Caleb Scholars are defined by our

passion for learning, culture and marine conservation.

Caleb left an amazing legacy

…one you can continue.

About Caleb

Caleb PungowiyiEskimo from Savoonga, Alaska, Caleb Lumen Pungowiyi passionately advocated for sustaining Arctic cultures and peoples. A humble man, Caleb worked tirelessly to develop strong relationships between indigenous peoples and the Western science community. A past president of Kawerak, Inc., Caleb served on many boards and commissions, providing incomparable leadership and wisdom. A generous and loving man, Caleb is survived by his wife, Gladys, his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

During his time as President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Caleb negotiated full access for Arctic Indigenous People to participate in meetings of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy.

Caleb served on the Advisory Committees of the National Science Foundation, the Marine Mammal Commission, and the Alaska Native Science Commission and Oceana.

Our current Scholars extend Caleb’s legacy through their active participation at state, national and global conferences on issues facing the Arctic. Through internships, our Scholars work on critical concerns including food security and marine mammal migration.

Caleb also served as the President of Kawerak, Inc., a tribal consortium whose mission is to improve social, cultural, economic and political conditions in the Bering Strait region.

The impact of Caleb's legacy and leadership lives on through the continued encouragement and support of Alaska Native leaders in Arctic and marine conservation.

Caleb Scholars

Meet Joanne Semaken

Meet Joanne Semaken

University of Alaska Anchorage
Biology, Class of 2015
Native Village of Unalakleet

What are your thoughts on marine conservation?

I was raised in Unalakleet where I was taught to respect the land and the river. When I was in high school, my life revolved around sports. I heavily relied on my family to provide. Once I was graduated, my interest in learning how to put food away and preserving as much information about my culture from the elders grew. It also sparked an interest in my “future” family as well. I began to ask questions like: If I don’t learn how to preserve, yet conserve, where will my “future” family get the food that I grew up on? What must I do to help conserve and protect the species that I love so much, so that my kids will have access to these resources? If it wasn’t for my ancestors, who relied heavily on fish, seals, whales, and walruses for thousands of years, without their practices of conserving and upholding a balance with nature, those animals wouldn’t be here today. That realization is when I became interested in marine conservation.

And your future plans?

I plan to graduate in December 2015. My hopes for the future are that my Inupiaq native language will be restored and strengthened. Also, that the next generation will have access to the rich resources and foods that both my ancestors and I have survived on.

Meet Malorie Johnson

University of Alaska Fairbanks
Rural Development, Class of 2015
Native Village of Unalakleet

What are your thoughts on marine conservation?

Marine conservation is cultural preservation; if we protect the ocean and it’s life, we protect our way of life. Day by day, I really try to live by the Inupiaq values, respect, love, humor, humility, hospitality, sharing, knowledge, hard work, spirituality, family and many others. The key for me is making it work day by day.

And your future plans?

I plan to get a Master’s Degree in Rural Development and return to Unalakleet to work/for with Native people.

I love the water; I grew up on the coast, and also right on the mouth of the Unalakleet River. I love the sound of the ocean and all of the life that it brings. I also grew up the Inupiaq way so my values, spirituality, way of life/thinking and drive comes from my background. From this, I believe that we all can truly work together to preserve our cultures, because if we do, we will also be preserving the environment around us.

Right on Malorie, right on!

Meet Amber Otton

Meet Amber Otton

Montanta State University
Biology, Class of 2013
Nome Eskimo Community

Hello Amber! Would you please introduce yourself?

I received the Caleb Pungowiyi Scholarship this past year and it was a high honor to receive. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology this past May where my whole family watched me walk across that stage in Havre, Montana. I feel very blessed for all the support my family and community has given me throughout my college career.

Currently, I am taking an MCAT prep course at the University of North Dakota this summer and will be applying to medical school for fall 2014 admission. I am very busy, but am looking forward to gathering berries off our beautiful tundra, and fishing in the niukluk river once I return home. Although I am always traveling and moving for higher education, Nome is always going to be my home and the one place I find solace in the land.

Good luck Amber! We are excited to call you a [graduated!] Caleb Scholar.

Meet Denali Quyanna Whiting

Meet Denali Quyanna Whiting

University of Alaska Fairbanks
Alaska Native Studies, Class of 2014
Native Village of Kotzebue

Good morning Denali! We hear that you knew Caleb personally.

I did! Caleb was my Lions Club basketball coach in elementary school, teaching teamwork and hard work along with having fun, which all amount to a strong work ethic.

That sounds like an incredible memory to have of Caleb. Along with being active and working hard, Caleb was also deeply committed to protecting our marine resources. In what ways do you engage in marine conservation?

