Chancellor's Report

June 2016

Size:á3.4Mábytes Modified: 23 May 2016, 09:35

The Kuskokwim Campus is the largest rural campus in the UAF system. Edward Wassilie from Kasigluk, left, Wilona Okitkun from Kotlik, Larissa Flynn from Chefornak and Justin Bill from Toksook Bay stand outside Sackett Hall on a windy March day in Bethel.


Carolyn Kozak, a master’s student in Arctic and northern studies, was named the UAF student ambassador to the University of the Arctic. UArctic is a network of more than 170 universities and other organizations concerned with education and research in the North. Kozak will represent student perspectives in UArctic activities, events and more.

Scientists at the UAF Geophysical Institute developed novel techniques to automate the way they detect, locate, characterize and monitor volcanic eruptions. By analyzing ground-coupled airwaves on volcano seismic networks, David Fee, a research assistant professor of volcanology, and colleagues can better understand the behavior of active volcanoes — even those located in remote parts of Alaska. The scientists’ work was highlighted in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America in April 2016.

UAF Associate Professor Brian O’Donoghue received the First Amendment Award from the Alaska Press Club for his student-assisted reporting on the innocence claims of four Alaska Native men convicted of murdering a Fairbanks teen in 1997. Their convictions were dismissed in December. O’Donoghue joined the Journalism Department in 2001.

“Changa Revisited,” a new ethnographic documentary film co-produced by Leonard Kamerling, premiered in Alaska this spring. The documentary features Tanzanian Maasai elder Toreto ole Koisenge, whose livelihood depends on his family’s cattle. Across 30 years, the cattle numbers crashed and family members adapted to the loss of their traditional livelihood. Kamerling is curator of the Alaska Center for Documentary Film, which is based at the University of Alaska Museum of the North on the Fairbanks campus.

Sarah Andrew, manager of adult learning programs at UAF’s Bristol Bay Campus, received the 2016 Kay Thomas Pathfinder Award. The annual award recognizes those who work tirelessly on behalf of rural and Alaska Native students. The award is presented by the UAF Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development.

UAF ranked No. 12 in a listing of the top 20 U.S. colleges for outdoor adventurers. The Fairbanks campus was noted for its proximity to Denali National Park, its plethora of trails, the Nanook Terrain Park, the outdoor climbing wall and the many courses offered through Outdoor Adventures. The list appeared on The Outbound Collective site.

In Progress

UAF students developed and continue to refine a new smart-phone app targeted to homeless youth. Mindy Courter, a graduate counseling student at the School of Education, is working with a campus computer science class to develop the app that will help teens find food, services and safe lodging in the area. The app is a project for UAF’s Senior Capstone computer-science class, which donates its time to create custom software for businesses and organizations each year.

The new Association for Women in Science, Alaska Chapter, is growing. Elena Sparrow, a research professor and education outreach director at the International Arctic Research Center, is the president and founding member of the chapter. The local group meets once per month and champions the interests of women across all scientific disciplines.

What's Next

Magical Mondays begin June 8 and run through Aug. 10 on the Fairbanks campus. The series provides free hands-on science lectures and activities for kids and their families. Topics range from Alaska dinosaurs to robotics and also include summer planetarium shows. The Magical Mondays series is one of many special activities coordinated by UAF Summer Sessions & Lifelong Learning. More details are available at

The Fairbanks campus will host five events as part of the 2016 Alaska International Senior Games to be held in Fairbanks in August. Athletes aged 50 and older will compete in basketball, archery, disc golf, table tennis and triathlon to qualify for the 2017 National Senior Games in Birmingham, Alabama.

through the lens: recent images

The UAF Inu-Yupiaq student dancers performed on the center stage during the Arctic Science Summit Week banquet March 15 in the Carlson Center. The summit brought more than 1,000 participants from upward of 30 nations to UAF and Fairbanks in mid-March. According to UAF Vice Chancellor for Research Larry Hinzman, the significance of the events cannot be overstated.

In an op-ed piece printed in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Hinzman wrote, “The U.S. and global communities are finally coming to the realization of the important role that the Arctic plays in international politics, economics and science.”

Photos, clockwise from top left 

Students from a UAF Zumba class took part in the annual Dance Off competition April 21, on the Fairbanks campus, helping to kick off the SpringFest ’16 weekend.

Staff gathered a reserve of tassels at UAF’s Northwest Campus in Nome as they prepared to honor graduates from across the University of Alaska system during the spring commencement ceremony.

Debbie Nielson, left, and her daughter, Natasha, are both graduates of the collaborative program between UAF’s Bristol Bay Campus and the UAA School of Nursing. They both work as registered nurses at the Kanakanak Hospital in Dillingham.

Nicole Dunham pours birch sap collected from a tree into a bucket in mid-April. Altogether, 250 trees were tapped for sap in 2016, including 70 trees on the UAF campus. After the sap is collected, it’s concentrated with a reverse osmosis machine in OneTree’s lab in the Lola Tilly Commons. The machine removes a large percentage of the water before the sap is boiled down to syrup.

UAF photos by Todd Paris unless otherwise indicated.

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