ACLU Selects Teressa Baldwin of Kotzebue and Lena Illig of Anchorage as its 2015 Joan Hamilton Memorial Scholars

Affiliate: ACLU of Alaska
October 14, 2015 4:00 pm

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Anchorage, Alaska – The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska selected two students, Teressa Baldwin of Kotzebue and Lena Illig of Anchorage, as its 2015 Joan Hamilton Memorial Scholars. This annual scholarship, established by the ACLU of Alaska in the memory of its former board member, Joan Hamilton, promotes and supports the education of Alaska students who wish to pursue a career related to the law, advocate for Alaska Native rights, and defend the constitutional rights and civil liberties of the peoples of rural Alaska.

A Cup’ik Eskimo, Joan Hamilton was born in Qissunaq and was a member of the ACLU of Alaska’s board for nearly ten years before her death in 2008. Her life took her many places, from hospitals as a child due to tuberculosis, boarding school at St. Mary’s Mission and Copper Valley School, to the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Surmounting discrimination against Alaska Natives and women, she became a licensed practical nurse, supervised a free clinic in Salt Lake City, directed the Alcohol/Drug Abuse Prevention office of RurAL CAP in Anchorage, and administrated the Tundra Women Coalition. In addition to her work with the ACLU, she chaired the board of KYUK and was the museum curator of the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center in Bethel.

“The ACLU of Alaska was very impressed with Teressa Baldwin and Lena Illig,” said Joshua A. Decker, executive director of the ACLU of Alaska. “Against a field of competitive applicants, Teressa and Lena stood out. Teressa is a college student at the University of California, San Diego where she is studying law and society with plans to return to Alaska and pursue an advanced degree at UAF. Lena, a UAA student, is pursuing a criminal justice degree and hopes to become an Alaska State Trooper. We are proud to support both of their studies.”

More information about Joan Hamilton, the scholarship, and this year’s winners is on the ACLU of Alaska’s website:

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