Naturally Inspiring


Libby and Tiana
Watch the duo share their inspiring story at


As registrar, I have seen a lot of changes at UAF. I was with the university during the ‘80s, when our state faced some very serious economic troubles — much like we are now. One thing that hasn’t changed at UAF is our sense of family and community. For me, being part of a community means giving a little back. 

I first started giving in 2011 to the A. Ruth Evern Scholarship, to honor my friend Ruth after her passing. Giving back felt so good that I have continued giving every year. Receiving my annual phonathon call is something I sincerely look forward to each year. Speaking directly to a student like Tiana about her experience, I learned that donors like you and me truly make a difference in students’ lives. Giving, no matter the amount, is a concrete way to show that we believe in students and want them to succeed. When they walk across that stage on graduation day, knowing we had a little something to do with it — priceless.


I joined the phonathon as a student caller in the fall semester of 2013. Calling strangers was a little intimidating at first, but very quickly I learned just how special the UAF community is. Sometimes I wouldn’t get a donation, but I would have the most interesting conversation with an alum and learn so much! Every once in a while, I would have a truly fantastic connection, like I did with Libby. Her belief in me really motivated me to work harder. 

Phonathon was one of the most important things I did in college. I learned so much — most importantly about the kindness of strangers like you. Thank you. In fact, I was so inspired by you, last year I became a donor myself! I learned that if everyone gives a little, together we can accomplish so much. 

JR Ancheta
JR Ancheta

In December 2011, as a UAF student, I was an embedded photojournalist with the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment of the 1-25th Stryker Brigade Combat Team from Fort Wainwright in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Cheryl Hatch, the 2010-2011 Snedden Endowed Chair of Journalism at UAF, and I made the tough decision to finish a story we were working on about soldiers deploying to Afghanistan. While my trip was not sponsored by the university, it would have been improbable without the support and encouragement by the faculty and my peers. This galvanizing collaboration with Cheryl was made possible by the generous donation of the Snedden family. The roster of past Snedden chairs includes some of the most accomplished reporters in the country, including 11 Pulitzer Prizewinning journalists.

At UAF, I was given room to discover what I have to contribute to the world. I tried and failed and explored — something I strongly encourage other students to do. Thanks in part to the mentorship I received at UAF, I discovered what propels and inspires me the most. My mentors here have encouraged, supported and nurtured my love of photography and the French language. I have been awarded a number of scholarships as a student at UAF, mentored high school students for two summers with the Visual Art Academy at UAF and received two Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity grants and am the President of the French Club. I work as the assistant photographer for UAF Marketing and Communications. I was named journalism student of the year for the 2013-2014 academic year. Please consider renewing your support to UAF and offer students the opportunity to explore and discover their passions. I am so grateful for your continued support.

JR Ancheta
BA Journalism, BA French, ’15

Sierra Corsetti
Sierra Corsetti

The smell of the summer air in Alaska has an energizing effect. I feel invigorated out in the wild, whether it’s on the water, commercial fishing with an elder in Unalakleet, perched on an observation tower counting salmon, or most recently this summer as a research assistant, flipping our boat while scouting — I know I made the right choice as a fourth-year student pursuing a bachelor’s of science in biological sciences.

I was raised in Unalakleet, Alaska, and in high school attended the summer Rural Alaska Honors Institute on the Fairbanks campus. When I first began attending UAF in 2011, I had the intention of earning a biology degree and then continuing to graduate school in the Lower 48 to become a veterinarian. After studying at UAF for about a year, I realized I was far more interested in learning about and researching what Alaska has to offer through natural resources, fisheries and wildlife.

I chose UAF because I appreciate the small-town feel of the campus, I enjoy the challenging cold of Fairbanks winters, and, most importantly, I believe that UAF has an exciting program for my chosen major. Had I gone to a school elsewhere, I would not have had the unique opportunity to study in the wilderness of Alaska, or to see how actual Alaskan researchers do their studies.

Because of scholarships, I haven’t taken out any student loans and can focus on my studies instead of worrying about mounting debt. I am extremely thankful for donors like you — lowering students’ costs during this time in their life is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give to them. As a phonathon student caller in the fall of 2013, I was so pleased to have the opportunity to call and thank donors directly.

UAF is an impressive and remarkable research university, and I think that it is due to generous donors like you that UAF has so much to offer today. Thank you for supporting UAF and students like me.

Sierra Corsetti
BS Biological Sciences, ’15

Corporate and foundation giving

Marisa Sharrah (pictured above), public affairs officer with Flint Hills Resources, visits with students attending the Alaska Summer Research Academy in the Reichardt Building on the Fairbanks campus. ASRA offers engaging and in-depth experiences in science and engineering to youth from middle school through high school. The Alaska Summer Research Academy promotes creativity and intellectual curiosity through hands-on, open-ended experiences in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Flint Hills Resources has been a longtime supporter of the program along with their support of other areas at UAF.

Recently, Flint Hills renewed its support of UAF with a gift of $110,000. The School of Management, the Alaska Summer Research Academy and the Athletic Department will each receive $20,000. The CTC process technology program and the College of Engineering and Mines will receive $25,000 each. Flint Hills Resources Alaska has been a steadfast partner with UAF for many years. This new gift is above and beyond their $25,000 donation in support of the UA Museum of the North. 

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