Our Students - Recent Graduates & Near Graduates

Considering the originality and daring of students in the Arctic and Northern Studies program, it's not surprising that our alumni have been highly successful in finding careers in higher education, government agencies, consulting firms, and industry. And considering the beauty and opportunity of the place they study, it's no wonder that many have chosen to stay here. Some work in the tourist industry or in northern business ventures; others aim for careers in journalism or communications,where they need a broad background in northern issues. Some teach in northern universities.  Some continue their education in Ph.D. programs, such as RAP.

Many Arctic and Northern Studies students are already employed, and came to the program to deepen their knowledge of their chosen fields. Some are teachers who want to strengthen their knowledge of Alaska studies or social studies. Some are seeking career advancement in universities or government agencies. Other students are fascinated with the North and are pursuing their own intellectual projects and passions.

The Arctic and Northern Studies Outcomes Assessment completed in May 2000 gathered the following information on Northern Studies alumni (50 percent of our alumni responded):

  • 83% live and work in the North
  • 94% report employment in fields related to their course of study
  • 33% report working as a teacher at the elementary, secondary, or college level
  • 19% went on to doctoral studies (3 other Northern Studies students have also entered doctoral programs at other institutions)
  • 28% have continued their education in other avenues
  • 56% have published work related to their courses of study
  • 67% have participated in community service work in the north As you can see, our students have gone on to interesting careers, further study, and participation in community service, putting to use the knowledge and skills they developed in the Northern Studies Programs

Quick Links

Angela Schmidt

Hometown: Springville, Iowa

NORS Concentration:  Northern History

Thesis title: Compendium for Alaska Review, Alaska's first statewide public affairs television program, 1976-1987

Current Employment: Film Archivist, Alaska Film Archives, Elmer E. Rasmuson Library

Ulyana Korotkova

Hometown: Razdolnoye, Crimea

NORS Concentration:  Northern History

Thesis title: Rare Books as Historical Objects: A Case Study of the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library Rare Books Collection

Current Employment: Processing Assistant, The Elmer E. Rasmuson Library

Deb Corso

Hometown: Sitka, Alaska

NORS Concentration:  Anthropology and Creative Writing

Thesis title: Tales of Well-Seasoned Women: A Literary Exploration of Gendered Experience in Alaska's Commercial Fishing Industries, 1980s-2005

Vanessa Raymond

Hometown: Marion, MA

NORS Concentration:  Arctic Governance

Thesis title: "Projecting Absence: a decade of U.S. Arctic intelligence, policy and perceptions of Russia"

Current Employment: Project Manager, Geographic Information Network of Alaska

Evgeniya Sidorova

Hometown:  Yakutsk, Russia

NORS concentration:  Arctic Policy

Thesis title:  Extractive Leviathan: The role of the government in the relationships between oil and gas industries and indigenous communities in the Arctic regions of Canada, United States and Russia

Current employment:  Ph.D. student in Political Science at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Chris Cannon

Hometown:  Helena, MT

NORS concentration:  Northern History

Thesis title:  Alaska Athabascan Stellar Astronomy

Current employment:  Ph.D. student in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Emily Russell

Hometown:  Queensbury, NY

NORS concentration:  Arctic Policy

Thesis title: Bounty in the Bering Strait: A case for proactive regulation in the world's next chokepoint

Current employment:  Reporter for KNOM Radio in Nome, Alaska, working on Arctic issues

Matt Robinson

Hometown:  Fairbanks, AK

NORS concentration:  Northern History and Environmental Policy

Thesis title: The Common Good: Salmon Science, the Conservation Crisis, and the Shaping of Alaskan Political Culture

Current employment:  Alaska Sea Grant Fellow with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in Anchorage, Alaska

Aaron Spitzer

Hometown:  Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

NORS concentration:  Arctic Governance

Thesis title: Confronting 'Kymlicka's Dilemma': Settler voting rights, Indigenous representation and the 1998 electoral reapportionment in Canada's Northwest Territories.

