University of Alaska Anchorage

Vincent Gregory (2016)

My First Generation Story

As a senior at the University of Alaska Anchorage, I am the first in my family to go to college. Being Alaska Native, I always get inspired by the art I am surrounded by. Some examples include the mountains, the flowers, the carvings and paintings at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and so on. Art has been a key influence on my major in college: English; specifically, literature. When I take nature walks, whether at night to see the stars or during the day to watch the clouds, the outdoors always sparks my imagination to tell a story of some sort.

I grew up in the very small villages of Kalskag and Russian Mission, Alaska. If you were to stand on Kalskag Hill, with just the naked eye, you can see eight miles in every direction. You’d be surrounded tundra, trees, hills, mountains, lakes, and a river that is about as wide as two football fields are long. During the day, you could see everything from the hilltop. The wind whispers in your ears and combs your hair. At night, the moon becomes so bright it is as if there is a glowing pearl in the sky with diamonds spread everywhere. In the winter season, the snowflakes become jewels in the day and stars at night, with the occasional Aurora Borealis every now and then. Growing up in a sanctuary like that, where some of the cleanest air in the world exists, makes one feel absolutely free. The body slowly begins to become a more enhanced version of itself, until one day you literally feel like a spirit living among men and women.

In my days at the University of Alaska, I am continuously involved with the Native Student Council (NSC). I also work as an English tutor and academic coach, and have mentored many new students to the university. On my time off, I carve rings. I usually carve them from moose or caribou antler, baleen and ivory, or a combination of the few. One day, I would like to become an indigenous teacher, where I educate through stories in life. I’d also like to own my own jewelry line, where I carve the rings myself. One day, when I get married, I will make my own wedding rings!

About the Student

Vincent Gregory Resized

My name is Vince Gregory. I am Alaska Native Yup’ik from the villages of Kalskag and Russian Mission. I grew up in one of the coldest climates in the world, as well as one of the most beautiful in regards to nature. Growing up in a small village, I was always active and surrounded by art. My mother was a teacher and my dad was a carpenter, so I am the best of both worlds: I carve rings out of bone, ivory and baleen and I am an English major with the desire to be a teacher.

Student Stats

Name: Vincent Gregory (2016)
Age: 26
Year in School: Senior
Major: English
Favorite Course: English
Dream Job: Teacher/Ring Maker

About the School

University of Alaska Anchorage

Surrounded by an environment that is both urban and wild, the University of Alaska Anchorage is a gateway to innovative thinking, learning and exploration. UAA is the state’s largest university, situated at the heart of the state's largest city, with satellites in Homer, Kodiak, Soldotna, Valdez and Mat-Su. UAA students experience hands-on education, in and out of the classroom. 

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