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Connecting Alaska's press to UA News

April 26, 2022

Research, workforce development and economic growth news stories and other feature articles from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Southeast and the UA Foundation. Compiled by the University of Alaska System Office of Public Affairs.

University of Alaska Fairbanks
$1 million Kinross gift boosts Troth Yeddha’ initiative

A $1 million donation from Kinross will bring the Troth Yeddha’ Indigenous Studies Center one step closer to reality.

The gift, announced Tuesday evening, will fund schematic design and bid specifications for the 34,000-square-foot facility at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In addition to maximizing energy efficiency, UAF plans to explore ways to add renewable energy production and carbon-reduction technologies to the building, with a goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions.

Contact Marmian Grimes for more information. 

Six people stand in a line holding a large $1 million check

(UAF photo by Leif Van Cise)

Ideas win big at virtual UAF Arctic Innovation Competition

The University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Business and Security Management awarded over $40,000 in cash prizes and awards after the 2022 Arctic Innovation Competition’s final presentations Saturday, April 16.

The competition, now in its 13th year, invites innovators to propose new, feasible and potentially profitable ideas for solving real-life problems and challenges. Contact Andrea Miller for more information. 

Darrow, Bhatt, Bret-Harte named 2022 Usibelli Award winners

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has announced the winners of the 2022 Emil Usibelli Distinguished Teaching, Research and Service Awards.

The Distinguished Teaching Award will go to Margaret Darrow, a professor of geological engineering at the College of Engineering and Mines. The Distinguished Research Award will be presented to Uma Bhatt, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the Geophysical Institute and College of Natural Science and Mathematics. Syndonia Bret-Harte, a professor of ecology at the Institute of Arctic Biology and College of Natural Science and Mathematics, will receive the Distinguished Service Award. Contact Marmian Grimes for more information.  


University of Alaska Anchorage
Erin Hicks is hoping black holes will answer some of our biggest astronomical questions

Erin Hicks, associate professor in UAA’s Department of Astronomy and Physics, is asking some really big questions — perhaps some of the biggest questions that have ever existed. Like, why are we here?

She may be one step closer to finding the answer this summer and fall.

Contact Catalina Myers for more information. 


(Photo by Phillip Hall/University of Alaska Anchorage)

UAA Recognizes three alumni of distinction 

The University of Alaska Anchorage recognized three alumni of distinction. 

Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, M.B.A. ’98, will receive the 2021 Alumni of Achievement award, Amanda Metivier, B.S.W. ’08, M.S.W. ’12, will receive the 2021 Alumni Humanitarian award, and Kira Apaachuaq Eckenweiler, B.M. Music Performance ’16, will receive the 2021 Alumni Emerging Leader award.

All three women were recognized for their achievements at the Alumni of Distinction celebration banquet on April 23.

Community leader Arliss Sturgulewski: A champion of UAA and Alaska

Reflections on Arliss Sturgulewski by UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell

A great personal friend and supporter of UAA and Alaska passed away Thursday. Arliss Sturgulewski was my state senator when I was a teenager and lived in Midtown Anchorage. She was one of the best legislators at constituent relations that I ever saw in the Capitol and was deeply connected to her community.

I remember her taking nightly walks through the neighborhood with her “Arliss Sturgulewski” T-shirt, and always stopping to talk with neighbors. She had an amazing ability to connect with the people she represented and was known for her moderate and bipartisan approach.

Arliss’ legacy in Alaska and at UAA assists and inspires future generations to pursue their dreams. Thanks for your service, Arliss. You will be missed. My condolences and the condolences of the entire UAA community go out to Arliss' family and friends.


University of Alaska Southeast 
UAS Honors Beth Kerttula with Honorary Doctorate of Laws at 2022 Commencement Ceremony

This year UAS will honor Beth Kerttula with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws.

The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) uses the occasion of Student Commencement each year to recognize individuals in our community who have offered outstanding service to the University, the State of Alaska, or Southeast communities. Honorary degrees are bestowed on individuals who exemplify a significant and lasting contribution to the University, to the State of Alaska, or to the individual’s discipline or profession.

Contact Keni Campbell for more information. 

Beth Kerttula

937 Alaska students will graduate with the UA Scholars
Award distinction

Alaska’s graduating high school class of 2022 includes 937 students designated for the prestigious UA Scholars Award. Members of the cohort hail from 238 high schools in communities ranging from Akiachak to Yakutat.

Each year, high school officials in Alaska identify the top ten percent of the graduating class for the UA Scholars Award - meaning they are some of the top academic achievers in the state. This designation includes a $12,000 scholarship for use at the University of Alaska’s three institutions, UAA, UAF, or UAS, and their 13 community campuses. 

Contact Lael Oldmixon for more information. 

Did You Know? 

Did you know all three of our universities have been recognized as Military Friendly Schools? 

Viqtory, a military marketing company that connects veterans to education and employment opportunities, recently designated our three universities as a Military Friendly® School striving to succeed in the areas that matter most to veterans – making the transition from the military to school and, ultimately, to satisfying careers in the civilian workforce.

Learn more about this dinstinction and our larger 'Did You Know' project here

military friendly schools


For more information on the UA Newswire, contact UA Manager of News & Content Erin McGroarty at elmcgroarty@alaska.edu