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2021-2022 Academy Fellows

  • Arianna Alirez

    Arianna Alirez

    Arianna is a senior at Alaska Middle College. She is an only child but has 2 dogs to keep her company. Arianna has competed in high school softball for 3 years, due to Covid-19 she was not able to play all 4 years. She has also played competitive softball since she was 12. She has gone to Washington, D.C., and talked with Alaska’s congressmen and women about the importance of diabetes research and funding.

    Arianna is planning on going to college out of state and playing college softball. She wants to become either a pediatric nurse anesthetist, pediatric anesthesiologist, neuroradiologist, or oncology radiologist. She wants to help people, specifically children, when they undergo surgery. She wants to be one of the people the patient sees and she wants to be able to tell them, “It’s ok. You are in good hands.” Arianna wants to be able to calm a patient down just by being there in the room with them. Arianna is also interested in x-rays and looking at medical imagining and making treatment plans based on the images as well. All in all, she wants to help people to the best of her ability to make them happy and healthy.

  • Akela Byrne

    Akela Byrne

    Akela is a Junior at Alaska Middle Middle College. She grew up in Eagle River Alaska and went to Chugiak high school before attending Alaska Middle College. She loves the outdoors, particularly Snow Machining with her father during the winter. When she was 13 years old, she had the opportunity to join a girl scout troop and travel to Costa Rica. To achieve this expensive trip, she sold $10,000 worth of Yankee candles in the span of 2 weeks going door-to-door. This kickstarted her love for entrepreneurship and taught her that if she worked hard enough, she could achieve anything she sets her mind to. When she was 15 she got a job at a local ice cream shop and saved up her tip money to fund a trip to Los Angles with another fellow, Alyssa Flodin. The coolest thing Akela thinks she has done in her life so far is bungee jumping with Alyssa on that trip. In the future, Akela will continue her travels around the world, exploring new places and cultures. She wants to attend college and go into the healthcare field, combining her love of science and people. She knows that wherever she goes in life, she will find opportunities and take the world by storm!

  • Lucas (Luke) Engel

    Lucas (Luke) Engel

    Luke is a senior student at Alaska Middle College who is excited to be a part of the Tom Case Leadership Fellows Academy. Since moving to Alaska from San Diego just over two years ago, he is new to the state. He likes to read, play chess, play the piano, learn about the brain and go outside every now and then. He intends to continue his studying about the brain and pursue an education in the field of Neuroscience. He joined the TCLFA looking for ways to become involved in the community and to better himself as a person and a leader.

  • Alyssa Flodin

    Alyssa Flodin

    Alyssa is a junior at Alaska Middle College. She's a born and raised Alaskan, and though having lived in one of the most outdoors positive states her whole life, much prefers staying inside with her pets and a cozy book. She grew up in the Chugiak area, and attended Chugiak High School before transferring to Alaska Middle College.

    Alyssa plans to live her life in a big city, pursuing a job as a self made tattoo artist and author. She loves business and wants to own her own business someday. Alyssa is a big book-lover and camera enthusiast, and plans to pursue a career in psychology and business. She thinks the mind is very interesting and loves to research different personalities and mental disorders. She has a 4.0 GPA, and enjoys extracurriculars such as community service work, youth gatherings, and skiing. Alyssa wants to have the ability to travel the world at the end of the day, and hopes to settle down in England with a couple of cats and dogs. She strives to positively impact the world, and is taking steps to change it one day at a time.

  • Pieter Goebel

    Pieter Goebel

    Pieter is currently a junior at Eagle River High attending the Alaska Middle College. He wants to become an Engineer because he is very curious and likes to figure out how things work, problem solve, and try to understand the world around him. Curiosity has led him to achieve a variety of accomplishments including his Eagle Scout, a spot as one of the best high school musicians in Alaska and Utah, as well as successfully completing a marathon. Pieter also has a deep appreciation for his religion, nature, family, and friends. Willing to talk to, understand, and love others, he aspires to be an impactful positive influence.

  • Kashia Goolsby

    Kashia Goolsby

  • Kyla Jarrell

    Kyla Jarrell

    Kyla is currently a senior in high school. She is attending the Alaska Middle College for the second year and is affiliated with Eagle River High School. Kyla is an honor’s student and has received multiple academic awards. In the future, Kyla plans on pursuing a doctoral degree in biochemistry and hopes to work in the field of biotechnology.

    Outside of her studies Kyla is a competitive dancer, and has been dancing for almost a decade. She has danced in many competitions and performances. Kyla has lived her entire life in Eagle River, Alaska where she enjoys listening to crime podcasts, axe throwing, and spending time with family and friends.

  • Sondrea Manor

    Sondrea Manor

    Sondrea is a future entrepreneur who wants to go into the world of beauty. She has already started her career by taking the cosmetology class at King Tech High School and by working at places like Sephora and various salons. She also is on the path of getting a degree in Business Management with a minor in Communication. Sondrea is someone who loves learning new skills that will help her improve in her future endeavors. She is currently in the process of writing a magazine about helpful tips from people in various parts of the beauty industry that will help students who want to get involved know what to expect after receiving their licenses in the beauty industry. She strives to help others because it is truly her passion.

