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Connecting Alaska's press to UA News

November 8, 2022

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

University of Alaska Anchorage

Undergrad research training leads UAA alum to Sandia National Labs

For Peter Renner, the last four years have felt like sprinting a marathon. He went into Texas A&M’s mechanical engineering Ph.D. program in 2018, right after graduating from UAA, and just four years later he is now a postdoctoral fellow at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That means he blasted through his coursework, exams and dissertation in practically record time — even with the coronavirus pandemic and a newborn daughter thrown into the mix.

CONTACT: Joe Selmont 

Peter Renner(Renner photographed in April 2018 with an ultra-high vacuum chamber he used to perform plasma research in UAA's Natural Sciences Building. Photo by James Evans / University of Alaska Anchorage)

Podcast: Immigrant and indigenous psychology and the beautiful mess that is life

It can be easy to lose yourself in Metro Manila, the capital region of the Philippines with a population of about 14 million people. It can be harder to do that in Utqiagvik, Alaska’s northernmost city with a population of about 4,000.
But E.J.R. David found himself exactly that: lost, struggling with issues of identity after moving from Metro Manila to Utquiagvik as a teenager. That is, until he discovered a science at UAA that helped him make sense of what he was feeling.
Today, E.J. passes on what he’s learned as a professor of psychology at his alma mater, as well as a published author, radio host and advocate.

Podcast: First-generation student success and how mothers know best

“I told you so” is something Eva Ulukivaiola hears a lot from her mom. Starting in middle school, Eva’s mom enrolled her in TRIO, sacrificing valuable free time and summer vacations. But her mom hoped that Eva and her sisters would use this resource as a springboard to be the first in their family to earn college degrees.
In this episode, Eva talks about the mission and history of TRIO, how her education and career have brought her life full circle, and the unique challenges faced by first-generation college students.

CONTACT: Matt Jardin

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Grant will allow Alaska Tribes Extension Program to expand

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service a $730,585 grant for its Alaska Tribes Extension Program as part of a $71 million investment to help underserved communities.

UAF associate professor Heidi Rader said the Alaska Tribes Extension Program focuses on tribally directed needs and goals related to food sovereignty. That can mean supporting traditional ways of knowing and securing food, or starting a garden, farm, ranch or other activities that aid community food security, resiliency and economic diversity.

The project aims to serve Alaska’s 115,000 Alaska Natives and 229 tribes.

CONTACT: Julie Stricker

bowls of berries and rhubarb

(A USDA grant will allow the expansion of the Alaska Tribes Extension Program, which supports tribally directed needs related to food sovereignty, including traditional ways of securing food such as wild berries - Heidi Rader photo)

UAF, Explore.org launch live muskox webcam

The University of Alaska Fairbanks and the live nature cam network Explore.org have launched the network’s first live webcam stream dedicated to one of the Arctic’s most iconic animals: the muskox.
The new muskox cam streams from UAF’s Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station, located just north of the Fairbanks campus off Yankovich Road. It’s pointed at the facility’s north pasture. A second cam in the calf pen is scheduled to start streaming in the spring.

Webinar planned to assist small businesses, startups

The Alaska Center for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has been awarded a federal grant to assist small businesses and startups. A webinar is scheduled for Nov. 14 at 1 p.m. to discuss opportunities available through the program.
The Federal and State Technology Partnership Program, known as FAST, provides technical assistance, mentoring and specialized training. The $125,000 grant to UAF will help Alaska entrepreneurs obtain funding for early-stage research and development work from the federal Small Business Innovation and Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. FAST emphasizes support for applicants from underrepresented and underserved rural communities.
Evelyn Jacome, Alaska FAST director, will share more information about opportunities available through the program. Register for the webinar online.

CONTACT: Marmian Grimes

University of Alaska Southeast

Juneau Events Showcase Music on the Science of Climate Change

University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists have teamed up with the Juneau Composers Consortium and Con Brio Chamber Series for a unique program of original musical works that interpret climate research.

“Climate Soundscapes” will premiere at two concerts in Juneau — at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, in the Ḵunéix̱ Hídi Northern Light United Church and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, in the state Division of Libraries Archives and Museums building atrium. Admission is pay-as-you-can.

