Sharon Thompson (’01) graduated with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Organizational Management. She also holds an Associates of Arts degree, where she focused on Micro Computer Support, from Chemeketa Community College. Now, Sharon is the Executive Director of the Arctic Slope Community Foundation (ASCF), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting philanthropy in the Arctic Slope region of Alaska.
Before accepting the offer as ASCF’s Executive Director, Sharon served a total of ten years in the United States Government for the departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development.
She continued her studies in Barrow, Alaska as she worked as a Grant Writer/Administrator for the North Slope Borough. She finished in three years through APU’s Rural Adult Native Academics (RANA) program, our previous long distance education program. “I enjoyed the size of the classes and the fact that all the RANA students were from other places throughout Alaska. We would meet once a semester for one week, and classes were the perfect size”.
Sharon spoke openly of her challenges, “Going to school online took discipline. I was raising three girls, my husband was working on the slope for two weeks at a time, and I had a full-time job. Would I do it again? Yes”. Her combination of experience and education inevitably laid the foundation for the non-profit organization.
“My education from APU became more valuable as Executive Director. My background in policies and procedures along with connections I made in class gave the company a strong start. ASCF is not about ‘I’ but ‘we’.”, she elaborated.
Incidentally, ASCF is a business that champions its operations through the service and contributions of good-willed individuals and entities. “Funds donated to APU can be used for rural academics, like what I went through. Donations help those who are underserved and underprivileged – they fund those who wish to better themselves through education”.