Dean and Graduate School Staff

Dean of the Graduate School

Dr. John C. Eichelberger
Dr. Eichelberger, Dean of the Graduate School

Dr. John C. Eichelberger

About the Dean

John Eichelberger first saw Alaska on a northward detour as he drove from MIT, where he received BS and MS degrees in geology, to Stanford, where he received a PhD in geology. Alaska remained a far-off goal while he spent 17 years as a volcanology researcher and science manager at Los Alamos and then Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. He made discoveries concerning the mixing and degassing of magmas, and was designated “Distinguished Member of Technical Staff” by Sandia for pioneering work in drilling into volcanoes.

In 1991, twenty years after his first visit to Alaska, Dr. Eichelberger became Professor of Volcanology at UAF, a joint appointment in the Department of Geology and Geophysics and the Geophysical Institute. There he led the growth of the Alaska Volcano Observatory and mentored 10 PhD students and 7 MS students, receiving the Usibelli Award for Research and serving for a time as department chair. His students have attained responsible and challenging positions in federal, state, and foreign governmental agencies, U.S and foreign universities, and the mineral and geothermal industries.

Rather than continue exploring northward while at UAF, Dr. Eichelberger traveled westward down the Aleutian chain of volcanoes, eventually spending several months as Visiting Scientist at the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski, Russia. In the process, he helped to found the International Volcanological Field School, which continues to bring students to both Kamchatka and Alaska from all over the world every summer, and a five-year program that joined Russian and American graduate students in comparative volcanology.

With a mixture of regret and anticipation, Dr. Eichelberger left Alaska for Virginia in 2007 to coordinate the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Volcano Hazards Program, which operates the Nation’s volcano observatories including at Mount St Helens, Hawaii, and Alaska. In the U.S. Government he continued an international theme, initiating new scientific partnerships with Russia, Italy, and France, while encouraging USGS scientists to involve graduate students in their research.

Mentorship can begin at home. Both of Dr. Eichelberger’s children have navigated the PhD path, which reinforced his desire to be an advocate for graduate students.In fall of 2012, he returned to his love of education and Alaska as Dean of the Graduate School, where he will work to ensure the success of all graduate students at UAF.

The Dean of the Graduate School is responsible for graduate studies in 49 Master's and 17 Doctoral programs at UAF. The Dean also works with faculty to enhance the quality and productivity of the UAF interdisciplinary graduate program.


Associate Dean of the Graduate School

Dr. Michael Castellini

Dr. Castellini came to the Graduate School in January 2015 after being on the faculty of the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences for over 25 years, and most recently their Dean. He was the founding    Science Director for the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, the Director of the SFOS Institute of Marine Science, and then Associate and Dean of SFOS for the last 10 years. He was the Dean during the construction and launching of the new UAF Research Ship the R/V Sikuliaq.

During his research career, his projects focused on many different aspects of marine mammal biology and medicine. Some of these included nutritional physiology of harbor seals and Steller sea lions in Alaska as related to their population declines and to the survival of their pups. Other projects included studies on lipid metabolism in marine mammals, the biochemistry of contaminants, metal chemistry, high pressure physiology and even sleep patterns in seals. These programs were conducted in the field and around the world from the Arctic to the Antarctic. He chaired or co-chaired 16 PhD or MS students and has been a committee member on dozens. His teaching philosophy was always to train students in how to move into science as a career and help them develop degrees that focus on their future. Many of his students are now successful faculty, agency scientists, veterinarians, and underwater photographers.

Dr. Castellini has participated in large public outreach programs discussing climate change, the Arctic, Antarctic and how animals at those locations are critically dependent on sea ice (click here for photos!). Some of these outreach programs involved traveling the country working with students and the public (Polar Palooza) and others focused on Alaskan needs. He even has part of an island in the Antarctic named for him! Links to his resume, outreach programs and other media are at:

Dr. Castellini is here to help you during your time as a UAF Graduate student, whether it is a science question or a question concerning the process of earning your degree. You can contact him at macastellini@alaska.edu.

Director of the Graduate School and Interdisciplinary Programs

photograph of Laura Bender, Graduate School Director
Photo by Juan Goula, 2011

Laura Bender

Laura Bender
202B Eielson Building
(907) 474-7319


Coordinator

Shelly Baumann

Shelly Baumann

202 Eielson Building
(907) 474-7464


Coordinator

Megan Blanchard

Megan Blanchard
202 Eielson Building
(907) 474-7464



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