Current employment:  Ph.D. student in Department of Comparative Politics at the University of Bergen on its Arctic Indigenous Governance Ph.D. fellowship

Melanie Lindholm

Hometown:  Urem, Utah

NORS concentration:  Nutritional Health

Thesis title: Alaska Native perceptions of food, health, and community well-being 

Current employment:  Development Assistant at the Interior Alaska Center for Non-Violent Living + Training and Revision Specialist for American Greetings

Brittany Retherford

Hometown:  Colorado Springs, CO

NORS concentration:  Northern History

Thesis title:  Memory on Trial: The Manhunt for Alaska's Most Elusive Mass Murderer

Current employment:  Touring with her exhibition on her thesis topic: the murders of the crew of the Investor in Craig, Alaska in 1982 and how memory played a role in the trials

Hild M. Peters

Hometown:  Ellsworth Township, Minnesota

NORS concentration:  Northern History

Thesis title:  Where the Rivers Meet:  The Life Story of the Reverend Helen Peters of Tanana

Current job:  Executive Officer, College of Natural Science and Mathematics, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Annette Freiburger

Hometown:  Fairbanks, AK

NORS concentration:  Oral History

Thesis title:  The Life History of Effie Kokrine Through Personal Recordings

Current job:  Director of Rural Student Services; UAF

Chris Wizda (BA 2014)

Hometown:  Anchorage, AK

Current job:  Passport and Visa Specialist at VisaHQ.com Inc in Los Angeles, CA

Anke Hildebrandt

Hometown:  Waupaca, WI

NORS concentration:  Environmental Policy

Project title:  Improving the Renovation, Repair and Painting Training Course to Help Eliminate Childhood Lead Poisoning--Wisconsin Observations

Current job:  Public Health Educator for the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services

David Kreiss-Tomkins

Hometown: Sitka, Alaska

NORS concentration:  Alaska Native Culture and Identity

Thesis title:  Use of Tlingit Art and Identity by Non-Tlingit People in Sitka, Alaska

Current job:  Dept. of Fish and Game, Fish and Wildlife Technician

Michael Bach

Hometown:   Staples, Minnesota

NORS concentration:  Language Policy and Planning

Thesis title:  Community Space for Decolonization and Resistance:  Kodiak Alutiiq Language Club Participant

Current job:  Language Archives Specialist, Alutiiq Museum; Kodiak, Alaska

Fatima Ochante

Hometown:  Lima, Peru (currently Fairbanks, AK)

NORS concentration:  Global Environmental Policy

Thesis title:  Rural water and sanitation in Alaska Native villages

Current job:  Program Coordinator for the Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

Michael Letzring

Hometown:  Kasilof, Alaska (currently Greenville, NC)

NORS concentration:  Northern History

Thesis title:  The 1791 Spanish Malaspina expedition to Alaskan waters and the role of european cartography in colonial Alaska's development

Current job:  Ph.D. program in Cultural Resource Management:  Maritime History at Eastern Carolina University

Danielle Bennett Redmond

Hometown:  Seattle and Cordova

NORS concentration:  Ethnography and Epistemology of Birth

Thesis title:  Birthing Change:  An Ethnographic Study of the Alaska Family Health & Birth Center

Current job:  Operations and Outreach Coordinator, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council

Chad Cook

Hometown:  Warminster, Pennsylvania

NORS concentration:  Indigenous and Western Notions of Conservation

Thesis title:  Ataam Taikina: Traditional Knowledge and Conservation Ethics in the Yukon River Delta, Alaska

Current job:  Research Assistant, Stephen R. Braund & Associates, Anthropological Research and Consulting

Diane Scoboria (BA 2003)

Hometown:  Bellingham, WA - Juneau, AK

Current job:  Program Manager, Marine Conservation Alliance.  Juneau, Alaska

Corinna Cook

Hometown:  Juneau, AK

NORS concentration:  Literature

Thesis title:  Letters as Literature: Semantic and Discursive Features of Irony in Letters to Howard.

Current job:  Ph.D. student in Creative Writing at the University of Missouri

Kate Ripley

Hometown:  Juneau, AK

NORS concentration:  Individual Study

Thesis title:  Weekend Wilderness:  The Cultural and Spiritual Necessity of the White Mountains National Recreation Area

Current job:  Executive Director, UAF Alumni Relations

Kenneth Woldstad

Hometown:  North Pole, AK

NORS concentration:  Alaska History and Government

Thesis title: A Comparative Analysis of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement in Alaska From the Passage of the 1902 Alaska Game Law to 2011

Current job:  Alaska Fish and Wildlife Protection Trooper (commissioned retired Sergeant) and private investigator

Birte M. Horn-Hanssen

Hometown:  Oslo, Norway -- Fairbanks, AK

NORS concentration:  Northern Art

Thesis title:  Visualizing the Present: Current Issues Within Contemporary Visual Sami Art - An Analysis of Sami Artists and Their Art in Oslo, Norway

Current job:  Project Coordinator at "BI - Norwegian Business School".

