Careers and Alumni

Arctic and Northern Studies students have been highly successful in finding careers in higher education, government agencies, consulting firms, environmental organizations, and industry in the North. Some work in the tourism industry or in northern business ventures. Others aim for careers in journalism or communications where they need a broad background in northern issues.

Many Arctic and Northern Studies students are already employed on a full-time or part-time basis. Some are teachers who want to strengthen their knowledge of Alaska studies and/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. Arctic and Northern Studies is compatible with either full-time or part-time graduate student status.



Liz Bowman


Hometown: Jacksonville, FL 
ACNS Concentration: Arctic Policy
Thesis Title: Threat, Opportunity, Cooperation, and Competition: Defining China’s Integration into the Arctic
Current Employment: Science Project Manager at Polar Field Services, Inc. 

 Melanie Olson (BA 2020)


 Hometown: Livonia Center, New York
Current Employment: 
Technology Support Technician, Digital Services, Fairbanks North Star Borough 

Marley McLaughlin Skiba


Hometown: Boulder, CO
ACNS Concentration: Individualized Study: Environmental Studies
Thesis Title: Uninhabited and Free From Work: An Environmental and Federal Land-Use Policy History of Glacial Lake Atna Wilderness, Alaska
Current Employment:  Archaeologist/Anthropologist, Bureau of Land Management, Gakona, AK 

Sam Urban 


Hometown: Seattle, WA
ACNS Concentration: Individualized Study: Northern History
Thesis Title: Kings on Ice: A History of the Alaska Gold Kings and the Transformation of Fairbanks into a Hockeytown 
Current Employment: Admissions Counselor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska


Lauren Baranik

Lauren Baranik

 Hometown: Sioux Lookout, Ontario and Bracebridge, Ontario
ACNS Concentration: Indigenous Governance
Thesis Title: Indigenous-Crown Relations in Canada and the Yukon: The Peel Watershed Case, 2017
Current Employment: 
Ph.D. student, Indigenous Studies, Trent University, Ontario, Canada

Brenda Dow, Ph.D.
brenda dow

Hometown: Fairbanks, AK
Ph.D. Concentration: Interdisciplinary Studies: Arctic & Northern Studies
Dissertation Title: Quality of Life for Alaskan Individuals with FASD and their Families

Kerstin Schley

Kerstin Schley

Hometown: Düsseldorf, Germany
ACNS Concentration: Arctic History and Politics
Thesis Title: Germany's Interest in the Arctic as Exemplified by its Arctic Council Engagement
Current Employment: Commercial airline pilot for the German carrier TUI

 Lex Treinen

 Lex Treinen

Hometown: Anchorage, AK
ACNS Concentration:  Russian Nationalism
Thesis Title: Indigenous Russians in the Kremlin Political Narrative
Current Employment: Web writer for KTUU Channel 2 in Anchorage, AK

 Leanna Prax Williams


Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska
ACNS Concentration: Northern History
Thesis Title: Flying the Frontier: a case study comparison of newspaper coverage of early northern plane crashes
Current Employment: Co-owner, Mammoth Marketing
Current Studies: Ph.D. student, Indigenous Studies housed in Arctic and Northern Studies, University of Alaska Fairbanks


Peter Burkhart


Hometown: Acworth, GA. But now claims Fairbanks, AK
ACNS Concentration: Arctic Policy
Thesis Title: International and Domestic Drivers of Military Shifts in Alaska
Current Employment: Student at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

Yu (Kimmy) Cao


Hometown: Shenjang, in northeast China
ACNS Concentration: Environmental Politics and Policy
Thesis Title: Communities’ Reflections on Oil Companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility Activities in Utqiaġvik, Alaska
Current Employment: Ph.D. student, Department of Politics and International Affairs, Northern Arizona University

Katie Hayden
Katie Hayden

Hometown: Lake Minchumina, AK
ACNS Concentration: Oral History and Culture
Thesis Title: Perspectives on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence in Rural Alaskan Communities
Current Employment: Wildlife Technician IV for ABR, Inc.

Victoria Smith

Victoria Smith

Hometown: Pe Ell, Washington
ACNS Concentration:  Cultural History  and Higher Education
Thesis Title: Knowledge is Power: Student Driven Strategies for Success in Alaska's Challenging Postsecondary Context
Current Employment: Director, Student Support Services (TRIO)

 Carolyn Kozak Loeffler

Kozak Loeffler

Hometown: Libertyville, IL
ACNS Concentration: Visual Culture Analysis
Thesis Title: Arctic Paradox: The polar bear and American environmentalism
Current Employment: Adjunct Faculty, UAF; Program Coordinator, AK Center for Energy and Power; Conservation Coordinator, Interior Alaska Land Trust


Addley Fannin


Hometown: Odessa, TX
ACNS Concentration: Northern Literature, Independent Study
Thesis Title: Black Phase: A Novel of Alaskan Alchemy
Current Employment: Freelance writer/ editor with the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and Yukon College's "Northern Review"

Emiko Furuya


Hometown: Yokohama, Kanagawaken, Japan
ACNS Concentration: Alaska Native Studies and Cultural Tourism
Thesis Title: Xunaa Shuk Hit, the Tribal House, in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, AK
Current Employment: Manpower Group Japan, Transcriber

Emily Main


Hometown: Portland, Oregon
ACNS Concentration: Alaska History and Culture
Thesis Title: An Analysis Of One Community In The Far North Simply Core Alaska: A Case Study Beyond The Studio
Current Employment: Foster Care & Diligent Relative Searches Specialist at the Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC)

Forest Wagner


Hometown: Fairbanks, AK
ACNS Concentration: Landscape and Place Identity
Thesis Title: Cowboy Professionalism: A Cultural Study of Big-Mountain Tourism in the Last Frontier
Current Employment: Assistant Professor and Program Director of Outdoor Studies, University of Alaska Southeast


Kelsey Aho


Hometown: Marietta, GA
ACNS Concentration: Transboundary Policy, Individual Study
Thesis Title: Transboundary Agreement: Case Studies of Marine Mammal Management in the Lower Bering Strait
Current Employment: Program Coordinator for the Center for Arctic Policy Studies, UAF

Troy Bouffard


Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
ACNS Concentration: Arctic Policy
Thesis Title: Joint Stewardship of the Barents Sea: Russian and Norwegian Policy Expectations for Preventing Offshore Oil Spills
Current Employment: Full-Time Faculty, UAF College of Business and Security Management, Homeland Security and Emergency Management program (BEM, MSDM). Department of Defense Contractor - Arctic Regional Instruction

Vanessa Raymond


Hometown: Marion, MA
ACNS Concentration: Arctic Governance
Thesis Title: "Projecting Absence: a decade of U.S. Arctic intelligence, policy and perceptions of Russia"
Current Employment:  Senior Data Coordinator and Product Owner, Axiom Data Science,  Fairbanks, AK


Deb Corso


Hometown: Sitka, Alaska
ACNS 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
Current Employment: Personal Education Planner, Behavioral Health & Advocacy in Student Services at University of Alaska Southeast

Ulyana Korotkova


Hometown: Razdolnoye, Crimea
ACNS Concentration: Northern History
Thesis Title: Rare Books as Historical Objects: A Case Study of the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library Rare Books Collection
Current Employment: Travel Clerk, State of Alaska, Department of Health and Social Services, Office of Children Services

Emily Russell


Hometown: Queensbury, NY
ACNS Concentration: Arctic Policy
Thesis Title: Bounty in the Bering Strait: A case for proactive regulation in the world's next chokepoint
Current Employment: Post-Graduate Fellow at KCAW, in Sitka, Alaska, owned by Raven Radio Foundation

Angela Schmidt


Hometown: Springville, Iowa
ACNS 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

 Evgeniya Sidorova


Hometown: Yakutsk, Russia
ACNS 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

 Aaron Spitzer


Hometown: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
ACNS 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

Matt Robinson


Hometown: Fairbanks, AK
ACNS 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: Fisheries Quota Manager with the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation in Dillingham, Alaska


