Beringia Program Helps Youth Win Prestigious Award at 2012 AFN ConventionNovember 20, 2012
Jacob Martin, who helped to organize and lead the 2011 Beringia Days Youth Forum and steer the subsequent initiatives, won the coveted Roger Lang Youth Leadership Presidential Award at the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) 2012 Conference. Jacob, the son of Beringia Panel member Guy Martin from Nome, was nominated for the award by the Bering Straits Native Corporation with assistance from the National Park Service’s Shared Beringian Heritage Program. The award is named for the late Roger Lang, a former AFN President who encouraged young people to expand their horizons and challenge themselves to become future leaders in their communities. The Beringia Program had previously nominated Jacob for the "Spirit of Youth" award for his pivotal role in the inaugural Youth Forum at Beringia Days 2011 in Nome. Jacob was recognized in his community and at his school for this role, and the Beringia program was asked to provide information supporting his nomination for the Roger Lang Leadership Award. Beringia Program staff member Elizabeth Shea was invited to attend the Presidential Awards Banquet on behalf of the program. Jacob will continue to work with the Beringia Program on the youth initiatives that are being developed and on aspects of the program aimed toward young people. The following is the narrative from Jacob's award:
"Jacob Martin is of Ugiuvagumiut (King Island Eskimo) and of Russian descent. He was born and raised in Nome, and graduated from Nome-Beltz High School in 2012 after actively contributing to numerous academic, athletic, and extracurricular clubs and organizations. Leading up to the 2011 Beringia Days conference in Nome, Jacob spent four months helping the Shared Beringian Heritage Program plan a Youth Forum. He then served as the sole youth representative at the annual meeting to recommend project proposals for the Beringian Program, and his ideas and suggestions contributed towards benefitting the Beringia region in Alaska and Chukotka, Russia. He is now a college freshman at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, majoring in Geological Engineering."