Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Mat-Su College, Alaska | Alumni

Lunafest Brings Community Members Together

April 16th, 2014 

This was the second year MSC hosted Lunafest, a nationally-traveling film festival full of short stories by, for, and about women.  85 people came to Mat-Su College on April 4, 2014, to view these films and participate in the silent auction run by the MSC Student Government.  All proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction were donated to MYHouse, a local non-profit, and the Breast Cancer Fund.  In all, $2,738 was raised.  Of these funds, $2,383.55 was given to MYHouse and $354.45 to the Breast Cancer Fund.

Mat-Su Employer Expo a Huge Success

April 16th, 2014 

Some of you may have attended the Mat-Su Employer Expo on March 11, 2014.  Close to 500 job seekers attended the expo, with over 100 employers lining the halls of Mat-Su College.  The business representatives were available to talk with throughout the day and various career workshops were held.

MSC is always eager to help both current students and our alumni find employment.  Karen Backlund in Career Services likes to keep everyone up-to-date with the latest opportunities.  Bookmark the Career Opportunities page of the MSC website to see new opportunities every week!

MSC Receives $28,520 Health Scholarship

April 16th, 2014

On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, Don and Sherry Shiesl donated $28,520.20 to Matanuska-Susitna College to endow a scholarship for MSC students in health-related fields. The permanently endowed fund will be known as the Marie Narhi Shiesl Scholarship in memory of Don Shiesl’s Mother. Marie Narhi Shiesl spent many years working at Bedford Hospital in Bedford, Ohio, starting as a nurses’ aide and later advancing to be a licensed practical nurse. She was also a widow raising two sons and was unable to afford the training that would have allowed her to become a registered nurse. The scholarship is intended to honor the legacy of all nurses who have devoted their lives to caring for the sick and injured.

Alumni BBQ 2014 – Save The Date!

April 16th, 2014

We are looking forward to hosting the Third Annual Alumni BBQ on July 8, 2014 from 5-8pm. MSC will provide the main course and a cake to celebrate! We’re asking for anyone attending to again bring their favorite side dish and/or a complimentary dessert to share. Also returning this year will be several raffles and free giveaways. Bring your business card to throw in for your chance at winning some neat gifts!

Last year we had a blast reconnecting with alumni over a delicious meal. To our recent graduates, we look forward to a long tradition of revisiting with you during our Annual Alumni BBQs and other future events. Questions, contact us at:

Christine S. – Scholarship Recipient

January 21st, 2014

“Thank you for the opportunity you have given me with this scholarship.”

Christine is the first student to receive the Alvin S. and Gloria M. Okeson Scholarship. A lifelong Alaskan, she has always had strong ties to the Mat-Su community. So when she decided to return to school, Matanuska-Susitna College was an easy choice. But working full time and supporting a family while attending school isn’t so easy.

“My husband and I are on a limited income. Without this scholarship I would not be able to buy the books and supplies I need for my classes.”

The Okeson Scholarship provides support to Christine and students like her, by relieving some of the financial burden and allowing them to focus on making the most of their educational opportunities. Thanks to her hard work and the support of donors like you, Christine will graduate this December with her associate degree in accounting.

“Thank you for this generous scholarship. Without it, life and school would be much more difficult.”

Amos Secoy – MSC Graduate Giving Back

January 17th, 2014

“Computers have always been a hobby of mine. I also knew Technology wasn't going to be effected by the market and would always need people to manage it.”

As a non-traditional student seeking a degree for a second career, Amos found the program at MSC very welcoming with many other non-traditional students looking for a new path. After being in the construction business for 8-10 years and the housing market dying off in 2008, Amos knew he needed a degree for a new career.

“Things fell perfectly into place for me.”

Amos graduated from MSC in May of 2012 with an Associates of Applied Science in Computer Systems Technology (CST). While working toward his degree, he began working part-time at Matsu Services for Children and Adults (MSSCA) and quickly took over as head of MSSCA's IT system, which comprised of 17 servers and supports 280 employees.

“I have obtained more information and achieved a lot since my time at Mat-Su College. I want to make sure that knowledge is passed on.”

Amos values education and the opportunities he has worked hard for since his time at MSC. As a way to give back, Amos teaches at MSC as an Adjunct Professor within the CST Department to pass on what he has learned. Amos also sits on the CST Advisory Council and has donated an IBM AS400 to the program for students to see the evolution of the equipment. This past Winter Break, Amos also spent a full week of his vacation time on a time-consuming special project for the department. After many hours of work on the advanced equipment, Amos had it programmed and up and running. He has also built a new rack for the whole system.

“Amos is very supportive of the school and excited to help. He believes in reinvesting in this program through teaching, donating time and more.” – Professor Harry Banks.

Okeson Family – Scholarship Founders

January 16th, 2014

“I’m just hoping I can help as many people along the way as I’m able.”

Gloria and Alvin Okeson have been a part of Matanuska-Susitna College since the very beginning, and played a pivotal role in the growth and development of the college. For more than 20 years Alvin served as director of Mat-Su College, while Gloria volunteered her time as a bookkeeper when there were no funds to hire more staff. In fact, the whole Okeson family has been involved with the college over the years. All three of the Okeson children (Phil, Mark and Pam) took classes at Mat-Su College while in high school to better prepare them for their transition to university studies.

“[The scholarship] was one of those things we were building and growing and working hard to keep afloat.”

Although Alvin passed away in 2011, the legacy of his commitment to Mat-Su College lives on in the Okeson family through their support of the Alvin S. and Gloria M. Okeson Scholarship. Endowed in 2010, the Okeson Scholarship provides vital financial assistance for non-traditional students at Mat-Su College.

“You can never go wrong giving to a scholarship. It gives students an extra incentive that they can’t get elsewhere. If you’re in a position to help, contributing to the success of young people is very rewarding."

Recent Alumni Making Firsts in the Community

September 12th, 2013Alumni Emily Gelino-Bequette won Best in Show at the 2013 Alaska State Fair for her impressive Art Drawing. Emily, a 2012 graduate, also took a first in 3-D Stain Glass, Northern Lights and Kitsune Mask art work. Emily’s impressive art work is well known on campus; she created a  3-D sculpture of our now famed mascot the Arctic Dragon. The dragon was a hit at the Mat-Su College Cabin Display at this year’s Alaska State Fair. Well Done Emily! Go Arctic Dragons!

Alumni BBQ 2013

September 12th, 2013Alumni BBQ 2013Matanuska-Susitna College hosted its 2nd Annual Alumni Barbeque on Tuesday July 16, 2013. A Hot Dog Bar and Potluck were done and all that attended brought their favorite side dishes.  See the fun photos on the Matanuska-Susitna College Pinterest site. We are looking forward to hosting an even bigger event next year, our 3rd Annual Alumni Event –save the date- July 8th 2014- and bring your family and a side dish to share.  See you then!

Importance of Giving to Scholarships

September 12th, 2013

Nicholas Ciccarelli

"I can’t stress enough how your support of scholarships makes such a great difference in the lives of the students who receive them. My Mat-Su College scholarships have allowed me to pursue my educational and career goals while continuing to be involved with the community." Nick, Matanuska-Susitna College student and scholarship recipient. In these hard times, students are in need of scholarships to achieve their educational goals. Please consider donating.