By Aaron Tooyak
“Every year growing up we would go back home to Ruby, to our summer fish camp called Big Eddy,” he said as he pointed to a picture of a smokehouse sitting on the side of a river in his office. Dewey Kk’ołeyo Hoffman, Koyukon Athabaskan, was named after his great grandfather, whose name means “long distance walker.”
Passing his first checkpoint, Dewey graduated from APU’s Early Honors program in 2004. The Early Honors program is our dual credit option available for high school students to fulfill their graduation requirements while starting their college career.
Soon after, Dewey obtained his undergraduate degree in Native American Studies and Portuguese at Dartmouth College in 2009. He revealed his insight into how his Early Honors experience gave him the fundamentals he needed to thrive in college. “The Early Honors program gives a jumpstart to intellectually curious students. It’s something different and new. The catch is you have to be self-motivated and be open to learning new ways of thinking.”
He shared how the Critical Thinking class changed the way he processed information through fact validation techniques. “Mark Fallers’ logic course blew my mind.” Dewey also gained confidence presenting in front of small classes, which helped him overcome stage fright. He noted how APU developed his ability to have “clear, succinct writing” and how to communicate with other people.
This path led him to become the Leadership Development Director at First Alaskans Institute, where he was project lead for the 2015 statewide Elders and Youth Conference. Donating to APU is “directly investing in APU’s students – it is a direct investment in our youth.”