DOI / VISTA Team Projects

Ilisagvik Tribal College

TCU Team Member Charlotte Ambrozek

DOI / VISTA: TCU Team Member Charlotte Ambrozek
Supervisor: Diana Solenberger
Address: 100 Stevenson Street P.O. Box 749, Barrow, Alaska 99723
County: North Slope Borough
Voice Telephone: (907) 538-8333
Web site:
Congressional District: At-Large
Bureau: Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)


Ilisagvik College provides educational opportunities to all who wish to pursue their post-secondary TCU LOgoeducation, with an emphasis on the needs of North Slope residents. Ilisagvik College was founded to primarily serve the residents of the North Slope Borough, America’s largest and most northern municipality. The intent of its founders was to provide an education based on Iñupiaq cultural heritage. The basis for all Ilisagvik educational programs is the rich foundation of a subsistence culture in harmony with the land and seas that give it sustenance. The DOI/VISTA- TCU Team Member will be working with Cooperative Extension within ilisagvik College. Ilisagvik College Cooperative Extension believes that learning is a continuing, life-long process. Both Ilisagvik College and the Department of the Interior value the preservation of heritage and natural resources as part of their mission.

About the Surrounding Community

Ilisagvik College’s Cooperative Extension serves the community of Barrow and the seven remote villages that comprise the North Slope Borough (NSB), an 89,000 square mile region situated entirely above the Arctic Circle. The local population is 70% Iñupiat and the outlying villages are 90% Iñupiat. Although the villages are modern communities, the traditional way of life, including subsistence hunting, fishing, and whaling remain essential to the culture and economy. In the 2010 North Slope Borough (NSB) Census 36% of Iñupiat residents aged 16-64 years are identified as unemployed, a rate more than three times than the 2010 National average of 9.6% (United States Department of Labor). With increased modernization, people of the North Slope villages have come to rely more heavily on store-bought food, replacing the comparatively healthy and nutrient-rich traditional subsistence foods with store-bought foods that are often extremely high in sugar, calories, and unhealthy types of fat while low in necessary nutrients (Baseline Community Health Analysis Report, 2012). According to Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 1991-2007, fewer than one in four NSB adults reported eating the recommended five servings of fruit or vegetables per day. In the 2005 YRBD survey, fewer than one in five NSB high school students reported eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day and 18% had not eaten any fruit in the past seven days (Baseline Community Health Analysis Report, 2012).  The rate of diabetes among the Iñupiaq people has more than doubled between 1985 and 2008 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System). Obesity rate estimates among school-aged children are roughly 50% higher than statewide estimates. Among NSB children enrolled in the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) between 2003 and 2009 more than one in three children ages 2-5 years met the current criteria for obesity; this is more than twice the nationwide estimate for 2008. 

Project Overview


DOI/VISTA-TCU Team Member Charlotte Ambrozek is developing and implementing a nutritional education, and beginning cooking program. This program is specifically targeting youth and the young adult population within the seven villages, and is providing them with the skills, and knowledge needed to feed their families or future families with healthy home cooked meals.

Sponsors and Partners

For more information please visit: