Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Research & Scholarly Activity

The office of Undergraduate Research & Scholarly Activity (URSA)  is UAF's resource for the development and promotion of experiential learning activities that engage undergraduate students to support UAF's goal to become a leading student-focused research university.

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Congratulations to the 2023 Research & Creative Activity Day Participants for the College of Liberal Arts!



Tehya McLeod, Interdisciplinary Studies Student, shares their poster with Ellen Lopez, CLA Dean
Exploring Shifting Landscapes

Tehya McLeod
Mentor: Dr. Mary Beth Leigh

Exploring Shifting Landscapes follows work of UAF scientists and documents impacts of permafrost thaw and wildfire cycles thorough artwork.


The Relationship Between Art and Stress Reduction

Shaylise Sylvester
Mentor: Dr. Jen Peterson

This study aimed to address the questions: Is there a benefit to using ceramic clay, which contains natural earth elements, compared to synthetic clay? Is there a correlation between the medium used and the lowering of cortisol hormone levels after the process of art-making? There were 36 university students who participated in this study. Participants were asked to attend one 2-hour clay workshop to learn how to make a pinch pot. Participants provided pretest and posttests during the clay workshop to assess stress levels before and after working with clay. The pretests and posttests included saliva samples to measure cortisol, heart rate, and a Perceived Stress Scale. Preliminary results indicate that working with clay for 60 minutes significantly reduced stress but there is no significant difference between the ceramic clay and the synthetic


Shaylise Sylvester, Psychology Student, with their poster and pottery examples. | UAF Photo by Eric Marshall



Research & Creative Activity Day Archive


Mural of a bright blue bust in front of a bright pink and yellow background with red octopus tentacles on the top right by art student Jordan Diego

UAF Mural Projects


Mina Carroll

Mentor: Ronnie Houchin


 Continuing with Massive Animation Collaboration



Naomi Green & Sarah Griffen-Lotz

Mentor: Miho Aoki


Finding Home

Sarah Manriquez

Mentor: Dr. Alex Hirsch

In Fairbanks over the last several years, I have developed 3 separate bodies of work that all speak to different elements of homelessness in Alaska. These works have been exhibited and used to raise awareness and funds for local organizations who serve our homeless populations. The first part of the work is called “My Home in my Hands”. These intimate hand portraits showcase the most prized possessions that these people have kept despite losing so much else. The second part of the work is called “Genesis”. This part of the work explores the specific challenges that our homeless population face by chronicling one person's specific story. The third part of the work is called “Through Our Eyes”. The nation wide project encourages participants to tell their own stories the way they want them presented in the world. Disposable cameras are given to local people who were experiencing homeless with one simple instruction- photograph your life. The three bodies of work all address different elements of homelessness and start to break down the complexities of the issue.

Photographer Sarah Manriquez poses in front of her Finding Home series


Two visitors examine a grid of photos from Sarah Manriquez's Finding Home exhibition