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Kudos for Documentary on Alaska Native College Students

“... a touching and relevant face on this issue with moving stories of our students.” — UAA Chancellor Fran Ulmer

BlankA documentary funded by grants from First National Bank Alaska's “Getting Ready for College” initiative and BP-Conoco Phillips is being distributed throughout the UA system. It is being used by student advisors and counselors to help prepare Alaska Natives for college. Portions of Alaska College Track 2 have been shown at several national College Board conferences on first time college students.

Alaska College Track 2 tells the stories of college students who represent the population least likely to succeed in the state: Alaska Natives. Varied odds are against them, but the young people featured are set on a higher education.  The program began in 2004 as a local companion to a national PBS series. Short feature packages showed first generation students from small Southeast Alaskan villages initiating the daunting transition from rural community to urban university life at UAS, UAA and UAF. Alaska College Track 2 reveals their achievements and struggles in 2007.

Alaska College Track 2 shares how one student used the heartbreaking loss of her brother to reassess her goals and get back on the college track.  It shows cultural identity and traditions helping rural students stay in school. The documentary raises issues such as the High School Qualifying Exam, cultural differences, and the expectation gap between high schools and post-secondary educators.

In a recent letter to Alaska College Track 2 producer and UAS Marketing Director Katie Bausler, UAA Chancellor Fran Ulmer wrote that the program puts, “a touching and relevant face on this issue with moving stories of our students.” Ulmer writes that recommendations to improve Alaska Native graduation rates in a recent ISER report are echoed in Alaska College Track 2.

Alaska College Track 2 is the recipient of 2008 state, regional and national awards. It was awarded 2nd Place by the Alaska Press Club and 3rd Place by the Society of Professional Journalists Northwest in the Documentary category.  The program is the recipient of a Communicator Award of Distinction from the International Academy of the Visual Arts.

Katie Bausler is the writer, host and producer of Alaska College Track 2. Former UAS Marketing Director Kevin Myers is Associate Producer.


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