Allied Health Student Success Stories

Allied Health Student Success Stories from Iḷisaġvik College

In November and December of 2011, three graduates of the Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) program at Iḷisaġvik College were hired as CNA’s at Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital (SSMH) in Barrow: Taylor Bodfish, Adam Burnett, and Jessa Salamat.

Taylor Bodfish and Adam Burnett were both hired at SSMH on November 28th, to the delight of Iḷisaġvik’s Allied Health Program Specialist Wendy Battle. “We are SO PROUD of our students!” she emailed to the community. Both students received their CNA certification and continue to study at Iḷisaġvik. Bodfish plans to complete her Associate’s degree at Iḷisaġvik and then go on to Nursing School. Though Burnett completed his CNA certificate in Fall 2010, he has not worked in the field up to this point because he is a full time student. The hospital recruited him by making a schedule that would work around his classes.

In addition to his job at the hospital, Adam Burnett is the Associated Student Body Treasurer at Iḷisaġvik and recently won a “decked out” dorm room in a contest amongst the dorm students because of his good grades and community involvement. “We are happy to reward Adam for his hard work,” said Sarah Martinsen, Student Life Manager at Iḷisaġvik. “And we are so proud of him for getting hired at the hospital! Way to go, Adam!”

Jessa Salamat, another CNA graduate from Iḷisaġvik College, has completed all the prerequisites and applied to the University of Alaska’s Nursing Program. Though the waiting list for that program is approximately two years long, Salamat is making the best of her time by working as a CNA at the hospital in Barrow while she waits. “It’s wonderful that Jessa is working here in Barrow, getting hands-on experience caring for our community,” said Battle.

“It is a major goal of Iḷisaġvik College to train North Slope residents to fill North Slope positions,” said Allied Health Program Coordinator and NW Area Health Education Center Director Gloria Burnett. “Seeing our students getting hired locally really makes it feel like we’re making a difference.”

The Allied Health program includes several certificate programs which can help locals into the healthcare field. In addition to the Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA) program offered every Fall semester, students can get an Associate of Science in Allied Health or an Associate of Arts with a Human Services emphasis. Iḷisaġvik also offers a Medical Coding Specialist certificate as well as a Dental Assistant Trainee Program for new hires at the SSMH Dental Clinic. This summer the program will continue to host two summer camps for middle school and high school students.

For more information about the Allied Health Program at Iḷisaġvik College, please contact Program Specialist Wendy Battle at (907) 852-1803 or Program Coordinator Gloria Burnett at (907) 852-1730.