Yakutat undergraduate, mental-health advocate chosen for Judson Brown Scholarship

An undergraduate student at the Alaska Pacific University who is pursuing a degree in counseling psychology won Sealaska Heritage Institute’s 2018 Judson L. Brown Leadership Award.

Sharnel Yaqagal Vale, a Tlingit Raven from the Kwaashk’I Kwáan Clan and the Half-Moon House in Yakutat, was chosen by Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI), a private nonprofit that perpetuates and enhances Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska, by its scholarship committee.

According to a release, the $5,000 scholarship goes to students who have demonstrated academic achievement and leadership skills.

Vale’s senior project on ACES will study Alaska Native people who have experienced high amounts of childhood trauma and were resilient. She plans to question people in a culturally-appropriate way that will include talking circles rather than one-on-one interviews.

“The ultimate goal of my study would be to determine what protective factors had the most impact on resilient Alaska Native people’s lives, then use this information to develop intervention and prevention programs that are more effective and culturally appropriate for our people,” Vale said.

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