UAF climate researchers also will give a science talk at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at the University of Alaska Southeast’s Egan Lecture Hall.

CONTACT: Heather McFarland

Photo by Joanna Young Scientists work on the Juneau Icefield. The research from their work was turned into a musical composition that is being featured in a concert in Juneau.

(Photo by Joanna Young - Scientists work on the Juneau Icefield. The research from their work was turned into a musical composition that is being featured in a concert in Juneau.)

Waging Peace in Vietnam Exhibits and Events

The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) will host two exhibits related to the Vietnam war: “Waging Peace in Vietnam: US Soldiers and Veterans Who Opposed the War” and “My Lai: A Massacre Took 504 Souls and Shook the World.” Both exhibits are curated by Ron Carver, a longtime photographer, social justice, and labor rights activist with roots in the American civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s.
UAS will be the 15th American university that has hosted the exhibits, which will be on display in the UAS Egan Library and Egan Classroom Wing from Veterans Day, November 11, through December 15. 

At the end of spring semester 2022 UAS honored faculty at an event hosted by the Office of the Provost. Faculty Excellence Awards were presented and the designation of Faculty Emerita was bestowed on Professor Jan Straley. Also announced were promotions and sabbaticals granted for the 2022-23 academic year. On Staff Development Day, held Wednesday, May 11, Staff Excellence Awards were announced.
CONTACT: Keni Campbell

UA Board of Regents to review FY24 budget, union contracts at its November 10-11 Fairbanks meeting

The board will discuss the proposed FY24 operating and capital budgets, tuition rates for academic year 2024, and vote on the collective bargaining agreements between the University of Alaska and United Academics and the Fairbanks Firefighters Association.
The meeting will feature a ‘Did You Know’ video presentation about the university system’s role in global Arctic leadership. Regents will review the annual reassessment of priority focus areas and targets for the Board of Regents' Goals and Measures.
Reports from the respective board committees, and reports from President Pat Pitney, chancellors, governance leadership, government relations, and Title IX will be provided. 
The board will hear updates on activities from the Alaska Native Success Initiative and the UA Foundation, and celebrate Regents John Davies, Lisa Parker, J. Scott Jepsen, and Sheri Buretta whose terms end in February 2023. The board also will do a first read of a System Office mission statement for inclusion in Regents’ Policy.

CONTACT: Robbie Graham

Alaska Launches $59 Million Small Business Financing Program

The State of Alaska, the University of Alaska, and the Alaska Small Business Development Center (Alaska SBDC) today announced the launch of the Alaska State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). This statewide program will use $59.9 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury to finance incentives to help drive private sector funding to Alaska’s small businesses, particularly those that have traditionally had a hard time securing loans or equity investments.

CONTACT: Jon Bittner

The Education Trust of Alaska T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan Receives High Rating from Morningstar

The Education Trust of Alaska is pleased to announce that its T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan will maintain its “Silver” Morningstar rating. The plan continues to stand out as one of the highest rated plans in the country.  

CONTACT: Lael Oldmixon

Nominations Open for 2023 Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence

The University of Alaska Foundation Board of Directors is accepting nominations for the 2023 Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence. The prize, which includes a $20,000 award, is presented to an individual who demonstrates excellence in support of the University of Alaska. Any UA student, faculty, staff, alumni or volunteer who has made a significant contribution to the mission of the University of Alaska system, UAA, UAF, or UAS is eligible to be nominated. 

CONTACT: Cassandra Stalzer

UA System "Did You Know?"

Did you know that graduates of UA schools of education have recently been recognized for empowering their communities?

The awards exemplify how alumni from accredited education programs at UAS, UAF, and UAA carry their love of learning into the world and apply it to teaching.

CONTACT: Robbie Graham

award winning educators of UA system

[Teresa Dl’a Gwa T’awaa Varnell, 2022 Sealaska Heritage Institute Teacher of Distinction a UAS graduate (photo: Stacy Unzicker, SHI); Harlee Harvey, 2023 Alaska Teacher of the Year, a UAF graduate (photo: DEED; and Bill Hill, 2023 Alaska Superintendent of the Year, a UAA graduate photo: Bill Hill)]

For more information on the UA Newswire, contact UA Manager of News & Content Lily Weed.