May Graduate

Heather Gordon

Homer, AK
Nome Eskimo Community

AIGC Fellowship
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Indigenous Studies


Community Service

The community I work with while doing my graduate work is the Arctic researchers community. My service to this community has been presenting my Master’s work at conferences and getting it published in a book (more on that in the bio below). Additionally, I have organized workshops for early career Arctic scientists. The first workshop I organized was in April 2014 for the early career scientists at the International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences VIII in Prince George, British Columbia. I contacted speakers to present, worked with caterers to have lunch and snack sessions, and ran the workshop by opening it, introducing speakers, and closing the session. It was a four hour workshop. In September 2014 I was a workshop facilitator at the ARCTIC-Frost conference in Anchorage, AK. I worked with the conference organizers to develop a program for early career researchers. On the day we conducted the workshop I facilitated by taking notes, getting people organized, and keeping us on task. I also presented the results early career researchers came up with to the researchers in attendance at the conference.

I have also worked to serve Native American communities through the various internships I have done (expanded on in the section below). In these internships, I worked to understand past and contemporary Native American issues in America and what can be done to better the lives of Native Americans.

An additional community I have contributed to was my fellow graduate students in my Master’s Sociology program in Wisconsin. While in the program, I mentored a first-year graduate student for the 2010-11 school year, worked to recruit and retain minorities in the Sociology program in the 2013-14 school year, and in 2014 I was on the Solidarity Committee helping organize monthly sessions for minority students in the program.


Heather Sauyaq Jean Gordon was born and raised in Homer, Alaska. She is Inupiaq and a tribal member of the Nome Eskimo Community. Ms. Gordon has a B.A. in Race and Ethnic Studies (University of Redlands, CA), a M.S. in Sociology (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and is in the Indigenous Studies PhD program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her dissertation research looks at how self-determination in rural Alaska Native communities affects their sustainability and well-being.


Ms. Gordon is active in internships, conferences, and publishing. She participated in the Washington Internships for Native Students program during the summer 2010 and interned at the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs Arctic Social Sciences. Her work at NSF led into her master’s research which examined results from interviews on relationship building conducted in a remote community in Greenland with Inuit and at the NSF with Arctic scientists. The results inform researchers of actions they can take to build trusting relationships with communities. In 2014, she participated in the Native American Political Leadership Program through George Washington University and interned at the National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center. In the summer of 2016, she interned at the Bureau of Indian Affairs Alaska Regional Office in Anchorage. There she worked on workplace diversity issues and helped develop a Diversity Committee at the office.

Ms. Gordon has attended and presented her Master’s work at multiple international conferences. Some of these include the American Science and Engineering Society 2010 National Conference, the 2012 International Polar Year Conference in Montreal, Quebec, the International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences VIII in Prince George, British Columbia, the 2012 Inuit Studies Conference where she was an invited speaker. Her Master’s work is published in Northern Sustainabilities: Vulnerability, Resilience, and Prosperity in the Circumpolar World.