About Us

Who we are

The UAF Academic Advising Center, under the Division of General Studies, officially opened in the fall of 1988 to serve:

  • General studies students (also known as undeclared, exploratory, or undecided)
  • Pre-major students (also known as Baccalaureate Intended who are underprepared for baccalaureate-level coursework)
  • Degree completion/Interdisciplinary students
  • Interdisciplinary Major/Minor students
  • Student athletes
  • Pre-professional students interested in medical/health, law, and other professional and graduate schools 
  • Students in transition between majors
  • AHEAD (high school admits) students
  • Non-degree seeking students
  • Academically disqualified students

In the Academic Advising Center the staff and specially-trained faculty academic advisors advise these students.  Our office also serves as a resource for information and training to the academic advising community.


Where we are

The Academic Advising Center is located in 510 Gruening and we can be reached at 907-474-6396 or 1-888-823-8780, or email us at uaf-advising@alaska.edu.

For information on parking for visitors, students, staff and faculty go the the Parking Servies link under the UAF Bursar's Office.


Meet Our Academic Advisors,

Staff & Students


Ginny Kinne


Ginny Kinne was born and raised in Rochester, New York in the same house for 18 years until she took a leap and left for college in Fairbanks, Alaska. Graduating with a BA in Journalism and a minor in Spanish from UAF, she took time off to work as a New Student Orientation Coordinator, Admissions Counselor, and finally Academic Advisor, later finishing a MEd in Counseling, becoming a K-12 certified school counselor.

Ginny is married to a land surveyor (who she met in Alaska, but grew up 3 hours south of her in upstate New York), and is a mama to an adventurous 2-year-old son, a brand new curious daughter and two rambunctious pups. She enjoys knitting, baking, canning jams and jellies, pickling veggies and also moonlights as a beekeeper during the summers, basically living as a wanna-be homesteader.



Lena Krutikov

Academic Advisor I

Lena was born in Russia and at age 3 moved to the US, where she grew up in Texas and New York. After getting a BA in Geology, she worked and traveled throughout Antarctica, New Zealand, and the Southwest US.

Seeking blue skies, plentiful trails, and affordable rent, she came to UAF to pursue a MS in Geology and later, a State of Alaska teaching certificate. Lena enjoys exploring and learning new things. Outside of the office, she can be found skiing, biking, and running on the trails or reading, baking, taking photos. She adores her 4-year old son, husband, and two tuxedo cats.



John Smelter

Academic Advisor, Degree Completion

John was born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania along the Susquehanna River. He’s always had an interest in stories, art and nature. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and then moved to northern Japan to teach English in the JET Program. While in Japan, he began to study ceramics with a family of Japanese potters.

After returning to the U.S. he continued to pursue ceramics and eventually earned his Master of Fine Arts Degree at UAF. After graduating John has worked as a guide in the Arctic and has continued at UAF as an adjunct instructor, admissions counselor, and academic advisor. Outside of work, John enjoys spinning yarns, romping in the outdoors, cooking, sweating in a sauna, and watching things grow.


Stacey Howdeshell

Generalist Advisor/Information Specialist

Stacey was born and raised in Western Washington and moved to Alaska over 30 years ago with her husband, Steve. They lived the first 10 years in Anchorage, finally settling in Fairbanks in 1989 to make a home and raise their family. As a university staff member since 1990, she is committed to serving UAF students, faculty and staff with great enthusiasm.

In addition to her position in the Academic Advising Center, Stacey is currently working toward a BA in Art. “I study the natural world through sculpture and enjoy the beauty and bold contrasts that life in Fairbanks can bring”. In her spare time, Stacey enjoys time with her family, friends, art and gardening.


Faculty Advisors


Richard Carr

Faculty Advisor II

Rich was born and grew up in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He has degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (BA, English), University of Iowa (MA, English), and the University of Minnesota (PhD, English). Between those last two degrees he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Somoa, teaching English and math (or maths, as they say in the pacific) at a Catholic boys high school for two years. He also spent several years teaching English as a Second Language at an institute located on the Hamline University campus.

His special area of interest is literature of the Pacific--Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania. Rich is an Associate Professor of English and has directed the UAF Writing Center since 1997 and believes that the one-on-one tutorial can be the key to writing confidence. As a proud Norwegian-American and lifelong resident of the northern climes, Rich finds a week or two of -40 below zero exhilarating.


Ataur Chowdhury

Faculty Advisor II

Ataur is the chair of the AHEAD committee, has been a faculty advisor in the Academic Advising Center for over 20 years, winning the Feist-Schamel Outstanding Advisor award for numerous years.  He also serves as a faculty advisor and Associate Professor in the UAF Physics Department.  His special interests/research are in condensed matter physics and nanotechnology. 


Meriam Karlsson

Faculty Advisor II

Meriam has been with our department as a faculty advisor since 1991.  She has been nominated by students and has been an "Outstanding Advisor Award Winner" numerous times.  She is a Professor of Horticulture as well as the department chair of the program housed in the School of Natural Resource and Extension.


Student Office Assistants


Isabel Castro

Student Assistant

Isabel is originally from Mexico, but was raised in Kodiak, AK. After completing general requirements at Kodiak College, she quickly transferred over to UAF to pursue her Bachelor's in Social Work. Isabel is a Small Group Leader for UAF's Chi Alpha Ministry & a YTH Leader at True North Church. Besides serving the Fairbanks community, she enjoys spending time with her loved ones, being outside (whatever the weather), eating lots of food and drinking copious amounts of coffee & tea.


Michael Hevezi

Student Assistant

Michael was born in California, but is from all over having lived in New Mexico, California, Hawaii, Texas, New York, Okinawa, and Alaska. He came to UAF to pursue his Bachelor's in Biology. Aside from brightening people's days, he enjoys swimming in rivers, ethnobotanical studies, meditation, and oriental cooking.

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