Chris Cannon


Hometown: Helena, MT
ACNS Concentration: Northern History
Thesis Title: Alaska Athabascan Stellar Astronomy
Current Employment: Ph.D. student in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks

David Kreiss-Tomkins


Hometown: Sitka, Alaska
ACNS Concentration: Alaska Native Culture and Identity
Thesis Title: Use of Tlingit Art and Identity by Non-Tlingit People in Sitka, Alaska
Current Employment: Dept. of Fish and Game, Fish and Wildlife Technician

 Melanie Lindholm


Hometown: Urem, Utah
ACNS Concentration: Nutritional Health
Thesis Title: Alaska Native perceptions of food, health, and community well-being
Current Employment: UAF/CTC Adjunct Faculty; Subcontractor (with SideTracks LLC) for Tanana Chiefs Conference & Fairbanks Native Association; PCA with Access Alaska.

 Hild M. Peters


Hometown: Ellsworth Township, Minnesota
ACNS Concentration: Northern History
Thesis Title: Where the Rivers Meet: The Life Story of the Reverend Helen Peters of Tanana
Current Employment: Executive Officer, College of Natural Science and Mathematics, University of Alaska Fairbanks

 Brittany Retherford


Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO
ACNS Concentration: Northern History
Thesis Title: Memory on Trial: The Manhunt for Alaska's Most Elusive Mass Murderer
Current Employment: Subsistence Division Specialist, Alaska Department of Fish and Game

 Chris Wizda (BA 2014)


Hometown: Anchorage, AK
Current Employment: Passport and Visa Specialist at Inc in Los Angeles, CA


 Michael Bach


Hometown: Staples, Minnesota
ACNS Concentration: Language Policy and Planning
Thesis Title: Community Space for Decolonization and Resistance: Kodiak Alutiiq Language Club Participant
Current Employment: Collections Manager, Kodiak Historical Society & Baranov Museum

 Danielle Bennett Redmond

Bennett Redmond

Hometown: Seattle and Cordova
ACNS Concentration: Ethnography and Epistemology of Birth
Thesis Title: Birthing Change: An Ethnographic Study of the Alaska Family Health & Birth Center
Current Employment: Operations and Outreach Coordinator, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council

 Chad Cook


Hometown: Warminster, Pennsylvania
ACNS Concentration: Indigenous and Western Notions of Conservation
Thesis Title: Ataam Taikina: Traditional Knowledge and Conservation Ethics in the Yukon River Delta, Alaska
Current Employment: Research Assistant, Stephen R. Braund & Associates, Anthropological Research and Consulting

 Annette Freiburger


Hometown: Fairbanks, AK
ACNS concentration: Oral History
Thesis Title: The Life History of Effie Kokrine Through Personal Recordings
Current Employment: Director of Rural Student Services; UAF, Retired

 Anke Hildebrandt


Hometown: Waupaca, WI
ACNS concentration: Environmental Policy
Project Title: Improving the Renovation, Repair and Painting Training Course to Help Eliminate Childhood Lead Poisoning--Wisconsin Observations
Current Employment: Public Health Educator for the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Fatima Ochante


Hometown: Lima, Peru (currently Fairbanks, AK)
ACNS Concentration: Global Environmental Policy
Thesis Title: Rural water and sanitation in Alaska Native villages
Current Employment: Program Coordinator for the Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation


 Chris Behnke (BA 2012)

Hometown: Alaska
Current Employment: Arctic and Northern Studies MA student

 Irmelin Gram-Hanssen


Hometown: Vrads, Denmark
ACNS Concentration: Individualized, Indigenous Peoples and Community Sustainability
Thesis Title: Youth Creating Sustainable Communities in Rural Alaska
Current Employment: PhD fellow with the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo
Publications: Gram-Hanssen, Irmelin. "Leaving, staying or belonging: exploring the relationship between formal education, youth mobility and community resilience in rural Alaska" Polar Geography Vol. 0 (2017): 1-25.