Chris Behnke (BA 2012)

Hometown:  Alaska

Current job:  Northern Studies MA student

Artem Zhdanov

Hometown:  Chishmy, Russia

NORS concentration:  New Media Journalism

Project title:  Website Design for Creating Alaska Website

Current job:  Video conferencing specialist for Online with Libraries (OWL), State of Alaska

Salena Bias

Hometown:  Fairbanks, AK

NORS concentration:  Russian-Alaska History and Museology

Thesis title:  Displaying Conflict:  The Visitor's Experience at the Kolmakovskii Blockhouse

Current job:  Data Technician for the Center for Alaska Native Health Research

Tracey Smith

Hometown:  Edmonton, Alberta

NORS concentration:  Local Food Systems and Northern Wildlife Governance

Thesis project:  "Is Buying Local Better?"  A Literature Review and Comparison of Production Locations and Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Chicken Eggs Consumed in Fairbanks, Alaska

Current job:  Owner of Beanstock, a farm on North Cooking Lake in Strathcona County, Alberta

Heidi Kristenson (BA 2006)

Hometown:  Camrose, Alberta

Current job:  Hydrologic Technician, National Park Service

Amanda Foote

Hometown:  Calgary, Alberta

NORS concentration:  Individualized Study - Tourism, Culture & Indigenous Issues

Thesis title:  Fishing for Tourists:  Cultural Tourism and its Origins in Teslin, Yukon Territory, Canada

Current job:  Museum Studies certificate program in NYU's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Eleanor Wirts

Home town:  Fairfield, VT

NORS concentration:  Individualized Study - Cultural Anthropology

Thesis title:  Changes in Traditional Gender Roles Among Alaska Natives: Their Effects on Sense of Purpose, Direction, Identity, and Family and Community Stature

Current job: Owner: Just Short of Magic, Fairbanks, Alaska 

Russell Vander Lugt

Hometown: Fairbanks, AK

NORS concentration:  Historical Geography

Thesis title:  Discovering Alaska's Interior - A Historical Geography of the 1885 Allen Expedition

Current job:  Instructor, International History Division, United States Military Academy at West Point

Amy Russell-Jamgochian

Hometown:  Fairbanks, AK

NORS concentration:  Northern History

Thesis title: A Storm Like No Other: Changes that shaped Seward Peninsula communities at the turn of the 20th century

Current employment:  Project director at the Beringia Center of Culture and Science in Nome, Alaska

Lynne Snifka

Hometown:  Milwaukee (now Fairbanks)

NORS concentration:  Northern History

Thesis title:  The Doctor, The Publisher and The Curmudgeon: How Personalities, Politics and the Press Set the Stage for Alaska Statehood

Current Job:  Assistant Professor of Journalism at UAF

Lillian Anderson-Misel

Hometown:  Fairbanks, AK

NORS concentration:  Northern History

Thesis title:   “I Wonder When We’ll be in Civilization Again”:  Women, Alaska, and the Diary of Cinthia “Addie” Rieck

Current job:  Executive Office, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Krista Katalenich

Hometown:  Higgins Lake, MI

NORS Concentration:  Cultural Identity and Expression

Thesis Project:  Climate Change and Creative Expression

Current Job:  Dance teacher at Dance Theatre Fairbanks

Leighton Quarles

Hometown:  Emigrant, MT
NORS concentration:  Northern History
Thesis title:  Roles of Journalists and the Media in World War II
Current job:  Ph.D. student in History at University of Utah

Jesse Logan

Hometown:  Austin, TX

NORS Concentration:  Global Environmental Policy

Thesis title:  Renewable Energy in Rural Alaska: Two Case Studies and
their Implications

Current Job:  Energy and Arctic Policy Advisor to Senator Lesil McGuire

Rudy Riedlsperger

Hometown:  Austria

NORS Concentration:  Environmental Politics and Policy

Thesis title:  Jay Hammond:  The Conservationist Governor

Current Job:  Ph.D. student in Human Geography at Memorial U in St. John's Newfoundland

Berill Blair

Hometown:  Fairbanks, AK

NORS Concentration:   Environmental Policy

Thesis title:  Risk Society on the Last Frontier:  Indigenous Knowledge and the Politics of Risk in Oil Resource Management at Alaska’s North Slope

Current Job:  Research Assistant on a project examining key developments in polar bear policy.

