Not many of us have accepted jobs that require our food and personal items to be delivered to us via floatplane.

Today, we celebrate the ambitions of a University of Montana student, as she prepares to embark on a journey to a remote Alaskan fishing village of mostly Indigenous peoples. There, she will do her student teaching. If you want to visit her, you will need a seaplane or ocean ferry.

This is the calling for UM senior Haley VonGoedert, an elementary education major, who is  busy making lists, cataloguing the food and personal items needed for spending four months in the remote Alaskan fishing village of Newhalen, Alaska, population 160, and home of the Yup'ik people.

On the heels of completing required coursework in UM’s Phyllis J. Washington College of Education, Haley has chosen this long and winding path for her required student teaching experience and final semester of her bachelor’s degree. Accessible only by seaplane or ocean ferry, the community sits in the heart of southwest Alaska’s vast territory at the mouth of the Newhalen River on Iliamna Lake. Haley is shopping for a new phone, as she describes cell coverage as being about as a scarce as traffic or commercial shopping. Well, actually, Haley clarifies that there isn’t really cell phone coverage. She says. The school is the only place in town with Wi-Fi.

In Newhalen, Haley will teach the elementary students in a school where the entire K-12 population is 80 students. At UM, she combined her teacher education curriculum with the Wilderness and Civilization Program in UM’s W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation. She believes training in elementary education and studying the ways people interact with land and wilderness provided her a unique background as she prepares for the role of teacher.

Our thanks to University of Montana Relations News Services for letting us share the news. We applaud Haley's dedication and ambition and wish her all the best. A Griz should feel right at home in Alaska!


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