 Michael Letzring


Hometown: Kasilof, Alaska (currently Greenville, NC)
ACNS 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 Employment: Ph.D. program in Cultural Resource Management: Maritime History at Eastern Carolina University


 Corinna Cook


Hometown: Juneau, AK
ACNS Concentration: Literature
Thesis Title: Letters as Literature: Semantic and Discursive Features of Irony in Letters to Howard.
Current Employment: Ph.D. student in Creative Writing at the University of Missouri

Birte M. Horn-Hanssen


Hometown: Oslo, Norway -- Fairbanks, AK
ACNS 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 Employment: Project Coordinator at "BI - Norwegian Business School".

 Lisbet Norris (BA 2011)


Hometown: Willow, Alaska
Current Employment: Dog musher and manager at Underdog Feeds

 Kate Ripley


Hometown: Juneau, AK
ACNS Concentration: Individual Study
Thesis Title: Weekend Wilderness: The Cultural and Spiritual Necessity of the White Mountains National Recreation Area
Current Employment: Executive Director, UAF Alumni Relations

Kenneth Woldstad


Hometown: North Pole, AK
ACNS 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 Employment: Alaska Fish and Wildlife Protection Trooper (commissioned retired Sergeant) and private investigator


Lillian Anderson-Misel


Hometown: Fairbanks, AK
ACNS Concentration: Northern History
Thesis Title: “I Wonder When We’ll be in Civilization Again”: Women, Alaska, and the Diary of Cinthia “Addie” Rieck
Current Employment: Executive Office, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks

 Salena Bias


Hometown: Fairbanks, AK
ACNS Concentration: Russian-Alaska History and Museology
Thesis Title: Displaying Conflict: The Visitor's Experience at the Kolmakovskii Blockhouse
Current Employment: Data Technician for the Center for Alaska Native Health Research

 Berill Blair


Hometown: Fairbanks, AK
ACNS 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 Employment: Research Assistant on a project examining key developments in polar bear policy.

 Amanda Foote


Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
ACNS Concentration: Individualized Study - Tourism, Culture & Indigenous Issues
Thesis Title: Fishing for Tourists: Cultural Tourism and its Origins in Teslin, Yukon Territory, Canada
Current Employment: Museum School Coordinator at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta.

 Leighton Quarles


Hometown: Emigrant, MT
ACNS Concentration: Northern History 
Thesis Title: Roles of Journalists and the Media in World War II 
Current Employment: Ph.D. student in History at University of Utah

 Tracey Smith


Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta
ACNS 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 Employment: Owner of Beanstalk Honey, a beekeeping and honey packing operation on North Cooking Lake in Strathcona County, Alberta

 Russell Vanderlugt

Vander Lugt

Hometown: Fairbanks, AK
ACNS Concentration: Historical Geography
Thesis Title: Discovering Alaska's Interior - A Historical Geography of the 1885 Allen Expedition
Current Employment: Ph.D. Fellow, School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS/ASP3), US Army Combined Arms Center; Arctic and Northern Studies Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks

 Eleanor Wirts


Home town: Fairfield, VT
ACNS 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 Employment: Owner: Just Short of Magic, Fairbanks, Alaska


 Stacey Baldridge Carkhuff


Hometown: Champion, OH
ACNS Concentration: Oral History
Thesis Title: ChangingCommunities: The Alaska Highway Project Jukebox
Current Employment: Assistant Archivist for the Alaska Native Language Archives

Krista Katalenich


Hometown: Higgins Lake, MI
ACNS Concentration: Cultural Identity and Expression
Thesis Project: Climate Change and Creative Expression
Current Employment: Dance teacher at Dance Theatre Fairbanks

 Jesse Logan


Hometown: Austin, TX
ACNS Concentration: Global Environmental Policy
Thesis Title: Renewable Energy in Rural Alaska: Two Case Studies and their Implications
Current Employment: Chief of Staff to Alaska Representative Dean Westlake of Kotzebue

Rudy Riedlsperger


Hometown: Austria
ACNS Concentration: Environmental Politics and Policy
Thesis Title: Jay Hammond: The Conservationist Governor
Current Employment: Ph.D. student in Human Geography at Memorial U in St. John's Newfoundland

 Amy Russell-Jamgochian


Hometown: Fairbanks, AK
ACNS 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)
ACNS 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 Employment: Assistant Professor of Journalism at UAF


 Talis Colberg, Ph.D.


