Fastest Man in Alaska Inspires Iḷisaġvik Students

Iḷisaġvik College hosted three Allied Health camps this summer to foster enthusiasm for healthy lifestyles as well as give students an overview of the many careers available in the health field. Supported by a grant from the North Slope Borough Health Department, students signed up to attend at no cost and receive academic credits for participating.

The camps focused on encouraging students to not only consider careers in the health field but to also consider the impact of lifestyle choices on their own health. One student, Patsy Stalker from Point Lay, expressed it this way, “I loved that when I was working out I forgot about the stress in my life. And that I pushed myself to do something.” Aaron Milligrock of Point Hope added, “The most important piece of information I learned is that in order for me to be successful in life, I need to put myself ahead of everyone else… I need to learn how to build strong support groups in order to help me change the negative aspects of my life… I want to change for the good of my community, and better yet, for the good of my health.”

ASRC paid for the travel and stipend for Jerry Ross, considered by some to be the fastest man in Alaska, and Christian Muntean, a rock climber, cross-fitness trainer and marathoner to work with students. Camp Coordinator Jaime Stewart, granddaughter of Emily and Arnold Brower, Sr. and an athlete herself, had approached ASRC to sponsor the two Alaska fitness experts as instructors. She explained that “Just having these positive role models was good for the students. It’s hard to find adults who are so physically active that it’s a part of their everyday lifestyle.” A local marathoner, Mansour Alzaharna, also ran daily with the students.

Guest lecturers included staff and volunteers from the ITTC, NSB sponsored Tribal Doctors, the Wellness Center, AWIC and the cancer-screening project. There were lectures on smoking cessation, drug abuse, Yoga and general physical fitness. Students were challenged to not drink soda for the duration of the camp and to participate in daily physical activity. “I’ve learned that health isn’t just about eating and what goes on in your body. Health can be your relationships, healthy choices, and more…” Mary Kate Curtis, Point Lay.

Besides the actual physical activities offered, Iñupiat values and traditions were integrated into the curriculum using a wellness philosophy expressed during visits with Elders at the Barrow Senior Center. Instruction was offered in Emergency Trauma Technician by the NSB Fire Department and First Aid/CPR training as well as traditional health practices. Students were given tours of the Vet Clinic, the Assisted Living Center, the Dental Clinic, Barrow Chiropractic Clinic and the Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital. They also participated in the BASC Archaeology Project with Steve Hastings.

Following these camps, Sally Aguvluk of Wainwright is now enrolled at Iḷisaġvik pursuing her Personal Care Attendant certification. Linda Ahkiviana of Barrow is enrolled as a full time college student in the Allied Health Program and Aaron Milligrock of Point Hope has also enrolled as a full time college student.

To see photos and read blogs from the 2009 Allied Health Camps at Iḷisaġvik College, go to For more information about the Allied Health Program contact or call her directly at 907.852.1730.

Written by: Elise Sereni Patkotak.
Photos by: Jaime Stewart, Iḷisaġvik Allied Health Summer Camp Coordinator.