Talk Story, Write Story
The three Alaska students are seen with two of their mentors from the Talk Story, Write Story program.

Three Alaska Students Receive Gates Millennium Scholarships


Chosen from more than 52,000 applicants, three Alaska high school students have been awarded with prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship, which provides an all-expense paid undergraduate education at any accredited college in the United States. The scholarship also included up to 10 years of schooling through the doctorate level in the select fields of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science.

“Only 1,000 recipients are chosen annually from around the nation to receive this scholarship. These three students are among the luckiest young people in the United States, but they also are incredibly worthy and worked very, very hard to achieve this award,” said Steve Nelson, Public Information Coordinator for the Association of Alaska School Boards. “They also had tremendous support from many helping hands, especially their teachers. It has been a life-changing experience for all involved, especially the students.”

These three girls—Mary Pingayak and Kyla Fermoyle, who are of Cup’ik descent, and May Brown, who is Filipino American—were mentored in the Talk Story, Write Story writing program, which is sponsored by the Association of Alaska School Boards. The program’s goal is to train 100 Alaska teachers to mentor students and substantially increase their ability to attend college through the Gates and other scholarships.

Pingayak and Fermoyle plan to attend the University of Alaska Anchorage in the fall to major in education and pre-med, respectively. Brown plans to attend the University of Portland School of Nursing.

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