Lisbet Norris (BA 2011)

Hometown:  Willow, Alaska

Current job:  Dog musher and manager at Underdog Feeds

Stacey Baldridge

Hometown: Champion, OH

NORS concentration: Oral History

Thesis title:  ChangingCommunities: The Alaska Highway Project Jukebox

Current job:  Assistant Archivist for the Alaska Native Language Archives

Aaron Doyle

Hometown:  Rhinelander, WI

NORS Concentration: Rural Education

Thesis title:  Drifting and Directed:The Aspirations of High School Seniors from Three Communities in Rural Alaska

Current job:  Ph.D. program in Applied Linguistics in the Centre for Applied English Studies at Hong Kong University.

Amy Taylor:

Hometown:  Los Angeles, CA

NORS Concentration:  Creative Writing

Thesis Project:  Awake Walking: Three One-Act Plays on the Human Condition

Erik White

Hometown:  Los Angeles, CA

NORS Concentration:  Northern History

Thesis title:  Bob Bartlett and Ernest Gruening: The Relationship That Helped Alaska to Become a State

Jessica Brooks

Hometown:  Cleveland, OH

NORS Concentration:  Oral History

Thesis Project: Friends on the Road: An Oral History of Trucking on the Dalton Highway

Justin Andrews

Hometown:  mostly Virginia (Navy brat)

NORS Concentration:Higher Education

Thesis Project:  The Ant and the Grasshopper: The Mindsets Behind the College Gender Gap in the Millennial Generation

Lauren Krueger Sill

Hometown:  North Andover, MA

NORS Concentration:  Global Environmental Policy

Thesis Project: Community Development Quota: Community Sustainability and the Bering Sea

Mikayla Saito

Hometown:  Kotzebue, AK

NORS Concentration:  Environmental Policy

Thesis title:  The Extent to which Traditional Ecological Knowledge is Included in the Alaska Resource Management System

Current job:  Program manager for Dept. of Educational Leadership at UAA

Neva Sherman Hickman

Hometown:  Keweenaw Peninsula, MI

NORS Concentration:  Northern History

Thesis title:The Illusion of Knowledge: Evolution of Early Cartographic Conceptions of Alaska

Steve Mitchell

Hometown:  Fairbanks, AK

NORS Concentration:  Alaska Historical Drama

Thesis Project:  “James Wickersham: A Judge on the Last Frontier” (a play)

Reija Shnoro

Hometown:  Mieslahti, Finland

NORS Concentration:  Global Environmental Policy

Thesis title:  The Kyoto Protocol and the Arctic Region: A Case Study of Finland and Canada

Current job:  International Student Program Coordinator for UAF.

Jane Reilly

Hometown: originally from Florida; now Fairbanks

NORS Concentration:  Biopsychology

Thesis Project:Northern Stressors and Alcohol Abuse: Is Serotonin Dysfunction a Factor in Self-Medication” (Annotated Bibliography)

Sabine Hugger

Hometown:  Heilbronn, Germany

NORS Concentration:  Environmental Education

Thesis Project :  An Environmental Education Curriculum for Fairbanks for 7th and 8th Grade Students

Sean Bledsoe

Hometown:  Fairbanks, AK

NORS Concentration:  Russian Alaskan History and Anthropology

Thesis Project:  Documentary Film on St. Herman of Alaska

Sigrid Ekran

Hometown:  Sparbu, Norway

NORS Concentration:  Northern Psychology

Project Title:  Rocky Raccoon: Sixteen Dogs, One Girl, 1122 Miles from Anchorage to Nome

Talis Colberg

Hometown:  Palmer, AK

NORS Concentration:  Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Northern Political History and Culture

Dissertation title: M.D. Snodgrass: The Founder of the Alaska State Fair

Current Job: Director, Matanuska-Susitna Campus, UAA

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