possible by generous 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 scholarship each received between $1,000 and $5,000 and were selected from a pool of qualified applicants from across Alaska. The selection criteria included academic achievement, tourism-oriented career goals, letters of reference and an essay each applicant wrote about their future plans.

2010 Scholarship Winners:


Zachary Johnson of Anchorage was awarded the Chuck West Memorial scholarship of $1,000 this year, 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 at the University of Alaska, Anchorage and continue to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics.

Rebekah Miller of Ketchikan 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. This scholarship is worth $2,500 per year and renewable for up to four years. Miller has worked in the visitor industry in a passenger service capacity for Allen Marine Tours. She plans to attend American University in Bulgaria to acquire a degree in communication studies so that she may better expand her knowledge of other cultures and enhance her skills for a future in the tourism industry.

Megan Ostendorf of Anchorage received the $1,000 Princess Cruises and Tours Vocational Scholarship. She will apply this scholarship toward obtaining her bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from Alaska Pacific University. Ostendorf has gained experience in the industry working as a passenger service agent with the Alaska Railroad and hopes to continue a career with the Alaska Railroad.

Catherine Burtness-Adams of Fairbanks was awarded the Alaska Hotel & Lodging Association scholarship of $1,000. While attending Drexel University on the East Coast, Burtness-Adams spent several summers back in Alaska, working in a variety of Fairbanks hotels including two Fountainhead Hotels properties: Wedgewood Resort and Bridgewater Hotel. She plans to return to Alaska to pursue a career in eco-tourism.

Jon Mobley of Eagle River received the $3,000 ATIA Anchorage Chapter Scholarship, funded through donations raised by the ATIA Anchorage Chapter.  Mobley plans to pursue a degree in hospitality and restaurant management at the University of Alaska Anchorage and hopes to one day own his own resort.

Dyan Baguio of Anchorage
received the largest scholarship, the ATIA Two-Year Scholarship worth $5,000 over the next two years. Baguio hopes to obtain a degree in the field of hospitality and restaurant management with a minor in business administration, and plans to use her experience having worked as a tour guide with the Alaska Railroad to promote the State of Alaska to visitors from around the world.

Connor Jepson of Ketchikan, whose experience in the visitor industry comes from working for the U.S. Forest Service, is the recipient of the ATIA Rural Scholarship. Having enjoyed the experience of presenting information about Alaska to visitors at the Southeast Alaska Discover Center, Jepson aspires to pursue a career in the visitor industry and he plans use the $2,500 to obtain a bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State University.

Patrick White of Anchorage, who is currently earning his bachelor’s degree at Alaska Pacific University, received one of the two ATIA Continuing Education Scholarships, for adult students pursuing tourism-related studies or professional certification. White will use his $1,000 scholarship to continue his education in business administration and management in order to further his career.  

The other Continuing Education Scholarship winner, Jesse Carlstrom of Anchorage, is currently the Travel Trade & International Marketing Manager with the Alaska Travel Industry Association and was awarded a $2,500 scholarship to assist with his goal of obtaining his master’s of business administration from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

Megan Reneé Alletson of Anchorage received the $1,000 ATIA One-Year Scholarship, a one-year, $1,000 scholarship funded through member pledges. Alletson has worked in the visitor industry doing everything from working in a restaurant, to public relations and event planning. She hopes to use these funds to pursue her education and career in the visitor industry.

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 <http://www.AlaskaTIA.org> .

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