Meet the Staff

 Principal Investigator

Jerry Lipka

Email: jmlipka@alaska.edu
Phone: 907-474-6439
Fax: 907-474-7270 

For the past forty-plus years I have been working in cross-cultural education. I have had the privilege to work with Yup’ik elders and learn from them. I have been amazed by their knowledge and continue to learn from elders. Based on their knowledge and along with many collaborators, we have developed the Math in a Cultural Context series. Now through collaborative work with Dora Andrew-Ihrke and others, we are developing an alternative mathematical learning trajectory based on elders’ knowledge. 

 Project Faculty

Dora Andrew-Ihrke, Adjunct Faculty

Email: dmandrewihrke@alaska.edu

I have been a bilingual aid, classroom teacher, and program coordinator of bilingual/bicultural education at Dillingham City Schools. My teaching was recognized by the larger educational community: 1985 a recipient of Dillingham City Schools’ Excellence in Teaching, 1990 a Milken Educator Award and Alaska Teacher of the Year, and a 2001 recipient of the Alaska Federation of Natives education award. Now I am a faculty member at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Education in the Math in a Cultural Context (MCC) program. From childhood on I have been working with Yup’ik elders. During the past years through the MCC program, I have been sharing the lessons I learned from my mother and other elders. This work has led to the development of the MCC curriculum series and to our latest work on developing elementary school mathematics based on elders’ knowledge.

Ralph Blose, Math Faculty

Email: rjblose@alaska.edu
Phone:
907-474-7232

I have recently moved to Alaska from Miami, FL after 30 years with The Miami-Dade County Public Schools as a teacher and curriculum specialist. I have also spent the last 12 summers teaching mathematics courses for John Hopkins' Center for Talented Youth in the United States and Hong Kong. I have earned a BS in Elementary Education from California State College (PA), MS in Elementary/Computer Education form Nova Southeastern University, EdS in Teaching and Learning from the University of Miami, and a PhD in Mathematics Education from Curtin University in Perth, Australia. I am looking forward to meeting and working with educators, students and elders as part of the MCC program.

Evelyn Yanez, Adjunct Faculty

Email: eyanez@alaska.edu

Eva Evelyn Yanez, a former Yup’ik teacher and state-recognized bilingual educator, has been involved in education for over 30 years. She has extensive experience working with Yup’ik Elders and collecting, recording, transcribing and translating traditional Yup’ik stories.


Grant Support 

 

Amy Topkok, Project Coordinator

Email: aktopkok@alaska.edu
Phone: 907-474-7306
Fax: 907-474-7270 

Uvaa atia Ahnaughuq. My Iñupiaq Eskimo name is Ahnaughuq, which means “Little Girl.”   I’m named after my paternal ahna (grandmother) Katherine Koiyuk (Eningowuk) Barr of Shishmaref. My English name is Amelia Katherine (Barr) Topkok, but everyone calls me Amy. I was born in Kotzebue, and grew up in Kotzebue and Nome. My parents are Delano Naunauq and Minnie Esther Saumik (Onalik) Barr of Shishmaref. My paternal grandparents are the late Katherine (mentioned), and the late Gideon Barr Sr. of Shishmaref, and my maternal grandparents are the late Victoria (Wesley) and the late Herbert Onalik Sr. of Noatak. I am full-blooded Iñupiaq. I speak fluent Norwegian, little Iñupiaq, and grew up speaking English.

I am working with Math in a Cultural Context as the Project Coordinator. I earned my bachelor's degree in fine arts in 1997 from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I began my masters' degree coursework fall semester 2012. My husband and I have founded the Pavva Iñupiaq Dancers in 1999 and dance frequently with my sons and other members of the group. I am also currently involved with the Alaska Native Education Title VII grant Parent Advisory Committee and firmly believe in providing positive and enlightening opportunities for our Native Youth as well as those interested in furthering their education. My other passions include photography, sewing atikluks, quilting, drawing, socializing, proud parent of three sons, and hopefully serving as a positive role model for other Native women in today’s demanding and fast-paced world.

Keely Colby, Graphic Designer

Email: kcolby2@alaska.edu
Phone: 907-474-7152

Keely was born and raised in Midcoast Maine. Originally interested in Computer Science, she realized after her first year of school that she was meant for a more creative discipline. So, she switched majors to graphic design and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Media, Arts and Communication from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. While in school, she interned at Smith & Jones, a marketing firm in Troy, NY and at Intellidemia, a higher ed syllabus management company out of New York. She graduated in 2012, and was delighted to make the trip from Maine to Alaska to begin working as a graphic designer for MCC.

 

Jumiah Johnston, Graphic Designer

Email: jajohnston3@alaska.edu
Phone: 907-474-7152

Jumiah has recently transitioned from California to Fairbanks in pursuit of continuing his career in graphic design, illustrations, animation and art direction.  He enjoys working with Alaska Native elders and transfers their knowledge, digitally, so it may be passed down to future generations.

Caroline Hoover, Student Assistant

Caroline is a Yup’ik Eskimo from Kasigluk, Alaska. She envisions herself as a future leader, a teacher, an inspirer, and a motivator to children and indigenous peoples of Alaska. Alaska has been her home, her only home. She plans on living here the rest of her life, improving the quality of life and economic well-being of people living in rural areas. Caroline was raised by three teachers; her mother, father, and sister. Because of their support, she plans on completing the general university requirements and acquiring a Bachelor’s degree in Rural Development. 


Professional Development

 

Janet Henderson, Consultant

 

Gretchen Murphy, Consultant
Email: gjmurphy@alaska.edu

Paula Savikko, Consultant


Evaluation and Research

Biography photo of Caroline Hoover, student assistant.

Alexandra (Lexi) Hill, Project Evaluator

Email: arhill@uaa.alaska.edu

Monica Wong

Dr. Monica Wong works with the mathematics education team at Australian Catholic University, Strathfield campus after completing her Ph.D. in 2009 in mathematics assessment and fractions. Her research interests include primary school students' development of proficiency in whole number and their acquisition of conceptual understanding of rational number. Currently she is working with final year BEd students and a local high school to enhance pre-service teachers’ pedagogical and mathematical knowledge in practice. Her other interests include quantitative and mixed methods research design, quantitative analysis and Rasch modelling. She is collaborating with Math in a Cultural Context on the assessment of the mathematical approach and curriculum material being developed for Alaskan teachers. Monica lives in Strathfield, New South Wales, Australia.

 

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