Click on the Alumnae’s name for a further details.

Shirley Mae (Springer) Staten

Photo of Shirley Mae (Springer) Staten

Staten has given countless keynotes and impacted many lives, weaving stories and song to inspire women in prison, disadvantaged youth, young Native women, graduates at University of Alaska Anchorage, teachers with Anchorage School District and women across the world. She created and directed the Alaska Women’s Choir, which toured throughout Alaska and the International Women’s Conference in Nairobi. Children in the Home Base After-School Program that she directed from 2006-2011 published two books and produced a CD and two photo exhibits. With Staten’s guidance, the students planned, fundraised, negotiated, and travelled to Ghana to visit schools and perform there. Staten challenged the students to dream, and students learned to take charge of their own dreams. She brings diverse groups together in community dialogues locally through the Humanities Forum programs and through the Martin Luther King Citywide Celebration. Staten also inspired youth with her performances as part of the Alaska State Council of the Arts’ “Artist in Residence” Program.
Staten started school in the segregated, poor schools in the south, Georgia. Although she graduated from high school, she had difficulties with reading. She picked cotton and worked in tobacco as a child. Music was always a part of her life, whether it was singing in the fields with her grandmother, aunts Pearline and Annabelle and cousin Daisy, or listening to her mother humming a tune from the time she woke, after prayers. She left Georgia at age 17, and she moved to Anchorage in 1981 after working as an AmeriCorps VISTA in New Mexico and teaching assistant in Los Angeles, with three summers of work in Fairbanks that brought her to Alaska.
Education: 1987: Associates Degree in Human Services, Anchorage Community College; 1989: BA in Human Resource Development, Alaska Pacific University; 1996: MS in Spiritual Psychology, University of Santa Monica, California. Specialized training: 1993: Jack Canfield: Self-Esteem Facilitator’s Training; Mark Victor Hansen: Transformational Intensive; 1994: Deepak Chopra: Interpersonal Development Workshop; 2000: Re-evaluation Counseling Training, 2003: Training in the Power of Dialog; 2004: Dr. Barbara Love: Phenomenological Listening; 2005: Beverly Tatum: Understanding Racism
Professional/Work History/Community Involvement:  1985-1989: Coordinator, Anchorage Martin Luther King Citywide Celebration; 1985,1988, 2003, 2009: Developed programs and organized groups to travel to Africa and Cuba to share music, culture, and stories; 1989-1993: Community School Coordinator, Anchorage School District; 1995-1999: Project Coordinator, Anchorage School District Young Women’s and Multi-Cultural Conferences; 1996: Cultural Events Coordinator, United Nations /NGU Women’s Conference, New York/Beijing, China; 1996-1999: Alaska Humanities Forum, Coordinator, Speaker’s Bureau; 1999-2001: Exhibit Coordinator, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center: Looking Both Ways-Heritage and identity of the Alutiiq People”; 2000-2002: Project Coordinator, Community Dialog: Understanding neighbors; 2000, 2004, 2006: Coordinator of Youth Leadership Conference: Alaska Native Heritage Center; 2006-2011: Director, Home-Base After-School Program; 2002-Present: Educator, Coordinator: Cross-Cultural Immersion Program and Cultural Camp: Alaska Humanities Forum

O’Malley, J. (2011). In Fairview, Miss Shirley opens children’s eyes. Anchorage Daily News, May 5.

Induction ceremony acceptance speech


A performer, educator and “cultural activist,” Staten brings change through dialogue and the arts. She has been a keynote speaker, inspirational workshop facilitator and is a well- known performing artist with a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Development and a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology.
Staten stimulates dialogue across race and gender with cultural activities. She has served as coordinator for cultural events at the 1996 United Nations Women’s Conference in Beijing, China. She functions as a cultural ambassador, bringing her music and message of community to many countries.
Music has been a large part of Staten’s life, beginning in the Georgia cotton fields with her grandmother when she was a child. She has performed across the world, including China, Cuba, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, India, Russia, France, Uruguay, Argentina and across the United States.
Staten has contributed to many programs such as New Initiatives: The Anchorage Cultural Summit, in September 2016, a Hiland Mountain Correctional Center Lullaby Project to change the lives of imprisoned mothers and their children, and Camp Kaleidoscope, a creative cross-cultural experience for eight to 14 year-olds. With The Alaska Humanities Forum’s Educators Cross-Cultural Immersion Program, she prepared 400 professors and teachers to go to rural Alaska to gain an understanding of the cultures of Alaska Native students. She created “Home Base” in Fairview to teach science, math and technology in a safe after-school environment and to expose children to things “outside their usual world.”
Julia O’Malley described Staten in 2011:“She’s one of those people who seem to look exactly the same when you’re grown up as when you were in third grade . . . part no-nonsense mother figure, part inspirational speaker, with close-cropped hair, a penchant for dangling, jewel-tone earrings and a vibrato singing voice I can still hear in my head.”

Induction ceremony acceptance speech