Header Logo

UA Newswire

February 7, 2023

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

Mobile Crisis Team and the future of mental health response

Dial 911 and the responding dispatcher might send one of three options: a police officer, a firefighter or an EMT. But what if no crime has been committed or no laws broken? What if there’s no actual burning building, just the feeling that everything is on fire? What if the medical emergency isn’t of the body but the mind?

Enter a fourth option: Anchorage’s Mobile Crisis Team. Launched in summer 2021 and housed within the Anchorage Fire Department, the Mobile Crisis Team responds specifically to mental health emergency calls, such as suicidal ideations, schizophrenic or bipolar episodes, and even feelings of grief or loss.

Contact: Matt Jardin

Anchorage Mobile Crisis Team

Anchorage Mobile Crisis Team’s clinician Jennifer Pierce, M.S. Clinical Psychology '17, G.C.R.T. Children's Mental Health '17 (left), and paramedic Michael Riley, A.A.S. Fire Service Administration '05 (right). (Photo by James Evans / University of Alaska Anchorage)

Can we supply the minerals we need for the energy transition?

The ongoing global energy transition away from fossil fuels and toward alternative energy sources have now shifted focus to a group of rare and specialized materials called "critical minerals." Will humanity have the critical mineral resources it needs to complete and sustain the transition?

Join us for our series, Economics After Hours on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 6-8 p.m., for a presentation and discussion on this topic led by Brett Watson, assistant professor of Applied and Natural Resource Economics.

Contact: University Relations

New UAA Pride Center opened Jan. 17

UAA unveiled its new Pride Center during a grand opening on Tuesday, Jan. 17. Located in the University Hub on the ground floor of the Student Union, the Pride Center provides programs, services and events for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and two-spirit members of the UAA community. 

Contact: Matt Jardin

University of Alaska Fairbanks

31st annual Science for Alaska talks and outreach events announced

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute will host free public talks about tracking space debris, fostering education using the outdoors, new techniques for understanding aurora, the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake, and climate change and its effects on Alaska’s wildlife. 

For over 30 years, the Geophysical Institute has hosted the Science for Alaska talk series as one of its largest public outreach efforts. The series brings information about current research to Alaskans from scientists with expertise across the state.

Contact: Rod Boyce

A speaker presents a lecture to an audience
The annual Science for Alaska lecture series returns this year to an in-person format, with the addition of an online audience. (UAF Geophysical Institute photo)

Study offers new insight on what ancient noses smelled

It sounds a little like Stone Age standup: A Denisovan and a human walk past a bees’ nest heavy with honeycomb. What happens next?

According to a study led by University of Alaska Fairbanks biological anthropologist Kara C. Hoover and Universite Paris-Saclay biochemist Claire de March, the Denisovan, with the species’ greater sensitivity to sweet smells, may have immediately homed in on the scent and beat the human to a high-energy meal.

Contact: Marmian Grimes

Cuttlefish recordings now available online

With funding provided by the National Recording Preservation Foundation, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program was able to have 59 ‘Cuttlefish Project’ magnetic audio reels digitized by a professional company. The recordings can now be listened to online either through the UAF Rasmuson & Mather Libraries: Library Catalog or through the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archive Digital Repository, Historical Audio section.

From the fall of 1977 to the spring of 1982, Ray Hudson supervised groups of Unalaska high school students in his Cuttlefish class. Community Elders were asked to come to the class and share with students in their Unangam Tunuu language, sometimes through the use of a translator, and sometimes in English, stories about themselves and other cultural and historical details. Ray recorded many of these sessions so to the best of our knowledge, these are the only recordings of their kind that exist from the Cuttlefish classes.

Contact: Marmian Grimes

University of Alaska Southeast

2nd Annual Mariculture Conference of Alaska

Alaska Sea Grant will host the 2nd Annual Mariculture Conference of Alaska in Juneau, February 15–17. Registration is now open for anyone interested in mariculture in Alaska. This event will be where farmers, researchers and professionals in mariculture-related industries and agencies are meeting to present and discuss mariculture innovations, science and activities in Alaska.

A draft conference agenda is now available. For more information and to register, visit the conference website.