I am an advocate for living a strong, healthy subsistence lifestyle and share my culture with others – and why it is important to keep our oceans clean, healthy, and protected from damage that will affect the marine wildlife which affect my People, as we have a strong connection with the animals and the sea.

We here at CalebScholars.org completely agree. Protecting our resources and advocating for a strong connection to our environment is essential to our livelihood. Is this what you plan to do when you graduate in 2015?

After earning my degrees from the University of Alaska Fairbanks I’d like to go to the lower 48 and attend a culinary arts school for a couple of years and then return home to Kotzebue to be active in the community and raise my family living a subsistence lifestyle and teaching the Inupiaq Values.

That sounds awesome! Well, good luck Denali! We know you will go far!

Meet Isaac Bailey

Meet Isaac Bailey

University of Alaska Fairbanks
Chemistry (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology), Class of 2014
Native Village of Council

An inaugural scholarship recipient, Isaac attends the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is majoring in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology!

Isaac, your degree sounds rough! What do you do in your free time?

Well since I quit playing video games right after high school, I tend to think about my previous physics & chemistry classes a lot. I try to piece together theories that might one day help contribute to efficient, clean alternative energy. It’s a little nerdy, but nerdy is the new cool!

No more video games?! Well, that probably is a good policy – We are sure you spend a lot of time studying! So, may we ask you another question? Why do you think marine conservation is important?

Marine conservation is very important. Since ~70% of the world is covered by water, we should practice the “tread lightly” rule, even if it means we spend hours on end experimenting and performing researching.

We here at CalebScholars.org agree! Our goal is to make our application process 100% green with a safe and secure online application system – which we hope we will unveil soon! Anyway, enough about our future plans! What does your future look like?

Keep going to school & try my best to contribute to the scientific pool of knowledge.

Well Isaac, that sounds awesome! Good luck on this semester, and we agree! Nerdy is the new cool!

Meet Nikki Taqsruk Bruckner

Meet Nikki Taqsruk Bruckner

University of Alaska Fairbanks
Rural Development, Class of 2012
Native Village of Unalakleet

One of our inaugural scholarship recipients, we asked Nikki to answer a few questions about how she became interested in marine conservation.

Nikki! We are ecstatic that you are one of our scholarship recipients. You say that your hometown is Unalakleet (what a beautiful place!). How do you participate in marine conservation at home?

I have spent the last five summers on the Unalakleet River and in the Norton Sound monitoring the health of salmon runs with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The field data my team collects is a major factor in determining when and if commercial fishing is allowed in our region. At home, my husband and I recycle whenever we can, including materials we scrounge at our local dump. Also, we enjoy beach combing at low tide. We pick up some trash, rope, and net supplies that wash up tangled on shore. Last summer we recycled materials we found to build subsistence nets which we are using this summer.

That sounds intriguing, and fun! Beach combing is definitely a big part of living on the coast! Do you plan on continuing your interaction with Fish & Game after you finish school in December?

After graduation, I hope to continue my education with a master’s degree in Rural Development. My degree in Rural Development has taught me that real change starts at the local level. Down the road, I would love to impact marine conservation in my community and region by working with local people and organizations to strengthen the health of the ocean and protect subsistence rights to marine resources. I am a lifelong learner and I hope to continue to learn from my elders about the ocean and its animals.

We here at the CalebScholars.org enjoy that your goal is to return home and continue all your amazing advocacy efforts! Before we go, can we ask you how do you define marine conservation?

My ancestors relied heavily on fish, seals, whales, and walruses for thousands of years. Conserving marine resources includes changing human behaviors to protect and sustain the health of our precious ocean and seas for future generations so that people can continue to rely on these resources as my ancestors did.

We agree! It will take us all advocating for positive change and there is no time like the present!

Get Involved

Become a Caleb Scholar

Become a Caleb Scholar

Caleb left an amazing legacy, one you can continue.

If you are a tribal member from Norton Sound, Northwest Arctic, and/or the Arctic Slope, you may be eligible to apply.

Become a Caleb Advocate

Become a Caleb Advocate

With your help, we will increase the number of Alaska Natives in marine conservation related professions.

Become a Caleb Partner

Become a Caleb Partner

We collaborate with state agencies, foundations, universities, and other partners to support our students and help them achieve their dreams.

Invest in Tomorrow

Invest in Tomorrow

Caleb left an amazing legacy – one our students will continue, but they can’t achieve greatness on their own. Your gift to the Caleb Lumen Pungowiyi Scholars Program makes a lasting impact on future generations by making college affordable.