Olga Skinner

Ph.D.  Indigenous Studies

Meeta Cesler-Maloney

Olga Skinner is a Mellon Fellow and spring 2022 Ph.D. graduate in Indigenous Studies. Dr. Skinner has worked as an academic advisor for Rural Student Services and advised the UAF Chapter of the American Indian Science & Engineering Society. Through this work, she discovered her interest in researching higher education in the STEM fields related to the Alaska Native populations. 

Dr. Skinner's dissertation, The Stem Trail: Alaska Native Undergraduates Find The Right Path In Higher Education, focuses on the degree-related decisions students make as they pursue STEM degrees on the Troth Yeddha' campus. She says, "I can't imagine doing my study at another institution because UAF offers an opportunity to bring in Indigenous knowledge through the Indigenous Studies Program, which was foundational to my research."  Her advice to incoming graduate students is to find good mentors.

The Graduate School would like to applaud Dr. Skinner for her perseverance. She overcame the challenges of working full time and raising children while simultaneously pursuing her doctoral degree one course at a time. She also earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from UAF. She is currently an Assistant Professor at UAF School of Education with the Alaska Indigenous Teacher Corps where she recruits and supports Alaska Native students pursuing teaching degrees at UAF.