  • Gwen McKay

    Gwendolyn McKay

    Gwendolyn is a twelfth grade student in the Alaska Middle College, and her affiliate school is Service High. She was born in Hawaii, and moved around the west coast before her family settled in Anchorage. She lives with her parents and younger brother, and has two pets whom she loves very much. Gwen is a committed student with a passion for science, art, and learning languages. She is a co-president of Service’s National Art Honor Society and she has been on the high school’s swimming and diving team for three years. She enjoys her involvement in extracurricular activities, as they have helped her stay connected to Service during her time at AMCS. She is also an active volunteer with the Anchorage FISH organization, and seeks to better her community through service projects.

    In her free time, she enjoys drawing, cooking, listening to music, and watching her favorite movies. She hopes to attend college somewhere warm, and plans on majoring in biochemistry. A long-term career goal of hers is to conduct research on hypobarophilic bacteria.

  • Zoraleda Mendel

    Zoraleda Mendel

    Zoraleda is a senior at Alaska Middle College. Before she joined this program, she was taking classes at both UAA and Polaris K-12 school since the 8th grade. She was able to complete 20 college credits with a 4.0 GPA prior to her junior year. She is very passionate about political advocacy and learning foreign languages. In her free time, she enjoys participating in UAA’s Spanish Club, hosting English classes for foreign students, and spending time outdoors. She also greatly enjoys participating in Model United Nations and won the Outstanding High School Delegate award at the most recent fall 2021 conference. She currently works as a childcare teacher and administrative support at Early Learning for Everyone. Her future plans are to major in Sociology and Foreign languages before going to Law School. She hopes to have a career as a lawyer who can help those who are disadvantaged and also further broaden access to legal assistance by offering services in multiple languages.

  • Maicha Olaes

    Maicha Olaes

    Maicha is a junior student attending Alaska Middle College and Bartlett High School. She was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States when she was 9 years old. She enjoys reading literature, writing, traveling, art, and furthering her knowledge in healthcare. Maicha hopes to pursue a Neuroscience and Business degree in the future. She is both academically and socially dedicated to increasing resources available for those in need in her community.

    Maicha is an Honor Roll student who has earned multiple academic awards/letters throughout her student career. She is certified in Teen Mental Health First Aid, Bloodborne Pathogens, Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED, and QPR training. Furthermore, she is also a member of the National Honor Society, Tom Case Leadership Fellows Academy, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), Anthropology Club, and Sprouting Spirits Club, whose goal is to encourage teen mental health. She is also a Link Crew Leader at Bartlett High School.

  • Gavin Taylor

    Gavin Taylor

    Gavin is a high school senior with Alaska Middle College who joined the Tom Case Leadership Fellows Academy to learn what it takes to be a better leader in his future career. Gavin spent the majority of his childhood in a ballet studio, learning more than how to pirouette and jeté. Gavin learned many important life skills such as how to deal with stress, how to keep going after making mistakes, and how to put on a smile when it is needed. These skills have helped him in his high-school experience as a National Speech and Debate competitor, learning to craft an argument and perfect it in the face of a variety of challenges and different people’s perceptions. All of these skills helped Gavin become the type of person that can be a leader, and with the knowledge he is gaining from his place in this academy, he is excited to become a leader in the future.

  • Akasha Wilson

    Akasha Wilson

    Akasha is a junior at Alaska Middle College and her affiliate high school is Dimond High. She was born in Tacoma, Washington, but was raised in Anchorage. She was the oldest in her family until her father remarried and now she was demoted to second oldest of four. Akasha has a wide variety of interests and likes to try new things. She has competed in cross country running, dance, tennis, flag football, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and gymnastics. She has also tried out some instruments such as the recorder, ukulele, cello, and drums. In addition, she has a love for languages and plans to become fluent in Japanese, ASL, Spanish, and French. Akasha likes to spend her free time with friends, online shopping, or reading at home.

    Akasha will graduate from Dimond HIgh school in 2023 and does not yet know what career she wants to pursue. Some of her deciding factors for colleges will be if the state doesn't have too much snow and has a good boys basketball team. Akasha’s short-term goals are to boost her GPA these last two years that she has left in high school and to get a good score on the Act/Sat. Her long-term goals consist of getting a job that she enjoys and not just because it pays well, getting a dog, and getting a cat.

  • Stanley Wu

    Stanley Wu

    Stanley is a senior at South Anchorage High School and Alaska Middle College. He is a first-generation college student and was the first person in his immediate family to attend college at the age of 16. He is ranked in the top 10% of the class of 2022 with a cumulative weighted grade point average of 4.02. Stanley has received awards such as Alaska Middle College Academic Gold Star, Certificate of Honor Roll, and University of Alaska Scholars Award for his academic achievements. Stanley’s curiosity and passion for learning are two factors that motivate him to continue to study.

    Stanley also participates in activities outside of school that help to improve the community. For example, he worked alongside his friends and state officials during Korea-Alaska Friendship Day to help honor the war veterans that fought in the Korean War and celebrate the friendship between Alaska and South Korea. Furthermore, he has helped the Alaska Food Bank and Bean’s Cafe collect food donations for people in need.