The Research Vessel Sikuliaq arrived in Alaska waters in February, kicking off a series of public events in Ketchikan, Juneau (shown above) and its homeport of Seward. Hundreds of community members participated in tours of the ship at each stop. The ship, which traveled more than 30,000 nautical miles from Marinette, Wisconsin, to Alaska, is the only ice-capable vessel in the United States research fleet. Construction of the nearly $200 million vessel was funded primarily through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It is owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. The Sikuliaq is the first research vessel built for the NSF since 1981. Sikuliaq is an Inupiaq word meaning "young sea ice." The name was chosen to reflect not only the university's focus on Arctic research but also Alaska's heritage.
The Student Investment Fund at UAF has surpassed a total of $1 million. The fund was established at the School of Management in 1991 by $100,000 of unrestricted gifts from private donations provided for student investment purposes. Over the years, the fund has provided $65,500 in scholarships to 46 students. In recent years, robust earnings provided more money for need-based scholarships, allowing four annual awards of $2,500 each.
UAF dominated the American Indian Science and Engineering Society national chapter awards, winning three out of five awards at the conference in November in Orlando, Florida. The chapter received the Recruitment and Retention, Chapter of the Year and Professional and Chapter Development awards. This marks the sixth time that UAF was awarded the Stelvio J. Zanin Distinguished Chapter of the Year Award.
The Cooperative Extension Service hosted the Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference in March. The 11th annual event highlighted farm decision making and sustainable farming practices. More than 40 presentations covered topics such as livestock care, growing fruits and vegetables, farm management and overwintering bees.
A new study may help provide more accurate Arctic sea ice predictions. A group of researchers from UAF's International Arctic Research Center and the Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning examined 35 global climate models, the most powerful tools for assessing the future trajectory of Arctic sea ice cover. Model simulations are the basis for projections of future changes in Arctic sea ice, so it is crucial that model outputs are credible. By comparing the models to the past observational data, or hindcast simulations, the researchers selected subsets of more accurate models to find better future projections of Arctic sea ice extent.
UAF passed its first centennial milestone recently. President Wilson signed the act reserving land for the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines on March 4, 1915.
UAF's Alaska Satellite Facility is tracking and receiving data from NASA's newest satellite, which will measure the planet's soil moisture every three days for three years. Data will be provided to scientists to help understand and improve forecasting of all things related to soil moisture, including floods, droughts, weather, water supplies and the changing climate.
UAF will host an international cyberconference on dispute resolution April 15. The conference, organized by the Department of Communication's dispute resolution program, connects participants from around the world via video conference. Raf Gangat, South Africa's former ambassador to the United Emirates and the Palestinian territories, will be the keynote speaker.
UAF will hold its 93rd graduation with ceremonies in Fairbanks and at community campuses. Oscar winner and UAF alumnus Ben Grossman '95 is invited as commencement speaker. Yup'ik culture bearer Gust Bartman will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree; renowned geologist Thomas R. Marshall Jr., will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree; and Alaska Native artist Ron Senungetuk will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree. Meritorious Service Awards will go to Tony Gasbarro, professor emeritus and former coordinator of UAF's Peace Corps Masters International Program, and to Karen Parr, educator and community leader. The Fairbanks ceremony will take place at the Carlson Center on Sunday, May 10. Bartman is expected to receive his degree at the Bristol Bay Campus ceremony on May 2.
through the lens: recent images
Students and volunteers from Ghemm Company Inc. place pieces and secure them in position during construction of the 2015 ice arch. The annual Fairbanks campus tradition spans more than 50 years.
Photos, clockwise from top left
One in a series of sounding rockets is launched in temperatures near minus 40 degrees by the MTeX 2015 team from the Poker Flat Research Range about 25 miles northeast of Fairbanks. UAF Geophysical Institute scientists were waiting for the right conditions to conduct their experiments and launched the morning of Jan. 26.
The Nanook Rifle Team won the 2015 NCAA Small Bore National Championship, held March 13-14 in the Patty Center. The 'Nooks took second overall, finishing just two points behind top-rated West Virginia.
Chancellor Brian Rogers and Sherry Modrow host the 2015 Chancellor's Gala. The event raised more than $154,000. The net proceeds will be used to support mental health services in the community through a collaboration between UAF and the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation.
UAF photos by Todd Paris unless otherwise indicated.