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Connecting Alaska's press to UA News

May 10, 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
UAF steel bridge team earns spot in national finals

The University of Alaska Fairbanks steel bridge team is headed back to familiar territory — the national championships.

The UAF squad earned the top score last month in the Pacific Northwest Regional AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition, finishing in first place in five of the six judging categories. 

UAF has advanced to the championship round in six of the last seven competitions.

Contact Jeff Richardson for more information.

Members of the UAF team building their bridge

(UAF photo by Leif Van Cise

Zach Miller, front, and Branden Hansen help build UAF’s steel bridge entry during the Pacific Northwest regional competition on April 10.)

UAF, Willamette Law ink cooperative agreement

Willamette University College of Law and the University of Alaska Fairbanks have signed a new agreement that will  allow undergraduate UAF students and alumni to be admitted to the law school based on transparent academic credentials. The program includes four years of study at UAF and three at Willamette Law. A $10,000 scholarship is guaranteed for students admitted to the program, and it can be renewed each year they’re enrolled and remain in good standing. 

Read more about the program on the Willamette University news website.

New ACEP roles for Holdmann, Kasper

After almost 14 years, the Alaska Center for Energy and Power will undergo a leadership change. Gwen Holdmann, the founding director of ACEP, will step down on May 9. ACEP Deputy Director Jeremy Kasper will serve as interim director.

Kasper is no stranger to ACEP; he has been a research faculty with ACEP since 2012 and has held the deputy director role since 2018. Holdmann will be taking on a new role with the university as associate vice chancellor of research for innovation and industry partnerships. She will maintain a 49% position at ACEP in a principal investigator and project management role with the Alaska Regional Collaboration for Technology Innovation and Commercialization (ARCTIC) Program.


University of Alaska Anchorage
UAA graduates more than 1,000 students this spring, hosts reunion commencement

This spring, the University of Alaska Anchorage hosted in-person ceremonies to honor the accomplishments of more 1,000 certificate, undergraduate and graduate students from the Anchorage campus. 

UAA also hosted a reunion commencement ceremony for the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 who were forced to miss an in-person ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A slideshow of that ceremony can be found here

John Gregory, B.S. Natural Sciences, walks through the honor aisle during the UAA reunion commencement. (Photo by James Evans / University of Alaska Anchorage)

Commencement student speaker reflects on unconventional path as a student

Teresa Novakovich’s journey as an undergrad began 35 years ago. Shortly after walking onto UAA’s campus, Novakovich married the love of her life and left school to raise a family. In the interim years before returning to UAA, she raised five children, ran a small family business with her husband until 2017 and unexpectedly stumbled upon a job she realized could become a career. 

As she addressed this year’s graduating class, she hoped to instill the simple wisdom that it’s never too late. Contact Catalina Myers for more information. 

UAA graduate student speaker Tia Hale highlights bright future for UAA students

Tia Hale used to think she missed an opportunity to do two things when her family relocated to Oregon in 1997: attend UAA, where she roamed the halls as a kid during summer camps, and work at the current Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC), which she watched being built before her family’s move.

This August, Hale will begin a new dream job at Southcentral Foundation in inpatient pediatrics. She has also taken a page from her father’s book and applied to join the Commissioned Corps as a public health officer.

As the spring 2022 graduate degree hooding ceremony student speaker, Hale hopes that her story — changing career paths, moving away, returning home, and raising two children while pursuing a graduate degree — provides her classmates with a sense of shared optimism about the path ahead. Contact Matt Jardin for more information. 

Pitney joins Alaska Command Arctic Awareness Symposium panel discussion

University of Alaska President Pat Pitney recently joined Dr. Mike Sfraga, Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer and Col Matthew Schell on a panel for the Alaska Command's Arctic Awareness Symposium, to discuss how research across the University of Alaska system can support Department of Defense needs in domain awareness and impacts of climate change on infrastructure and operations. The even was co-sponsored by the Arctic Domain Awareness Center and UAA.

Our three universities have been building Arctic expertise for 100 years. Alaska's economy and America's national security depends on the university for support. The UA system and its three universities are important partners in this national imperative.

Pitney arctic research panel

Did You Know? 

Did you know that Prince William Sound College (PWSC) and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve partner to offer an internship program that helps students and the community?

Every summer, a PWSC Outdoor Leadership student has the opportunity to work closely with park staff to learn about park planning, interpretation of law and policy, and basic land management principles.

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

Joe Kay

(Joe Kay, a graduate of Prince William Sound College, helps trail maintenance staff during his internship with the Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve in 2020. Photo courtesy of Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve staff. )

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