Naturally Inspiring


Select the image to see the 2015 Scholarship Breakfast Program.

A note from Chancellor Rogers:

To celebrate our 100th anniversary in 2017, we aim to create a legacy where education is more affordable at UAF. The culture of philanthropy at UAF is healthy and continues to grow each

year. To better engage our donors we created several new fundraising initiatives. Through the Centennial Scholarship and Fellowship initiative, private funds will boost existing scholarship and fellowship awards, while also creating new sources of support for students at UAF. This important initiative, chaired by today’s speaker, Bob Mitchell, launches this month with a goal of raising an additional $1 million in new philanthropic support for UAF scholarships by the end of 2017!

As scholarship donors at UAF, Sherry and I are honored to host this event. More than 450 privately funded scholarships and awards were created at UAF by alumni and friends such as you. Today, this support results in more than $1 million each year for UAF students.

We sincerely thank you for your generosity toward students through scholarships. You are changing lives and inspiring the future leaders of tomorrow.


Chancellor Brian Rogers

Chelsea Roehl

Inspiring Others Through Artwork

Born and raised in Fairbanks, Chelsea Roehl is an avid runner, archer, hunter and video gamer. In her sophomore year at UAF, she is majoring in art with a concentration in digital art and graphical design. She wants to work  in the video game industry. “My goal in life is to inspire others with my artwork and to have them aspire to do great things just like myself,” she said.

Chelsea chose UAF for its smaller class sizes and their ability to foster stronger student- professor mentoring. This student-focused environment has enabled Chelsea to excel in her studies and nurture her artistic talent. “UAF has a truly great community of staff, students and professors, and I am most glad I chose to spend my undergraduate college years here,” she said.

When not studying or attending class, Chelsea works part time as a student graphic artist for two separate departments on campus. This real-world experience not only better prepares her for when she graduates but also helps pay  for her schooling. But, above all, being awarded scholarships has been a truly motivating experience. “Every scholarship I have earned has made me more than ecstatic, and I absolutely appreciate all those who make them possible for students like me,” Chelsea said. “Scholarships  are immensely important, as they help people to pursue their dreams and not get riddled with student loans.”

Chelsea is the recipient of the 2014–2015 Colin Gilmore Memorial Scholarship.

Sindy Mendez-Espino

Leading The Way By Example

Sindy Mendez-Espino was born in Phoenix and moved to Fairbanks when she was 4 years old. UAF was a natural fit, as it allowed her to continue her education while remaining close to friends and family. Throughout her student career, Sindy has worked and volunteered while attending school full time. She has volunteered for her church as a choir member and religious education teacher, and as a tutor for the Literacy Council of Alaska and Step-In Autism Services of Alaska. A senior, Sindy is looking forward to graduating with her B.A. in elementary education.

This year, Sindy started her student-teacher internship, which requires an intensive focus on her second-grade classroom in addition to her current full-time academic credit load. “The extensive hours make it very difficult to work,” she said. “The scholarships that I received have really made it possible for me to focus on my studies and be the best teacher that I can be while working with my students.”

Being the second-oldest of six, Sindy wanted to set a good example for her younger siblings by being the first in her family to attend college. As a first-generation college student, she had to overcome many unfamiliar challenges. “When I received a scholarship, it gave me a feeling of pride. I knew my hard work and perseverance were being recognized,” she said. “The scholarships from generous donors have made it possible for me to walk this May and show my siblings what possibilities there are and that if you work hard for something, you will achieve it.”

Sindy is the recipient of the 2014-2015 Anne Luke Memorial Scholarship and the Lois E. Meier Scholarship.

Bob Mitchell

Giving Has Its Own Rewards

Bob Mitchell, a UAF alumnus and donor, said “I’ve found that the satisfaction I get from helping others is something I can’t get anywhere else.” Perhaps this is why Bob’s giving to UAF spans more than two decades. He began giving after he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1990. Since that time, Bob and his wife, Heather, an alumna, have supported numerous funds and established the North Pole Patriots Scholarship in 2009.

In 2015, Bob agreed to couple his giving to UAF with his time. He is the co-chair for the UAF Centennial Scholarship and Fellowship fundraising initiative, which aims to make education more affordable at UAF. Through the Centennial Scholarship and Fellowship initiative, private funds will boost existing scholarship and fellowship awards, while also creating new sources of support for students at UAF. This initiative builds off UAF’s centennial celebrations and will be underway until 2017.

Originally from North Pole, Bob attended UAF and received support through the Honors Program and the North Pole Rotary Scholarship. He chose UAF not only because of the support he received but also because of its proximity to his hometown and the value it presented. After graduation, Bob joined the UAF Alumni Association because he believes in maintaining a connection with his alma mater. That connection has since grown into a strong bond that includes philanthropy and enthusiasm. Now, Bob encourages others to support UAF and the students who wish to pursue their studies here in the Interior.

“We came to a point in our lives where we looked around and asked the question, ‘What can we do to have the biggest impact?’” Bob said. “After some debate, soul-searching and discussions, Heather and I came to the conclusion that if we could alter the course of someone’s life early, that would create the greatest impact.”

In addition to supporting UAF, Bob and Heather Mitchell support literacy for children and the University of Alaska Southeast. The couple resides in Juneau but remain Nanooks at heart!

Back to Top