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March 16, 2022

Dear UAF community,

In March each year, we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. This month’s activities provide a special opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the economic, political, scientific and social achievements and contributions of women.

It’s been nearly a century since Margaret Murie became the first woman to graduate from our university, originally the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines. This legacy is something UAF plans to commemorate next year, in a campaign to celebrate women leaders in philanthropy and science. 

At UAF, women make up the majority of UAF’s executive leadership and they are charting our path forward. UAF provost and executive vice chancellor Dr. Anupma Prakash, a geophysicist and UAF vice chancellor for research, and Dr. Nettie La Belle-Hamer, a space physicist, both had careers marked with scientific distinction before entering administration. Vice chancellor Dr. Charlene Stern, a tribal and community leader, is strengthening UAF’s workforce development and Indigenous programs as well as championing the Troth Yeddha’ initiative and the Alaska Native Success Initiative (ANSI). Vice chancellor for administrative services Julie Queen is an adept financial administrator who oversees our budgetary portfolio, police, fire, environmental health, safety and risk management, and facilities services, including the heat and power plant. The breadth and depth of VC Queen’s responsibility at UAF is unparalleled. Nickole Conley serves as UAF executive officer and principal advisor on project planning and management, including coordination and communication of key initiatives and policy. Samara Taber, executive director of university advancement, provides leadership and direction in all areas of university advancement, including communications and public relations, marketing, fundraising, alumni relations and engagement. Executive Director Taber leads a part of this university that connects us to the world. This executive team is composed of our current and future thought leaders and I am grateful for their leadership. 

Several events this month will help us to celebrate Women’s History Month. The Nanook Diversity and Action Center is hosting FemCon from March 17-19, offering a variety of events, lectures and discussions. March 28, Alaska EPSCOR, Alaska INBRE and the UAF Department of Equity and Compliance are collaborating to offer a three-part Implicit Bias workshop, including the documentary, “Picture a Scientist” that chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists.

I hope that whatever room you walk into at UAF you see some leaders and colleagues that look like you and some leaders that look different. Let’s continue to build a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion and caring at UAF and do all we can to make our working and learning spaces a place of belonging for all leaders and future leaders. Thanks for choosing UAF.

— Dan White, chancellor


UAF is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: www.alaska.edu/nondiscrimination/.