Class notes and in memoriam

Photo courtesy of Sarah Brewer.
Reid Brewer takes the helm from Kris Holderied as new director at the Kasitsna Bay Lab at Homer Islands and Oceans Center on Jan. 16, 2024.

Submissions received October 2023-January 2024

Imagery and photos courtesy of alumni unless otherwise noted. Information is courtesy of alumni and public sources.

Reid Brewer

Reid Brewer ’03, ’17 is the new director at the Kasitsna Bay Lab at Homer Islands and Oceans Center. The laboratory is owned by NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and operated in partnership by NCCOS and the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

Brewer's research interests include kelp-forest ecology, predator-prey interactions, population dynamics and scientific diving. He has been working in Alaska as a university researcher, faculty member and administrator for the past 20 years. His focus on community engagement and stakeholder outreach has allowed him to develop partnerships statewide while keeping abreast of coastal marine issues and needs. Brewer earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental science and systems engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served as a pilot and commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. Reid received his master’s and doctoral degrees in marine biology from UAF.

Homer News: Reid Brewer takes the helm as director at NOAA's Kachemak Bay Kasitsna Bay Lab

Deborah Pomeroy ’88 has published a new book with colleague F. Joseph Merlino titled “New Era — New Urgency: The Case for Repurposing Education.” The book, scheduled for release in March 2024, presents a historical case for the need to repurpose education given the challenges of the new century. The authors describe their highly successful work repurposing education in Egypt and elsewhere and offer a challenge for us to start the hard work of repurposing education in the U.S.

It will be available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Rowman & Littlefield.

Pomeroy is a retired professor emeritus of science education at Arcadia University. She taught high school science for 19 years in Fairbanks and received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching in 1984 and her Master of Education at UAF in 1988.

Following her high school teaching career, she completed doctoral studies at the Harvard Graduate School for Education. She then taught science education at Arcadia University for 14 years, where she directed multiple education reform projects for grades K-16. Later, she co-founded the 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education (21PSTEM) and was co-principal investigator for a major National Science Foundation-funded project, the Math Science Project of Greater Philadelphia (MSPGP). Following that, she helped lead a massive project in Egypt to develop a new integrated STEM education curriculum funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Deborah Pomeroy and book cover for New Era - New Urgency
Carla Browning

Carla Browning ’93, received her Master of Public Administration from UA Southeast in December 2022 and accepted a position as onboarding and engagement manager at UAF in May 2023. Browning served more than 20 years in UAF University Relations and has been accredited in public relations since 2011.

Meadow Riedel ’00 has accepted the position of external affairs manager for Kinross Fort Knox. As an accredited public relations professional, she has an extensive background in communications and relationship building in the Fairbanks community. She is on the University of Alaska Alumni Association board of directors and is a passionate advocate for the Nanook Nation.

Meadow Riedel

Ryan Muspratt ’08 is the 2024 recipient of the UAF Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Muspratt is the senior vice president and chief financial and marketing officer at Petro Star Inc. He stays connected to UAF by serving on the UAF College of Business and Security Management Business Advisory Council.

In addition to his professional work, Muspratt is a board member for the Special Olympics of Alaska and a supporter of Junior Achievement of Alaska and the Boys & Girls Club. He was named to the Top 40 Under 40 list by the Alaska Journal of Commerce in 2021.

Ryan Muspratt
LaNora Tolman

LaNora Tolman ’09, ’17 is the co-owner of one of Fairbanks’ newest shopping boutiques. Along with her husband Michael, Tolaman opened Apricot Lane in June 2023. It’s her goal to bring a Lower 48-like shopping experience to Fairbanksans.

Kelly Ward ’09 is the 2024 recipient of the University of Alaska Alumni Association’s William R. Cashen Service Award.

Ward is a CPA and the co-owner of Robinson & Ward PC, a Fairbanks accounting firm. She received her MBA from UAF in 2009 and was an adjunct instructor for 12 years, teaching courses in applied business and accounting.

In addition to serving as chair of the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, Ward is on the board of the Alaska Society of Certified Public Accountants and a national committee representing American Institute of Certified Public Accountant members.

Kelly Ward
Marjorie L.T. Tahbone

Marjorie L.T. Tahbone ’13 is one of five people on the Inupiaq Advisory Council working with the producers of the new HBO series “True Detective: Night Country” and hopes to pave the way for more Indigenous people to work in the film industry.

The show is about a fictional town in Alaska. The council reviewed the scripts for accuracy and helped choose most of the Inupiaq names for the characters in the town.

Alaska Public Media: HBO's 'True Detective' collaborates with Iñupiaq for Alaska accuracy

Connor Hajdukovich ’17 has moved back home to Alaska after working in Washington, D.C., and is the new external affairs and policy coordinator for the Resource Development Council for Alaska Inc. He brings legislative experience as a former aide to Sen. Dan Sullivan and national security policy expertise as a former consultant providing services to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Connor Hajdukovich
Sagen Maddalena

Sagen Maddalena ’18 qualified for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 in women’s air rifle. Maddalena will represent Team USA and the U.S. Army. She is a soldier in the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. Paris will be Maddalena’s second Olympic Games; she made her debut in Tokyo 2020. 

Michelle Barbieri ’23 has accepted a job working in guest services at the Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage. She enjoys the daily interactions with their guests.

UAF photo by MS. Sunflowers at the Nanook Grown Student Garden on Thursday, September 14, 2023.

In memoriam

View a list of alumni and friends whose passage has been shared with us since the previous issue of Aurora.