Meet our Pediatric Oncology Team
At Alaska Pediatric Oncology, we have a team to help your child and your family through the entire treatment process. This means that you may see one or many of us throughout your child’s treatment. That is a lot of opportunities to meet someone different! Please allow us to introduce ourselves and we look forward to meeting you along the journey.
Dr. Laura Schulz
Dr. Laura Schulz was Alaska’s first full time pediatric oncologist and has been practicing in the state since 2005. She helped build up the state’s only pediatric oncology program so that most families with a childhood cancer diagnosis can now receive all their treatment, including access to clinical trials, without leaving Alaska. She is the recipient of an American Academy of Pediatrics Alaska Chapter Special Achievement Award honoring her work helping more Alaskan families to receive medical care close to home. She earned her medical degree and general pediatrics degree at The Ohio State University and trained in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
Away from work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children. She loves to garden and grows sunflowers and tomatoes in her greenhouse in summer. In winter, she loves to take her dog out for romps in the snow.
Q&A with Dr. Schulz
- What is your favorite location in Alaska? I have two. My greenhouse and garden in the summer and Sitka, AK during the summer music festival.
- What is your favorite Alaskan activity? Again, I have two! Growing sunflowers outside of my greenhouse and hiking.
- When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I decided pretty early on that I wanted to be a doctor because I have always liked science and I knew I wanted to work with people.
- I played marching trombone in my high school marching band.
- One of my first jobs was selling popcorn and peanuts in the stands at Albuquerque Dukes baseball games.
- I was named after Laura Ingalls Wilder from “Little House on the Prairie.”
Dr. Brenda Wittman
Dr. Brenda Wittman grew up in Memphis, Tennessee before earning her undergraduate degree from Emory University in Atlanta. She then went on to earn her medical and masters degrees from the University of Rochester in New York before completing her residency and fellowship at Strong Memorial Hospital, also in Rochester. Dr. Wittman is double-board certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology. She is the principal investigator for the Children’s Oncology Group clinical trials that allow children with cancer in Alaska to have access to cutting edge pediatric cancer research.
After working in Arizona for almost a decade, Dr. Wittman came to Anchorage in 2014 and began working with Providence Alaska Medical Center as a pediatric oncologist. Dr. Wittman is proud to be a founding member of Alaska Pediatric Oncology and looks forward to continuing to serve Alaska’s pediatric patients for many years to come.
Dr. Wittman spends her free time figure skating (indoors or outdoors), reading, doing puzzles, hiking, and spending time with her dog, Annie.
Q&A with Dr. Wittman
- What is your favorite location in Alaska? I don’t have a favorite location in Alaska. Everywhere is beautiful and I feel like there are so many new places to explore!
- What is your favorite Alaskan activity? Outdoor figure skating.
- When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a teacher or a doctor.
- Dr. Wittman studied four different languages, French, Latin, Greek, and Italian.
- Dr. Wittman graduated from college with high honors.
- Dr. Wittman competed in figure skating competitions in the US, Canada, Germany, France, and Russia.
Kristi Davis, Chief Operating Officer
Kristi Davis was born and raised in Alaska. She has an extensive background in business development and operations. Kristi has her Master’s in Business Administration from The University of Alaska Anchorage and is active in the Alaska Medical Group Management Association.
Kristi is passionate about bringing high-quality healthcare services to the children and families in her home state.
When Kristi is not working or volunteering, she enjoys running, camping, traveling and spending time with her family.
Q&A with Kristi:
- What is your favorite location in Alaska? I love Valdez and our cabin at Summit Lake.
- What is your favorite Alaskan activity? Camping.
- When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a teacher or a marine biologist.
- I was born and raised in Alaska.
- I am fascinated and terrified of the ocean.
- I love spicy food.
Ronda Nakoa, PNP
Ronda Nakoa is a lifelong Alaskan and a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with nearly 20 years of experience in caring for children in Alaska. Prior to becoming a nurse, Ronda served in the United States Navy. Ronda obtained her BSN from UAA and started her nursing career as a staff/charge nurse at Providence Hospital in pediatrics and PICU. While working in pediatrics, Ronda became interested and received training in pediatric oncology. Ronda decided to go back to college to obtain her MSN, in hopes of working as an NP specializing in pediatric oncology. Ronda has been a pediatric oncology NP for eight years at Providence Alaska Medical Center. She has also worked part-time with Alaska Pediatric Surgery for three years. Ronda looks forward to many more years of caring for Alaska’s kids.
Q&A with Ronda:
- What is your favorite location in Alaska? Homer/Seldovia on a sunny day.
- What is your favorite Alaskan activity? Camping with my two boys and friends.
- When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be an elementary school teacher or a nurse when I grew up.
- A raven stole Ronda’s PB&J out of her hand when she was 5. She is still freaked out by those birds.
- Ronda loves music and camping. She is a regular at Salmonfest in Ninilchik and has only missed the event twice in eight years.
- Ronda was stationed on an island called Diego Garcia while in the Navy. While there, she caught a 60 pound skipjack tuna on her birthday; one of the biggest on record for that island at the time.
Cheryl Valley, RN
Cheryl Valley grew up in Superior, Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior with a degree in Biology and emphasis in Cytotechnology. She began her career working as a lab technician for four years.
