2014 award recipients

Joe Usibelli, far left, joins Chancellor Brian Rogers at right, in a photo this evening at the University of Alaska Museum of the North with the 2014 Usibelli Award Winners. UAF faculty members Roger Ruess was honored for his research efforts, Elena Sparrow for her outstanding service, and Joseph Thompson for exemplary teaching.
Joe Usibelli, far left, joins Chancellor Brian Rogers at right, in a photo this evening at the University of Alaska Museum of the North with the 2014 Usibelli Award Winners. UAF faculty members Roger Ruess was honored for his research efforts, Elena Sparrow for her outstanding service, and Joseph Thompson for exemplary teaching.

Dr. Elena Sparrow

2014 Emil Usibelli Distinguished Service Award

WHEREAS Dr. Elena Sparrow has served the University of Alaska Fairbanks with distinction since 1985; and has become an internationally recognized leader in efforts to bring science alive for primary and secondary school students and their teachers; and has creatively engaged these students and teachers through methods that give their imaginations room to explore; and 

WHEREAS Dr. Sparrow, as education and outreach director at UAF’s International Arctic Research Center, has created multiple bridges to local classrooms; and has been a pioneering force in creating a way for students in Alaska and worldwide to collect research-quality environmental data; and has been an exemplary volunteer at regional and state science fairs; and 

WHEREAS Dr. Sparrow, a soil microbiologist, has successfully encouraged fellow scientists to share their knowledge, bringing her expertise in this field to conferences across the world; 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the University of Alaska Fairbanks takes great pride in the achievements and contributions of its faculty, and extends its sincere appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Elena Sparrow; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the University, in recognizing the extraordinary excellence in public service demonstrated by Dr. Elena Sparrow, bestows upon her the Emil Usibelli Distinguished Service Award on this day of May 6, 2014. 


Dr. Roger Ruess

2014 Emil Usibelli Distinguished Research Award

WHEREAS Dr. Roger Ruess has served the University of Alaska Fairbanks with distinction since 1989, becoming an international leader in ecosystem science and boreal forest ecology; and has published more than ninety papers in top academic journals, establishing one of the highest publication rates in the College of Natural Science and Mathematics; and 

WHEREAS Dr. Ruess has uncovered details of the carbon and nitrogen cycles in boreal forests, especially how alder trees, which fix nitrogen in the soil with the aid of bacteria and fungi, can both affect and adapt to diverse environments; and has recently extended his research to investigate how insect outbreaks could disrupt the nitrogen supply in salmon streams; and 

WHEREAS Dr. Ruess leads the Bonanza Creek Long-Term Ecological Research program, where he is principal investigator in a multidisciplinary effort to study and model the effects of climate change and how they could affect Alaska’s rural communities; 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the University of Alaska Fairbanks takes great pride in the achievements and contributions of its faculty, and extends its sincere appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Roger Ruess; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the University, in recognizing the extraordinary excellence in research demonstrated by Dr. Roger Ruess, bestows upon him the Emil Usibelli Distinguished Research Award on this day of May 6, 2014. 


Dr. Joseph C. Thompson

2014 Emil Usibelli Distinguished Teaching Award

WHEREAS Dr. Joseph C. Thompson has served the University of Alaska Fairbanks with distinction since 1999; and has proved himself an inspiring teacher who applies his own creative methods and research materials to electrify his philosophy and humanities courses; and 

WHEREAS Dr. Thompson has transformed courses into stimulating, engaging explorations lauded by students; and has developed concise methods of presenting material, with high but fair expectations for students; and has researched his subject matter across the globe, collecting a library of material that he weaves into his constantly updated lectures; and 

WHEREAS Dr. Thompson has taught classes and lectured across many disciplines; has shared generously his teaching methods; and has not only advised the student Socratic Society but also participated in its events as an orator and debater; 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the University of Alaska Fairbanks takes great pride in the achievements and contributions of its faculty, and extends its sincere appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Joseph C. Thompson; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the University, in recognizing the extraordinary excellence in teaching demonstrated by Dr. Joseph C. Thompson, bestows upon him the Emil Usibelli Distinguished Teaching Award on this day of May 6, 2014. 

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