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Connecting Alaska's press to UA News

December 14, 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

Cannabis course aims to cultivate budding marijuana industry

UAA alumna and culinary arts assistant professor Riza Brown, hopes to provide clarity amid the haze through a new class at UAA: CannaBasics: An Introduction to Culinary Cannabis, which debuted fall 2022.

While no actual marijuana is handled in the class, CannaBasics provides a comprehensive, primarily theoretical overview of all things cannabis during six three-hour sessions. Topics covered include everything from plant anatomy, manufacturing equipment and appropriate dosing to sales, history and laws. But most importantly, the course emphasizes safety.

CONTACT: Matt Jardin

UAA alumna and culinary arts assistant professor Riza Brown(UAA alumna and culinary arts assistant professor Riza Brown, A.A.S. Culinary Arts ’11, B.A. Journalism and Public Communications ’11 photo: UAA)

Peak Trust Company Donates $50,000 to Finance Lab

Peak Trust Company announced this week that it is supporting the College of Business and Public Policy’s new finance lab with a $50,000 donation made possible by the Horejsi Charitable Foundation.

The First National Bank Finance Lab, located on the second floor of Rasmuson Hall, is expected to open in Fall 2023. Peak Trust’s investment will enhance the lab through state-of-the-art technology equipment, hi-tech furnishings, hardware, software, and subscription services.

CONTACT: Matt Jardin

How Black Holes Answer Our Biggest Questions

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

She may be one step closer to finding the answer.

Last fall, Hicks and her collaborators were awarded observation time on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) for two research projects to be carried out as part of a larger effort known as the Galactic Activity, Torus and Outflow Survey (GATOS). Hicks’ JWST research time is focused on studying supermassive black holes. This summer, JWST began providing Hicks and her team with photos and data.

CONTACT: Matt Jardin 

University of Alaska Fairbanks

What Alaskans can learn from the Arctic Report Card

Alaskans can learn much about their state in the 2022 Arctic Report Card released nationwide this week. The Arctic and Alaska are growing warmer and wetter, University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists are at the heart of tracking this and other Arctic changes, and Alaskans are calling for people to work together to address the consequences of climate change.

The Arctic Report Card checks in annually on the state of the Arctic via key “vital signs,” ranging from air and ocean temperature to sea ice and snow. The report also discusses emerging topics like increased Arctic ship traffic. It is produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and released at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. 

CONTACT: Heather McFarland 

flood waters around a building(Photo by Josephine Daniels

Surging Bering Sea waters, driven inland by typhoon Merbok in September 2022, flow through Golovin, Alaska, damaging a third of the homes in this photo by Josephine Daniels published in the Arctic Report Card’s Consequences of Rapid Environmental Arctic Change for People section.)


Newly found photos shed light on 1910 Denali climb

An unexpected find in a University of Alaska Fairbanks archive has revealed more information about the oft-debated April 1910 Sourdough Expedition climb of Denali, North America’s highest mountain.

Photographs found by UAF Geophysical Institute professor Matthew Sturm in the university’s Rasmuson Library archives in October show the climbing party at about 16,500 feet — far higher on the 20,310-foot mountain than previously seen.

CONTACT: Rod Boyce

Ancient moose antlers hint of early arrival

When a great deal of Earth’s water was locked up within mountains of ice, our ancestors scampered across a dry corridor from what is today Siberia over to Alaska. Those adventurous souls may have been accompanied by another creature that needed wood — the moose.

That is the notion of Pam Groves, a scientist who recreates ancient landscapes at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She recently wrote a paper on moose occupation of Alaska’s North Slope based on ancient moose antlers and bones she has found during decades of floating northern waterways. Dan Mann and Mike Kunz co-authored the paper.

 CONTACT: Ned Rozell

University of Alaska Southeast

New Natural Sciences Building for UAS is Underway

The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Auke Bay Integrated Science Building (ABISB) aims to create a new home for teaching and research associated with UAS’ distinctive marine-oriented environmental and interdisciplinary science programs.

Chancellor Karen Carey noted, “The new building will allow our faculty to be housed together and allow them to collaborate on their research and teaching. We have waited a long time for this building to come to fruition and we are very excited as it continues toward completion.”

CONTACT: Keni Campbell

uas auke bay science building artist rendering(An artist's rendering of future building, UAS image)

Tidal Echoes elevates LGBTQ2S+ voices in 19th edition

Featured Writer Lin Davis and Featured Artist Chloey Klawk Shaa Cavanaugh are bringing some “unapologetically queer” content to the 19th edition of “Tidal Echoes.”

“Tidal Echoes” is Southeast Alaska’s literary and arts journal, publishing poetry, prose, and artwork from around the region. A quarter of the entries in “Tidal Echoes” are reserved for UAS students.

The journal closed submissions for this year on December 1. 

 CONTACT: Olive Brend, “Tidal Echoes” Fall Editor

UA System Office

UA launches public awareness campaign

Earlier this month the University of Alaska system launched “Empower Alaska,” a campaign to build awareness among Alaskans about the economic and academic impact UA has on the state. 

The message is simple: the University of Alaska – with its universities and community campuses – empowers Alaska through building its workforce, molding leaders, partnering with industries, spurring research and encouraging innovation.

CONTACT: Robbie Graham

Empower Alaska(A screenshot from the Empower Alaska campaign)

Juneau third grader is winner of annual $25,000 scholarship account from Alaska 529

Alaska 529 announced recently that Maxine Peterson was randomly selected as the winner of this year’s $25,000 scholarship account giveaway. 
Maxine, 8, attends Kax̲dig̱oowu Héen Elementary School in Juneau, AK. Alaska 529 surprised the third grader with the announcement during a school assembly. She is the first winner from Southeast Alaska.
Maxine’s parents, Samantha Jenkins and Carl Peterson, were notified shortly after she was randomly selected.

CONTACT: Lael Oldmixon

UA System "Did You Know?"

UA is collaborating with the Alaska travel industry to promote tourism businesses and the related university programs

The Alaska-themed “Day in the Life”  TikTok ad campaign, is a collaboration between UA and the Alaska Travel Industry Association with support from Alaska Airlines that aims to attract more students and workers to the state. The campaign highlights a typical day in the life of two students, as well as two alums of the UA system who now work in the Alaska travel industry. 
A second set of TikTok ads, to be launched over the holidays and in the new year, will feature tourism businesses in Juneau, Seward, Fairbanks and Anchorage and related university programs.
One of the new ads focuses on a tour company in Fairbanks that offers walks with reindeer partnered with the reindeer research being conducted at UAF's Large Animal Research Station.

CONTACT: Robbie Graham 

UA and ATIA(A screenshot from the UA and ATIA TikTok ad launching next week)

Did you know that over the last 100 years the University of Alaska has built a tremendous foundation in Arctic research and education?

The university has built a tremendous foundation in Arctic research and education. That foundation is our springboard for the next 100 years of Arctic leadership. The university's biggest strength is excellence in research, teaching, and the emerging focus on Arctic security.
This video explores UA’s expertise and role across the circumpolar North. It is and will continue to be critically important for the university to collaboratively build strategic and scientific knowledge and exert its role in the global Arctic.

CONTACT: Robbie Graham

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