Electrical Engineer by Day, Social Leader by Night

Electrical Engineer by Day, Social Leader by Night

It’s common for ACEP student researchers to have far-reaching extracurricular activities. Grace Bolt uses her spare time to help to make UAF an inclusive, diverse and welcoming campus. Toward that end, she recently helped design a new space for UAF students of faith called The Commons.

Bolt, an electrical engineering student, is working as an intern on a techno-economic feasibility analysis for a medium-voltage direct current electric intertie between remote Alaska communities of Ambler and Shungnak. The project is a collaboration between ACEP, AVEC and Sandia National Laboratory, with funding from the energy storage program in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity.

When not taking classes or working at ACEP, Bolt is a member of the Virgie Dunlap King Leadership Institute for Social Change, a yearlong leadership cohort for UAF students. The academy is aimed at building students’ ability to create positive change in their local, national and global communities. Fifteen students are selected each year to participate in the year-long program.

As part of her involvement in the 2019 leadership program, Bolt was asked by the associate director of the UAF Center for Student Engagement, Heidi Shepard, to help design The Commons space so that it would be a student-driven and student-focused space. She recruited friend and fellow UAF student Claire Swanson to help.

“We have been working on this project since August and are excited that we can finally share it with the campus,” said Bolt. “The Commons was officially opened at an open house on Feb. 14, and we were honored to have Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington give opening remarks.”

The Commons serves as an inclusive and diverse gathering space for the UAF faith community, recognizing and celebrating the needs of the student. This space is to accommodate all religiously diverse university students so that they feel welcome and spoken for. It creates a quiet space for them to feel comfortable exercising their religious practices and exploring their spiritual selves.


Grace Bolt (middle left) and Claire Swanson (middle right) stand with the Rev. Jamie Washington (left) and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Keith Champagne at the opening of The Commons. Photo by JR Ancheta.