Contact: Melissa Good

Mariculture Conference logo
Conference logo

Peak Trust Company Announces Support for University of Alaska Ted Stevens Legislative Internship Program

Peak Trust Company has announced a $10,500 donation to the University of Alaska Southeast’s (UAS) Senator Ted Stevens Legislative Internship Program, as the first part of a broader commitment to support the program over the next five years. The program seeks to educate students about politics and public policy, as well as prepare them for careers in public service. Today, much of Alaska’s political sector is drawn from the ranks of former UAS legislative interns.

The UA State Legislative Internship Program is unique in the UA system. It admits around ten students each year from all over the state and includes an economically, as well as ethnically diverse student body. The program also provides skilled labor to the legislature and channels bright, capable young people into a life of public service. Roughly twenty-six percent of current legislative staff, including numerous legislative chiefs of staff, are former UA Legislative interns.

Contact: Keni Campbell

Tlingit Master Carver Wayne Price Returns to UAS Northwest Coast Arts Faculty

Wayne Price, Tlingit Master Carver from Haines, Alaska, returns to the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) as faculty for Northwest Coast Arts. He will be teaching courses in carving as well as Northwest Coast Indigenous Formline Design. UAS Chancellor Karen Carey remarked, “We are so excited to have Wayne join UAS again. His work is outstanding and the students learn so much from him. He is so kind and caring about his students that they not only learn about carving but also the culture and language.”

Price is an accomplished Alaska Native artist and is a member of the Wooshkeetaan clan. He has carved over 30 traditional and non-traditional totems. He has been carving since 1971, and has been an apprentice under other master carvers and artists, including Ed Kasko, Leo Jacobs, and John Hagen. His art is featured throughout the world.

Contact: Keni Campbell

UA System Office

Pilot internship scholarship supports teacher education students

The University of Alaska (UA) is launching a new pilot program to offset the financial burden of teacher internships. Aspiring teachers completing their unpaid full-time internship, or student teaching year, have little time to work an outside job. For many, that becomes a barrier to completing their teacher licensure program.

Current and prospective students in the final years of UA’s teacher licensure programs who meet eligibility requirements can now apply for the UA Teacher Internship Scholarship, with recipients receiving tuition, fees and a $10,000 stipend to offset living expenses. The university has dedicated $1 million of funding for this pilot scholarship program and is expecting to award up to 30 student teachers in the next year. The deadline for priority consideration is April 15, 2023, with awards to be announced in early May. 

Contact: Monique Musick

Young girl looks through a dreamcatcher text says Teach Alaska

Learn more on the Teach Alaska website.

State of the University address invitation
Save the Date: 2023 State of the University Address

SAVE THE DATE! The 2023 State of the University Address will be February 21, 2023.  President Pitney will be making the annual address noon to 1 p.m. at the Fairbanks Chamber of commerce. It will be livestreamed and recorded for the UA community.  

President Pitney will provide an update on the important role the University of Alaska system has in the state’s economic recovery and in building Alaska’s workforce; the contributions of UA’s world-class research; and highlight excellence across the university system.

Watch live at alaska.edu/pres/sou

UA Foundation

Mark your calendars: Giving Day 2023 is Feb. 22

We invite all University of Alaska friends, alumni, and advocates to join us in celebrating the third annual UA Giving Day - 49 Hours for Alaska starting on February 22, 2023

For 49 Hours, Alaskans near and far gather online to ensure a vibrant future for Alaska and its universities. 

It is an easy, high-impact way to provide vital support to a program or area at UAA, UAF, or UAS and help unlock additional funding through challenges throughout the event.

Contact: Cassandra Stalzer

Giving day banner with UA mascots

Support life changing scholarships, cutting-edge research and outstanding academic programs. (UA Foundation)

UA System "Did You Know?"

Did you know the University of Alaska is set to gain hundreds of thousands of acres of land as the result of a provision in the recently passed federal spending package?

The new law signed by President Biden in late December creates an avenue for the university to gain around 360,000 acres of land. We are encouraged that being a land grant university without all its land is finally coming to an end.

This land will help the University of Alaska further meet its mission of teaching, research and workforce development for Alaska. However, there is still a long way to go before the 360,000 acres are identified, and conveyed and even more time before the university will be able to monetize the lands.

Contact: Jonathon Taylor

Field of fireweed

Income from UA’s lands has funded the highly successful UA Scholars Program, awarding $12,000 scholarships to the top 10 percent of graduates from each Alaska high school who attend UA.

For more information on the UA Newswire, contact UA Manager of Communications & Marketing Monique Musick at mmusick@alaska.edu