Ray served the University of Alaska Fairbanks with distinction in teaching, research and public service from 1970 to 2013. He has worked tirelessly to build awareness of Native ways of knowing through endeavors such as the establishment of the Alaska Native Knowledge Network, which has a worldwide influence; and was instrumental in bringing the Indigenous Studies doctoral program to fruition at UAF, which has significantly increased the number of Alaska Native PhD students from the University. He is an active researcher and scholar who regularly succeeds in obtaining external funding to support research and education in cross-cultural studies, and whose publication record includes more than one hundred papers, book chapters and books.
Ray is recognized internationally for his work, and is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including the Governor's Award for the Humanities, the Alaska Federation of Natives Distinguished Service Award, the Bill Demmert Lifelong Leadership Award, the Alaska Science Teachers Association Distinguished Service Award, and the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium's Distinguished Service Honors Award.
Nita is a Yup'ik from Kotlik, Alaska with a MA degree in Cross-Cultural Studies. She taught primary grades in Bethel and Kotzebue, worked in Bethel district office as Yup'ik culture and language specialist, developed and taught a new teachers course through UAF, is a Yup'ik art specialist, and served on varies committees over the course of 28 years. She is also a retired teacher from Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD). Nita continues to be involved in education through Alaska Native Education Association (ANEA), has developed Yup'ik art curriculum, wrote a relevant children's book and units, and served on State education committees, including the Quality Teacher Team, Alaska State Literacy Team, Alaska State Cultural Standards Team, Alaska Arts Education Consortium (AAEC), and most recently, a Cultural Barrier for advisory committee of University of Alaska, K-12 Outreach Programs; FEA, Teacher Mentors, PREPARES, and REACH.
Growing up as a bilingual person, grounded in her Yup'ik, Nita's experience in LKSD, and involvement in many committees has broadened her to understand how Indigenous students can be taught. Her work is unending and she does what she loves to do — help, teach, and train teachers. In 1994, Nita received the Milken Family Foundation Award. Nita has four college graduate children, and five grandchildren. She and her husband Mike, retired from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, live in Homer.
Bio coming soon.