IAC Faculty and Staff Directory
Interior Alaska Campus
Julie is Gwich’in and Navajo, originally from Canyon Village/Fort Yukon, Alaska and Shiprock, New Mexico. Julie grew up in Fort Yukon, Arkansas, Texas, and Fairbanks. She is tribally enrolled in Canyon Village/Fort Yukon and is an at-large shareholder of the interior regional Native Corporation Doyon, Limited.
Julie previously worked as the communications manager position for the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments (CATG), a consortium of tribes based in the Yukon Flats. She previously managed the Native American Career and Technical Education Program grant for CATG since 2018. Before that, she worked for Doyon, Limited for 20 years.
Julie holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics from the University of California Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in capital markets from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Student Success Coordinator
Robin Brooks has a Masters degree in Environmental Science Education from Antioch University New England. She has been working as the Student Success Coordinator for Interior Alaska Campus since 2011. Her duties include advising students into degree programs, especially the Associate of Science degree program. She coaches students who may be struggling academically and supervises the Writing tutor for Interior Alaska students. Robin often travels to remote villages to assist with registration, admissions and FAFSA applications. She facilitates a variety of workshops for classes at IAC, including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Strengthsfinder, and Strong Interest Inventory.
Bruce L. Ervin
Term Assistant Professor of Language and Culture
Tok, Alaska 99780
Bruce L. Ervin is an Upper Tanana Dene and Tribal member of Northway Village. Bruce is an alumni with the UAF Tribal Governance and Stewardship program and graduated with his Certificate and A.A.S in Tribal Management in 2017 and 2018. He is also an alumni with the UAF Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development program graduating in 2020 with a BA in Alaska Native Studies with a concentration in Alaska Native Law, Government, and Politics. Bruce and his wife Sam live in Tok, Alaska.When Bruce is not working, he spends his time learning traditional ecological knowledge. He enjoys spending time out on the land, rivers, lakes, and learning ancestral ways of knowing from Elders, Aunties, and Uncles so he can pass on the knowledge to the next generations.
A. Colleen Gaona
Community Outreach Facilitator
UAF Interior Alaska Campus
Sue has more than twenty years of experience in academia in Alaska in undergraduate and graduate programs in both human services and psychology. She has extensive experience in online education, academic advising and career counseling, curriculum development, and program evaluation. Mentoring and supervising student engagement in the community including practica, internships, service learning, and research projects are areas of special interest.
In addition to her academic experiences, Sue has served chair of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Behavioral Health Aide Academic Review Committee and worked as a Behavioral Health Practitioner providing integrated behavioral health services with emphases on substance use disorders, crisis intervention, and domestic violence.
Sue is currently completing a Master of Public Administration degree at the University of Alaska Anchorage and received her doctorate in psychology from Indiana University, Bloomington.
Fort Yukon Center
James (Ryan) Ford
Construction Trades Technology
Eric attended UAF graduating with both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in business. Born and raised in Fairbanks, Eric grew up in and around UAF. Attending the visual art academy on campus as a youth sparked his interest in various art forms and his interest in building a business around them.
Kevin M. Illingworth, JD
Kevin Illingworth is a Professor of Tribal Government with the Department of Tribal
Governance at UAF. Kevin was raised in Alaska’s Interior and graduated from North
Pole High School and the University of Alaska Fairbanks before receiving his Law Degree
from the University of Idaho. Prior to joining the University of Alaska Fairbanks
in 2002, Kevin worked for Mentasta Traditional Council and Cheesh’na Tribal Council
on the development of tribal laws, tribal courts, and tribal law enforcement.
At UAF, Kevin primarily teaches courses in topics such as Tribal Government, Federal Indian Law, Tribal Constitutions and Codes, ICWA, and Child Protection and Tribal Justice issues. He has extensive experience in curriculum development, assessment, and instructional technology, primarily focused on adult Indigenous student education, with a strong commitment to place-based education. Professor Illingworth has presented at numerous Conferences and Symposiums and has previously served as Interim Dean, Department Chair, and on many Advisory Boards and Councils.
Debra Dzijúksuk O’Gara is Tlingit, Yupik, Irish and raven from the Teeyhitaan clan and the Cedar Bark House of Wrangell, is an Assistant Professor in the Tribal Governance Department of the Rural and Community Development College.
She has worked in the legal field for 32 years primarily for several Northwest Tribes in Washington and the Tlingit & Haida Tribes in Southeast Alaska. Since 2007 she has helped to build and developed the Tlingit & Haida Court first as a Magistrate, then the elected Chief Justice, the Presiding Justice and now a Pro Tem Judicial Officer. Most recently she has also worked for the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center as the Senior Policy Specialist on domestic violence and sexual assault issues.
In addition to focusing on a legal career, Professor O’Gara continued her education by earning a master’s in public administration at the University of Alaska Southeast in 2013 and currently as a PhD candidate at the UAF Indigenous Studies program she is researching dispute resolution practices and justice systems among the Tlingit people before Western colonialization.
Professor O’Gara currently resides in Petersburg, Alaska and comes from a mixed family of fighters, survivors and victims’ – some with education; successful careers in law, government and church; alcoholism; violence; poverty; challenges; and trauma. Her mom, Carol O’Gara, and Auntie, Joan Baijot, were born and raised in Mountain Village, Alaska. Their mother, Frances Tamaree Sheppard was born in Wrangell was a nurse and healer. Her maternal grandfather, George Sheppard, was born in Saint Michael and was a trader. Her great grandmother was Tillie Paul Tamaree, a civil rights activist and mother to William and Louis Paul, and Tillie’s second husband, her great grandfather, William Tamaree, was a community leader, peacemaker, and a carver.
Professor O’Gara enjoys creating art in all forms and in the last several years has concentrated on weaving – spruce root and cedar bark basketry, Ravenstail and Chilkat where she reconnects with her ancestors, learning stories, history, and lessons.
IT Support & Social Media
Associate of Science Program
Carrie Stevens’ passionately works for the advancement of Indigenous self-governance
and stewardship. She serves as Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of
Tribal Governance at the College of Rural and Community Development, University of
Stevens has 22 years of experience in designing and delivering place-based educational programs to advance Indigenous self-governance, tribal sovereignty, and stewardship through partnerships with tribal governments, communities, and peoples. Carrie serves as the PI of the USDA funded Alaska Native Food and Energy Sovereignty award for the College of Rural and Community Development, a collaboration enhancing educational equity to build Indigenous leadership for community food and energy security.
Stevens served as lead negotiator for tribal self-governance negotiations between the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments and the USFWS and the BLM. She is active in advocacy and organizing efforts for the protection of Alaska Native hunting and fishing rights and traditional ways of life. She holds a Master of International and Intercultural Management.
She is married to Ben Stevens, Dinyee Hutanne, Koyukon Athabascan from Stevens Village Alaska, with whom she raises her son Alexander. They enjoy being on the river and in the village when they are not at their desks working on behalf of Alaska Natives.
Tribal GovernancePersonal availability link
Laurie is the "point of contact" for the Tribal Governance Department. She will be
advising any students taking courses in TG and the primary advisor for those working
toward a TG certificate or degree. She will support them with everything from FAFSA
and registration to preparing for graduation and a career. She supports TG faculty
with course materials, events, communications, and a number of other things.
Prior to her position as Coordinator of the Tribal Governance Department, Trotta spent the last six years working as Coordinator with the Migrant Education Program which supports students and their families living a subsistence lifestyle, fishing, and berry picking. Trotta has dedicated her career to education helping students reach their highest potential by finding the path that best suits them and to the sustainability of the natural environment.
Trotta started her career as a fish biologist, aquaculturist, and aquatic ecologist before moving on to teach a variety of aquaculture, aquatic science, and renewable resource courses. She also advised an Outdoor Recreation Club for 12 years in which the students did everything from backpacking in the Adirondack Mountains to hiking in Denali National Park to surfing in Costa Rica.
After 22 years of university service at New York State Agriculture and Technology colleges, Trotta moved to Fairbanks, a longtime second home that is now her primary home. She has served on the Board of the Friends of Creamer's Field from 2015 to 2021. In her spare time, she likes to spend time out of doors with her dogs, hiking, paddling, fishing, and berry picking. Indoors, she enjoys cooking, consulting on Epicure, doing yarn crafts, drawing Zentangles, or reading.
Interior Alaska Campus offers vast opportunities for building your career while helping
shape the future of Alaska.
UA is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual.