Changing the trajectory of hundreds of lives: Rural Alaska Honors Institute (RAHI)

January Scott

Marina Anderson never thought she was “smart” … until RAHI, a competitive six-week summer program where students live on campus and participate in a rigorous academic program.

“Before RAHI, I couldn’t see myself being capable of research and relaying ideas articulately. RAHI made me see my self-discipline,” shares Marina, who is now working for her tribe in her village of Kasaan, and serving on Kasaan’s Tribal Council. “I am a strong advocate for RAHI, speaking about it whenever people ask how I got to where I am today.”

RAHI, which is hosted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, began in 1983 with the goal of helping high school juniors and seniors from rural Alaska prepare for college and become leaders.

“RAHI is a difference maker. Students don’t come and talk about the challenges of higher education, they live it. They prove to themselves that they can succeed at the college level by taking rigorous college coursework,” says Greg Owens, a faculty member and academic coordinator who has been with RAHI for 34 years. “This program has changed the trajectory of hundreds of students over the past three decades.”

January Scott is another of RAHI’s success stories, experiencing the program both as a student and as a staff member for eight summers. “As a student, I found immense value in being able to experience college life and to prepare myself for the upcoming challenges of leaving home to go to college. As a staff person, I enjoyed working with students across the state to learn and grow from the same experiences that I had the privilege to experience,” shares January, who went on to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, and is a current graduate student at UAF.

“The RAHI program continues to be a relevant, useful and empowering experience for rural youth across the state,” she says.

 

Investments with a Lasting Impact

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