News and Announcements


Photo by Jen Schmidt
Electric vehicle community meetings strengthen UAF research relationships

Nov. 28, 2022

Community connections were strengthened in Kotzebue at a public meeting that took place at the UAF Chukchi Campus, and through one-on-one interviews with local partners about electric vehicles and their place in their Arctic community.

Traditional Net-Making Class

August 3-5, 2022

Using traditional techniques, instructor Auggie Nelson Sr. demonstrated how to create a fishing net using twine, spools, and other materials. Students in the class were supported in their pursuit of sustainable food sovereignty by learning how to make their own net, and how to use it, through the skill and stories of their instructor. There was also discussion regarding employment opportunities when working with nets, and the potential for small business operations.


Four women gather around a silver pot. One woman offers a wooden spoon to another for testing.
Let’s Make Things (Suliaqta): Edible Plants of Alaska

July 10th and 11th, 2022

An “Edible Plants of Northwest Alaska” class, which was part of the Let’s Make Things (Suliaqta) series, was held at LaVonne Hendricks’ Camp on July 10th and 11th, 2022. There were eight registered Chukchi students and several others who participated in parts of the program. Three Elders also participated in the class as local experts and storytellers.

The instructional program was led by Jennifer Nu, a knowledgeable ethnobotanist from the Juneau area. Activities included ethical harvesting and collecting of wild plants, cleaning and preserving greens, and plant identification.


A group of people pose on a gravel beach. Some are holding strips of salmon filets.
Let’s Make Things (Suliaqta): Arctic Keta Salmon Preparation Methods

July 14-15, 2022

The Fish Camp at Lavonne's was led by three Elder teachers who were knowledgeable in fish-cutting methods and skilled in teaching others. Lavonne Hendricks coordinated the event at camp alongside a team of people who supported this engaging training session.    

At one point, twenty-one people were crowded around Lavonne's camp table listening to stories that compared upriver fish cutting to our method at the beach, followed by a general discussion of how to avoid packing in parasites and insect eggs with the fish.  Guided discussions revolved around topics like food safety, ways to cook salmon, and proper canning methods. Elder stories contributed to the depth of experience, with everyone actively participating in cutting, rinsing, hanging, jar-packing, vacuum-packing, and sharing recipes.  Participants sampled salmon dip, salmon spread, fried salmon bellies with flapjacks, and salmon chowder.


Three women pose wearing handmade beaver fur hats that almost obscure their faces.
Chukchi Campus hosts skin sewing workshops

December 17th, 2021

The Chukchi Campus in Kotzebue held two skin sewing workshops taught by local experts this fall. Students gathered to learn how to make rabbit mittens and fox fur hats, a practice in Iñupiaq skin-sewing.

The Iñupiat have practiced skin-sewing for generations, making beautiful, warm, and functional pieces from animal skins hunted using subsistence practices. The generational transfer of this knowledge was interrupted by colonization, yet the Iñupiat preserved their knowledge, culture, and way of life. The skin-sewing workshops hosted by the Chukchi Campus focus on revitalizing traditions and passing knowledge to new generations.

Past workshops held in Kiana, Kivalina, Noatak, and Kotzebue shared knowledge on making fancy qupaks, soft bottom and baby mukluks, subsistence nets, and niksiks (ice fishing jiggers). The Cargill Foundation “To Be Remembered Project” provides funding for the Chukchi Campus to hire local Iñupiaq experts to share their traditional language, culture, arts and crafts knowledge. The grant also covers all university fees and the cost of materials for students.

The Chukchi Campus is a responsive and collaborative rural college that inspires and develops students to contribute to their community’s cultural and civic needs. Located in the hub village of Kotzebue in the Northwest Arctic Borough, Chukchi Campus primarily serves Kotzebue as well as the 11 village communities and the Red Dog Mine site.


Young girl wearing glasses and a knit hat poses with a giant check.
Alaska 529 announces Kiana Norton, of Kotzebue, wins annual $25,000 scholarship account giveaway

December 8th, 2021

Alaska 529 announced today that Kiana Norton, of Kotzebue, has won its annual $25,000 scholarship account giveaway. The 23-year-old is the first person off the road system in Alaska to win the annual scholarship account giveaway. 

Kiana was notified that she won during a surprise Zoom session at the UAF Chukchi Campus, coordinated by Alaska 529, the campus, and her parents. The date of the meeting happened to fall on Kiana’s birthday. As a college student currently taking a semester off, she was delighted to learn about the unexpected financial windfall. "I was going through a really tough time at my current college and winning this has taken a huge load off my shoulders and opened up a lot more options." When asked what prompted her to start her Alaska 529 account in the first place, she said, "I was already saving my PFDs for college expenses so saving with Alaska 529 just felt like a natural choice." Kiana may use the account at any college, university, vocational or technical school that accepts federal financial aid.

“The giveaway is one of our favorite annual activities. The winners are always so excited to receive such a significant boost to their education savings, and I’m equally delighted to plan the announcement and inform the winner. It is a fun way to give Alaska families an additional incentive to save their PFDs for future education expenses and reinforce a college-going culture,” said Lael Oldmixon, executive director of Alaska 529. “I’m happy this will help Kiana on her way, just as many of our past winners have already used their scholarship accounts for higher education.”

Alaska 529 has offered the scholarship account giveaway each year for the last 12 years to provide Alaska families an additional reason to save their PFDs for higher education expenses. All Permanent Fund Dividend applicants who choose to contribute half their dividend to an Alaska 529 account are entered in the giveaway. This year, more than 14,000 applicants were eligible for the drawing. The scholarship account is funded by the Education Trust of Alaska.