Cheryl married her husband in 1995. At the time, he was active duty Air Force in Omaha, Nebraska. Over the years, they lived in Colorado, Iceland, Alabama, Virginia and Alaska, before finally settling back in Alaska after his retirement. During their first tour here, Cheryl went back to school and completed her BSN at UAA, and she has worked in pediatric oncology for the last 14 years. Cheryl began her career looking at cancer through a microscope, then felt the need to be with patients. She never expected in nursing school that she would end up in pediatric oncology, but it’s where she started and is very happy to stay.
Cheryl loves spending time with her husband and two grown sons hiking all summer and Nordic skiing anywhere she can find snow in the winter. She grew up near the tip of Lake Superior and thought nowhere could be more beautiful, but then she saw the mountains of Alaska and is now a true “mountain girl” (with a little Lake Superior in her heart).
Q&A with Cheryl:
- What is your favorite location in Alaska? Reed Lakes (Hatcher’s Pass).
- What is your favorite Alaskan activity? Nordic skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.
- When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A lab tech. I loved looking through a microscope! I did that for a while (cytotechnologist) and then became a nurse. I got it right the second time!
- People are always surprised when they hear I lived in Iceland for 2 years
- I am a closet “birder” – I absolutely love to go birding!
Laura Clark, RN
Laura Clark was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and grew up mostly in the Midwest. She graduated from Minot State University in Minot, ND with her BSN in 2009. Aside from a quick year of adult nursing experience, she has worked in pediatrics and pediatric oncology from the start. Laura was given the opportunity to expand her skill set at PAMC where she joined the pediatric oncology team in the hospital. She is excited to keep learning more and caring for the pediatric oncology population here at Alaska Pediatric Oncology!
Laura loves to spend her time outdoors hiking and adventuring to new places in Alaska with her dog, Nuska. She loves everything about living in the mountains and can’t imagine living in the prairies of the Midwest again!
Q&A with Laura:
- What is your favorite location in AK? This is a tough one, but I would have to say my favorite place is anywhere I can see Denali up close or far away.
- What is your favorite Alaskan activity? I love hiking, camping and whale watching in the summer and chasing the Northern Lights in the winter.
- When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be just like my mom…a pastor’s wife.
- I have played the piano since I was 3.
- I played violin in the orchestra for both Frank Sinatra Jr. and the band Kansas.
- I really love sea otters!
Shamaira Gray, MA
Shamaira Gray was born in Alaska and raised in Seattle. At the age of one, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is the most common childhood cancer. It occurs when a bone marrow cell develops errors in its DNA. After successfully going into remission over two decades ago, she graduated from Alaska Community College as a Medical Assistant in 2015. She has worked as an MA since then at a variety of clinics in Anchorage prior to joining Alaska Pediatric Oncology. She is continuing her degree at University of Alaska Anchorage to become an RN and plans to continue to work within the pediatric medical field.
When Shamaira is not working, she enjoys spending time with her son and her mother. She loves to shop, eat and enjoy life!
Q&A with Shamaira:
- What is your favorite location in AK? My favorite location in Alaska is the Portage Glacier.
- What is your favorite Alaskan activity? My favorite Alaskan activity is hiking.
- When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? As a child growing up, I wanted to be a nurse or doctor and work within the pediatric field.
- I love eating!
- I fell on the treadmill in front of the whole gym.
- I have only been fishing once.
Jen Cudmore, Revenue Cycle Manager
Jen Cudmore grew up on the Columbia River Gorge in a tiny cabin in the woods – with no electricity. After earning a BA in Psychology, she started a family and left the Pacific Northwest for Alaska. She has been a resident of Anchorage for over 20 years and worked in various medical clinics. After 17 years in medical billing for orthopedics, she is thrilled to expand her knowledge with new specialties, and is currently working toward her CMPE certification.
Her hobbies include reading, writing, traveling, watching sunrises, and taking photos of family. She believes her greatest accomplishment (so far!) is her two adult children.
Q&A with Jen:
- What is your favorite location in AK? Any place with a beach by the ocean!
- What is your favorite Alaskan activity? Camping
- When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher or singer.
- In high school, Jen was ASB president and the mascot at sports events (cougar).
- Jen once visited Australia, where she fed kangaroos, pet a purring cheetah, walked with a Sumatra tiger, and cuddled a sweet koala.
- Several years ago, Jen published a couple historical fiction novels and some short stories.
Shayna Syverson, Receptionist
Shayna Syverson was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. When Shayna was 17, she moved to Texas, but within months she moved back home to Alaska because she missed the mountains and the landscapes. Shayna worked at a local, family-owned restaurant for over 10 years before deciding she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. Prior to working in pediatrics, Shayna worked as a receptionist in pain management. She enjoys helping others and making someone’s day a little brighter.
When Shayna is not working, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, going on walks, listening to podcasts, reading, and watching movies.
Q&A with Shayna:
- What is your favorite location in AK? Hope
- What is your favorite Alaskan activity? Camping
- When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Veterinarian
- Shayna has two cats, two snakes, and a fish.
- Shayna fell from her third-story balcony and did not break or fracture anything.
- Shayna doesn’t like mayonnaise.