Rural Alaska Honors Institute in the News

2018 Graduation News Stories

Debbie Mekiana: Rural Alaska students need support to make most of opportunities

Read the story here

Unalaska’s Lisa Tran Named RAHI Salutatorian: listen to the KUCB Radio here


2017 Rural Alaska Honors Institute

Dreamt it. Planned it. Did it.
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner A1

After Rejection, Unalaksa Student Earns Top Honors at RAHI

UAF phoot by JR Ancheta
KUCB story by Berett Wilbur

Brian Conwell is greeted like rock star when he steps up to the microphone, surrounded by cheering teenagers from across Alaska. But he doesn’t burst into song.

“I’m Brian Conwell, and I’m a RAHI reject,” he tells the crowd.

When Conwell applied to the Rural Alaska Honors Institute (RAHI) last spring, he was wait-listed. But after a last-minute invitation and six weeks of grueling college courses, Conwell has found himself headlining graduation as the valedictorian.

More at KUCB  Download the radio story.

Tri-Valley grad with MD credits rural outreach program for success

A young married couple who grew up in Healy officially became medical doctors this weekend. Ben Renshaw and his wife, Grace Milliken Renshaw, both Tri-Valley School grads, successfully completed medical school at the University of Washington. 

They will begin a year of residency at Gonzaga University. Then, they will spend four years at the University of Arizona in Tucson, specializing in diagnostic radiology.

There were many keys to their success. But one Alaska high school program that prepared Ben for his career continues to help other students. That is the Rural Alaska Honors Institute, which Ben attended when he was a high schooler in Healy. For more read Kris Capps column in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Kris Capps: Congratulations to RAHI's Class of 2017
UAF photo by JR Ancheta
RAHI 2017- Kris Capps column on July 13, 2017

Congratulations to graduates of the 2017 Rural Alaska Honors Institute program, which will hold a cap-and-gown graduation ceremony from 1-2:30 p.m. today in the Schiable Auditorium at University of Alaska Fairbanks.

A reception will follow from 2:30-3:30 p.m. outside at the Circle of Flags

This is the 35th graduation for this program, which is under the umbrella of the College of Rural and Community Development.

This year’s enrollment of 42 students comes from 22 communities across the state, including Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kasigluk, Kotzebue, Noatak, Scammon Bay, St. Mary’s, Wainwright, Bethel, Galena, Ketchikan, Mountain Village, Nome, Selawik, Unalaska, Chevak, Homer, Kipnuk, Nenana, Savoonga, Sitka and Utqiagvik.

It’s a six-week summer college preparatory program for rural and Alaska Native college-bound high school juniors and seniors.

The approximately 2,000 RAHI graduates have impressive track records. Alumni have gone on to become doctors, pharmacists, physical therapists,  optometrists and more. Eight graduates went on to earn law degrees, some at prestigious universities, including Yale, Harvard and Berkeley, and there are hundreds of bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and certificates and 111 master’s degrees.

Liz Ross: RAHI's Business Instructor
Photo by Durango Herald/  Small Business Development Center
By Mary Shinn

At the University of Alaska Fairbanks, she was the MBA program director and was the business and karate instructor for Rural Alaska Honors Institute. She mentored the Native Alaskan Business Leaders, a student organization, and founded a martial arts class.

The six-week Rural Alaska Honors Institute, a summer program for high school students, was an opportunity for some of her students to adjust to life outside their villages.

“Some of them are shocked that you buy meat in a store in Fairbanks,” she said. Buying and eating caribou, moose and whale was the norm for some of her students.

The institute was set up to help students overcome homesickness that was leading many Alaskan Native students to drop out of college, sometimes just a few weeks after starting school.

The Alaska Federation of Natives set up the institute in part because in 1972, Congress organized Alaska Natives into 13 regional corporations. Instead of establishing reservations, the corporations were given lump sums of money to invest in business ventures, Ross said.

The federation wanted to encourage young Alaskan Natives to finish college so they could bring back new ideas to their villages and regional corporations to help sustain the businesses, she said.

She recalled telling her students: “This time here, you need to spend to learn, so you can grow, so you can go back and work in your village.”

Read the Durango Herald story here.

Alaska needs RAHI's graduates: Young rural scholars can help chart course for communities, state

UAF photo by JR Ancheta

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Editorial

"News-Miner opinion: Summer school is a prospect dreaded by most students. So an outside observer at Thursday’s Rural Alaska Honors Institute graduation could be forgiven for being confused at the joyousness of the several dozen young people wearing caps and gowns, having just completed six weeks of classes during the heart of the Interior summer. Now in its 35th year, the RAHI program has been helping the best of Alaska’s rural communities further their educations and make the most of the future. The program’s graduates this year are finishing RAHI at as precipitous a time as any in its history — Alaska and its communities are always in need of good young leaders."

Read more online or download PDF

2016 Rural Alaska Honors Institute Graduation

2016 RAHI News

Rural Alaska Honor Institute’s tradition of academic excellence builds future leaders

Read the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner story

Largest Rural Alaska Honors Institute class graduates in 2016

Read the UAF news story

Arctic students take top honors at RAHI 

Read the Arctic Sounder story

RAHI 2016 Salutatorian Comes from Bethel, with roots in Quinhagak

Read the KYUK story about Larissa Strunk

Program bridges gap between village, college

Read the Arctic Sounder story

2015 RAHI News

Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) Ruralite Magazine!

Click to see the article in their February 2015 issue.


RAHI is the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner!

Click to see the article from February 26, 2015

Editorial: Forging future rural leaders- Rural honors institute helps village students adapt to college

UAF Photo by JR Ancheta

Editorial in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner- June 24, 2015

2014 RAHI News

Listen to what the 2014 students had to say about RAHI!

Click to listen to what 2014 students had to say about RAHI

UAF RAHI Alum featured in UAF's Inspiring Stories.

Sierra Corsetti, a RAHI alum, is featured in UAF's Inspiring Stories. Check out the amazing things she is doing now. 

RAHI alum accepted into first class of new  UA Vet Med program!

UAF and CSU offered undergraduate Chris Clement (front center) a spot in their joint veterinary medicine program. From left are Christine Hardy, who oversees admissions and student services for CSU’s veterinary program; Todd O’Hara, coordinator of UAF’s veterinary student services; and Arleigh Reynolds, associate dean for UAF’s Department of Veterinary Medicine (UAF Cornerstone 12/15/14)

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