For more information, contact Lael Oldmixon at 907-450-8115.


Archived News and Announcements


Flyer for CRCD Scholars award


The University of Alaska Fairbanks received funding through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation (CRRSA) Act. This funding provides support to higher education students affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. The College of Rural and Community Development (CRCD) will receive $100,000 of this distribution, with prioritization given to “students with exceptional financial need.” 

The funding will be used to support student success through scholarships through December 31, 2021.


The CRCD Scholars Award is available to degree-seeking students enrolled in any CRCD degree program or attending through any rural campus in Dillingham, Kotzebue, Bethel, Nome, and Interior Alaska.

  • Students must be admitted to UAF or have applied for UAF admissions for the semester in which they are applying for funding.
  • Students must be enrolled in at least 3 UAF credits.
  • Students must file a 2020/21 FAFSA (free application for federal student aid) to be considered for funding. Campuses and departments are responsible for ensuring eligibility within the University of Alaska system.
  • Students must be academically and Financial Aid eligible to receive scholarship awards.


Students may receive up to but may not exceed the following amounts:
  • Part-time students: $750 per semester (totaling $1,500 for FY21)
  • Full-time students: $1,500 per semester (totaling $3,000 for FY21)
Eligible students may reapply for Scholars Award funding every semester through summer 2021 in which they are enrolled. Scholars Award funding can be used to cover the following:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Books and course materials
  • Admission application fees
  • Housing / Meals
  • Graduation application fees
Scholarships MAY NOT be used to lift student holds or to pay off existing student debt.


Applications can be completed online using the following link, or you can download a paper application and submit it to your CRCD campus/department advisor.

For more information, visit the CRCD Scholars website.
Headshot of Jim Johnson

Dear UA Staff, Faculty, and Students,

Acting President Michelle Rizk and I write to advise you that President Jim Johnsen has resigned as UA System president, a decision that was mutual and made after considerable reflection by the Board. The Board of Regents accepted his resignation this afternoon, authorized me to implement the details of his resignation, and appoint an acting president. President Johnsen will be available to assist with the transition until July 1 when his resignation goes into effect.  

Vice President Michelle Rizk will serve as acting president effective immediately and until an interim president is named. That process is still being developed. Many of you know Michelle, who serves as the university’s VP of University Relations, Chief Budget & Strategy Officer, and serves as the system liaison for facilities and land management. During her 22-year UA career, Michelle has served the university in areas including finance, human resources, and as the university’s chief advocate in Juneau. Raised in Alaska, Rizk earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Thank you, Michelle, for agreeing to serve in the acting capacity.

While we understand that a change in leadership can be unsettling, we are confident this decision, though difficult, is the correct one for the university. We ask that all of you throughout the university community recognize that the state and university’s current fiscal situation requires significant change, and that to thrive, UA must come together to address our significant challenges. We must move forward and work together to address these challenges.

In stepping down President Johnsen noted the many challenges as well as the progress made over the past five years.  He also reminded us that there is no institution more important for creating opportunities for Alaskans than the University.

I have long admired Jim’s commitment to UA. During his five years as president he has led the university through unprecedented challenges with integrity, unparalleled effort, and distinction. We appreciate all he has done for UA and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

The Board will appoint an interim president after consulting with the chancellors, governance leaders and other UA stakeholders. The board expects that appointment to occur no later than July 15, and will commence a formal search for UA’s next president later this year.

Thank you for your patience and your dedication to the university.  Together we can not only address the challenges facing the university but emerge better prepared to meet Alaska’s higher education needs.

Sheri Buretta, Michelle Rizk
UA Board of Regents Chair, Acting UA President
 Shady Grove Oliver | Read Story in Arctic Sounder
May 9th, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic has kept school doors shut for the last month, students have hustled from home to make sure they have everything they need to graduate. For Chukchi students, in some cases, that meant "hunkering down" to finish finals and wrap up their last bit of school work. Now, these grads are moving on to new horizons.

"It's always a great pleasure to recognize the hard work of our graduates," said Stacey Glaser, campus director. "Amid work, families and other commitments, they accomplish so much that's transformational and worthwhile for their personal growth and for all of us in their communities. I've always been inspired by this."

Shady Grove Oliver can be reached at
Scott West stands with his wife, Flor Maria, his son, Benjamin, and his daughter, Leah.

By Shady Grove Oliver | Read the Arctic Sounder's story
Jan. 26th, 2018

Last year, five students graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage's distance-learning nursing program through the Chukchi Campus. Scott West, 29, of Kotzebue, was one of them. His passion for nursing runs deep; he's always appreciated the field and was inspired to enter it after he found himself facing an emergency situation with little access to help. The Sounder spoke with West about his career path.
By Shady Grove Oliver | Read more in The Arctic Sounder
Dec. 15th, 2017

This weekend, Kotzebue's Chukchi Campus will be lighting up its halls for a special holiday event.

On Saturday, Chukchi plans to hold its fourth annual library fundraiser in combination with an open house for the college campus.
By Shady Grove Oliver | Read more in the Arctic Sounder.
Oct. 13th, 2017

Communities across the Arctic spent Monday celebrating the first Indigenous Peoples Day since it was signed into Alaska law atop an oil drum by Gov. Bill Walker in Utqiaġvik last year.

In Kotzebue, the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Chukchi Campus held a daylong celebration filled with food, family, and fun.