Current Doctoral Students

Arctic logoACNS Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program



Alec Bennett

Entered program: 2020

Primary interest: Future Climate Based Risk

Adviser: Brandon Boylan

Hometown: Palmer, Alaska

University of Alaska Fairbanks
Master of Security & Disaster Management, 2018
University of Alaska Southeast
BS Information Systems, 2005


Research interests: Climate Change, Scenario Planning, Computational Modeling, Natural Disasters, Human Security, Resilient Infrastructure, Science Communication, Science Informed Policy & Decision Making


Yoko Kugo

Entered program: 2016

Primary interest: Ethnogeography

Adviser: Mary Ehrlander and Walkie Charles

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

University of Alaska Anchorage
MA Anthropology, 2014

University of Alaska Southeast
BA Social Sciences, 2011


Research interests: Place names, Indigenous and local knowledge's, Central Yup'ik language, Alaskan history, ethnography, cultural anthropology, and geography.

My dissertation research focuses on Central Yup'ik geographic knowledge including place names and oral histories in the IIiamna Lake area of Alaska. I plan to continue to document and preserve Alaska Native cultural heritage, to apply Native knowledge to the management of natural and cultural resources, to teach younger generations to conduct social science research ethically in Arctic communities, and to help these Alaska Native communities to strengthen their cultural pride.



Angela Linn

Entered program: 2014

Primary interest: Museology

Adviser: Mary Ehrlander 

Hometown: Solon, Iowa

George Washington University 
Distance Delivery Pilot Graduate Certificate Museum Studies, 2006

University of Alaska Fairbanks
MA Anthropology, 1999

University of Iowa
BA Anthropology 1994


Research interests: Museology, Decolonization of Museums, Democratization of Museums, Ethnography, Alaska History, Material Culture, Historical Archeology, Ethnohistory

My research examines the historical context from which Alaska's three largest museums (the Alaska State Museums, the University of Alaska Museum of the North, and the Anchorage Museum) were established and how this history helped to shape contemporary museums in Alaska today. I will use an interdisciplinary framework of museology, ethnohistory, and oral history to better reveal the past, present, and future of Alaska's museums.


Michael Letzring

Entered Program: 2017

Primary Interest: Historical Geography

Adviser: Mary Ehrlander

Hometown: Greenville, North Carolina

Education: East Carolina University
MS Geography, 2017

University of Alaska Fairbanks
MA Northern Studies / Northern History, 2012

Brooks Institute
Ba Film, 1986


Research Interests: Historical Cartography, Historical Geography, Eighteenth Century Exploration History, Colonial South American History, Geographic Information Science, Remote Sensing.

My goal is to continue writing about and teaching regional history of Alaska and the Arctic through research on the development of geographic knowledge and cartography. The resources and mentorship available at the University of Alaska and in the Arctic and Northern Studies program provide a unique opportunity to pursue my research interests within a Doctoral program with an interdisciplinary structure. 


Margaret Rudolf

Entered Program: 2018

Primary Interest: Cross-Cultural Science Education

Adviser: Alex Hirsch

Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

Education: University of Alaska Fairbanks
MS Arctic Engineering, 2013
BS Civil Engineering, 2007


Research Interests: Science Education, Indigenous Education, Decolonization, Indigenous Research Methods, 3D Printing and Technology in Education

My PhD research is on how to improve science education in rural Alaska with blending Indigenous knowledge and current science. I will focus my research on investigating what UAF’s role would be in helping to improve science education. 


Russell Vanderlugt

Entered Program: 2017

Primary Interest: Arctic and Northern Studies Interdisciplinary PhD Student

Adviser: Mary Ehrlander

Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

Education: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
MS Management, 2012

University of Alaska
MA Northern Studies / Historical Geography, 2010

Wheaton College
BM Music and Historical Theology, 2000

University of Alaska Fairbanks
MA Northern Studies / Northern History, 2012


Research Interests: North American West and the Alaska-Yukon, Historical Geography, Nineteenth Century Exploration History, Environmental History,  Arctic Strategic Planning and Policy, Indigenous-Military Relationships

My immediate goal is to research and write a dissertation on trans-Alaska Allen Expedition of 1885, examining primary sources and incorporating as many perspectives as possible. The Arctic and Northern Studies Program at the University of Alaska provides a unique opportunity for pursuing this goal.