Published January 11, 2016
WASHINGTON — The White House announced Sunday that Lydia Doza, 24, an Alaska Native woman from Anchorage, will be seated with the First Lady Michelle Obama for State of the Union on Tuesday night.
Each year, the White House selects citizens to sit in the First Lady’s box during the annual State of the Union address. Doza is one of two dozen chosen to sit with First Lady Obama.
Doza is a participant in the Administration’s Generation Indigenous initiative and a college student, who is pursuing a degree in software engineering technology at Oregon Tech, where she’s also an event organizer for Engineering Ambassadors, which focuses on outreach to kids as young as three years old through high school to encourage a career in engineering.
Originally from Anchorage, Doza was brought up in three Alaskan tribes – Inupiaq, Tsimshian, and Haida – as well as her grandmother Joanne’s influence taught her the value of an education and the importance of mentorship.
She discovered her passion for engineering early on through her high school robotics team. She’s engaging with rural youth in disciplines across the STEM fields to apply their skills and education.
After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Doza hopes to work full time as a software engineer while continuing her involvement in the community to promote the importance of STEM and higher education. She ultimately hopes to pursue a master’s degree in data science and encourage more women to go into STEM. Her mother, Maria Graham, and two brothers, Dorien and Leland, live in Wasilla, Alaska.