Uqautchim Uglua

American Indian College Fund, Wakanyeja “Sacred Little Ones” Early Childhood Education Initiative.


Heidi “Qupak” Ahsoak

Program Coordinator

Qupak is the wife of Jonas M. Ahsoak Sr. and a mother of four. She was raised in Barrow, graduating from Kiita in 2004 and obtaining an A.A. degree in Business Management from Iḷisaġvik in May of 2013. She began work in September, 2013 as the Program Coordinator for Uqautchim Uglua, and plans to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education in the future. Heidi is actively involved in the traditional Iñupiaq lifestyle, where she exemplifies core cultural values that she helps to pass on to our ECE learners. She brings marked talent and a great work ethic to the program.

Jerica "Niayuq" Aamodt

Coordinator of Iñupiaq Studies

Niayuq is an Iñupiaq from Barrow, Alaska where she was raised her whole life. Niayuq received her Associates of Arts degrees in Iñupiaq studies and general studies with Iḷisaġvik College in April 2012. In 2014 she received her Bachelor’s degree in Alaska Native studies with an emphasis in Alaska Native education from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). Currently, she’s working on her Master’s in Rural Development with UAF via distance. She works in the Iñupiaq Studies Division as the Coordinator of Iñupiaq Studies. She is working on her Iñupiaq language skills and enjoys perpetuating the Iñupiaq language, culture, and traditions. She also enjoys teaching her 1 year old daughter as much Iñupiaq as she can.

Birgit Meany

Dean of Instruction

A resident of Barrow for the last ten years, I have been employed with Iḷisaġvik College for approximately the same time. My professional experience includes high school teacher and principal, college faculty and administrator. Uqautchim Uglua is a multi-faceted program and does not fit the traditional mold. Its unique combination of projects provide room for growth, innovation, cultural development for all stakeholders, and my involvement has been very rewarding. We have a great staff, and I am privileged to be part of this dynamic team.

Naomi “Aaglu” Ahsoak

Lead Teacher

“Aaglu is currently a student at Iḷisaġvik going towards her Associates of Arts degree in Iñupiaq Studies. She has been a teacher at Uqautchim Uglua since August 2014. Although she is not fluent in Iñupiaq, she is able to understand general conversation; she reads Iñupiaq and has the fundamental writing skills. She continues to learn in an effort to strengthen her language skills.”

Amber “Saumik” Downey

Assistant Teacher

Caitlin “Sirraun” Hopson-Suvlu

Administrative Assistant