Hometown: Palmer, AK
ACNS Concentration: Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Northern Political History and Culture
Dissertation Title: M.D. Snodgrass: The Founder of the Alaska State Fair
Current Employment: Director, Matanuska-Susitna Campus, UAA

 Mikayla Saito


Hometown: Kotzebue, AK
ACNS Concentration: Environmental Policy
Thesis Title: The Extent to which Traditional Ecological Knowledge is Included in the Alaska Resource Management System
Current Employment: Program manager for Dept. of Educational Leadership at UAA

 Erik White


Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
ACNS Concentration: Northern History
Thesis Title: Bob Bartlett and Ernest Gruening: The Relationship That Helped Alaska to Become a State

 Artem Zhdanov


Hometown: Chishmy, Russia
ACNS Concentration: New Media Journalism
Project Title: Website Design for Creating Alaska Website
Current Employment: Video conferencing specialist for Online with Libraries (OWL), State of Alaska


Sean Bledsoe


Hometown: Fairbanks, AK
ACNS Concentration: Russian Alaskan History and Anthropology
Thesis Project: Documentary Film on St. Herman of Alaska

 Jessica Brooks


Hometown: Cleveland, OH
ACNS Concentration: Oral History
Thesis Project: Friends on the Road: An Oral History of Trucking on the Dalton Highway

 Sigrid Ekran


Hometown: Sparbu, Norway
ACNS Concentration: Northern Psychology
Project Title: Rocky Raccoon: Sixteen Dogs, One Girl, 1122 Miles from Anchorage to Nome

 Sabine Hugger


Hometown: Heilbronn, Germany
ACNS Concentration: Environmental Education
Thesis Project : An Environmental Education Curriculum for Fairbanks for 7th and 8th Grade Students

 Amy Taylor:


Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
ACNS Concentration: Creative Writing
Thesis Project: Awake Walking: Three One-Act Plays on the Human Condition


 Justin Andrews


Hometown: mostly Virginia (Navy brat)
ACNS Concentration:Higher Education
Thesis Project: The Ant and the Grasshopper: The Mindsets Behind the College Gender Gap in the Millennial Generation

 Aaron Doyle


Hometown: Rhinelander, WI
ACNS Concentration: Rural Education
Thesis Title: Drifting and Directed:The Aspirations of High School Seniors from Three Communities in Rural Alaska
Current Employment: Ph.D. program in Applied Linguistics in the Centre for Applied English Studies at Hong Kong University.

Heidi Kristenson (BA 2006)


Hometown: Camrose, Alberta
Current Employment: Hydrologic Technician, National Park Service

 Neva Sherman Hickman

Sherman Hickman

Hometown: Keweenaw Peninsula, MI
ACNS Concentration: Northern History
Thesis Title: The Illusion of Knowledge: Evolution of Early Cartographic Conceptions of Alaska

Steve Mitchell


Hometown: Fairbanks, AK
ACNS Concentration: Alaska Historical Drama
Thesis Project: “James Wickersham: A Judge on the Last Frontier” (a play)

Jane Reilly


Hometown: originally from Florida; now Fairbanks
ACNS Concentration: Biopsychology
Thesis Project: “Northern Stressors and Alcohol Abuse: Is Serotonin Dysfunction a Factor in Self-Medication” (Annotated Bibliography)

 Reija Shnoro


Hometown: Mieslahti, Finland
ACNS Concentration: Global Environmental Policy
Thesis Title: The Kyoto Protocol and the Arctic Region: A Case Study of Finland and Canada
Current Employment: International Student Program Coordinator for UAF

 Lauren Krueger Sill

Krueger Sill

Hometown: North Andover, MA
ACNS Concentration: Global Environmental Policy
Thesis Project: Community Development Quota: Community Sustainability and the Bering Sea


 Diane Scoboria (BA 2003)


Hometown: Bellingham, WA - Juneau, AK
Current Employment: Program Manager, Marine Conservation Alliance. Juneau, Alaska