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April 4, 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

Research project led by UAA’s Micah Hahn receives grant funding from EPA

UAA Associate Professor of Environmental Health Micah Hahn is leading a research project around climate change, health, wildfire smoke and environmental justice in Alaska that recently received a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Hahn’s project is titled Filling data gaps: Developing a community-centered tool for assessing health impacts of intersecting climate hazards, wildfire smoke exposure, and social disparities in rural tribal and aging communities in Alaska.

Contact: Austin Osborne

UAA Associate Professor of Environmental Health Micah Hahn sitting outside in a grassy fieldUAA Associate Professor of Environmental Health Micah Hahn is leading a research project around climate change, health, wildfire smoke and environmental justice in Alaska. (Photo by James Evans / University of Alaska Anchorage)

Alaska Public Media launches mentorship program with Tom Case Leadership Fellows

UAA’s Tom Case Leadership Fellows (TCLF) program pairs participants with local business leaders for a year-long mentorship. This year, the program added an additional component: mentorship from Alaska Public Media’s (APM) nonprofit board of directors.

TCLF participants have been observing monthly board meetings and participating in one or more of the board’s six committees. Participants learn what the job entails, what the time commitment is, how board members derive satisfaction from their service and some of the projects that are important to the board.

Contact: Mariah Oxford 

Honoring Mary Louise Rasmuson: School of Social Work faculty Vanessa Meade instrumental in Alaska VA renaming

On Feb. 24, the Alaska VA Clinic was officially renamed the Colonel Mary Louise Rasmuson Campus of the Alaska VA Healthcare System. For Dr. Vanessa Meade, assistant professor in UAA’s School of Social Work and U.S. Army veteran, renaming the veteran facility was the culmination of her work toward recognizing veterans — particularly women — and of the incredible contributions Mary Louise Rasmuson made to our state and nation.

While the name Rasmuson in Alaska is well-known for philanthropy and Mary Louise and her husband's generous legacy lives on through their family’s foundation, her leadership and trailblazing women’s rights during her military service are being more widely recognized and honored. 

Contact: Catalina Myers

University of Alaska Fairbanks

New method of monitoring shore ice could improve public safety

Specialized portable radar could serve as an early warning system to reduce risk for humans working on shorefast sea ice, according to a recently published study.

The researchers suggest that use of portable interferometric radar can quickly reveal small changes that could indicate imminent movement or detachment of the ice, which is important as climate change affects ice behavior. The capability could also be useful for near-coastal navigation.

Contact: Rod Boyce

Graduate student researcher Emily Fedders sits on top of an ice island with the portable interferometric radar.Graduate student researcher Emily Fedders sits on top of an ice island with the portable interferometric radar. The ice island is in landfast sea ice on Alaska’s Arctic coast near Utqiaġvik. (Photo courtesy of Andy Mahoney)

French officials visit UAF

San Francisco-based Consul General of France Frédéric Jung visited Fairbanks March 24-25 for meetings with Chancellor Dan White, City of Fairbanks Mayor David Pruhs, several UAF units and the Fairbanks French-speaking community.

Consul General Jung said he was pleased to have the opportunity to learn about current research and the main challenges people face in the Arctic as well as hear more personal perspectives about research in Alaska versus France.

Jung said he plans to invite participants to join a trans-Atlantic community of French researchers through the France Science network and the Service for Science and Technology through the San Francisco consulate.

Contact: Marmian Grimes

Toolik launches climate education program for underserved students

Twelve high school students will visit Alaska’s remote Arctic during summer 2023 to learn about the effects of climate change on the region.

The students will spend five days at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Toolik Field Station, located in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range. At Toolik, the students will learn from the station’s scientists about topics like ecology and space physics, and hear from staff about the range of careers in Arctic research. 

Toolik Field Station is partnering with the Oregon TRIO Association, the Juneau Icefield Research Project and the University of Maine to support the student trip. 

Contact: Haley Dunleavy

University of Alaska Southeas

UA President Pat Pitney selects Dr. Aparna Palmer as next UAS Chancellor

University of Alaska President Pat Pitney announced that she has selected Aparna Dileep-Nageswaran Palmer, Ph.D., to serve as the next chancellor of the University of Alaska Southeast. Dr. Palmer succeeds UAS Chancellor Karen Carey, who is retiring on June 30, 2023.

Dr. Palmer currently serves as a Vice President at Front Range Community College (FRCC), which is part of the Colorado Community College System (CCCS). She is the chief executive of the Boulder County Campus and interim chief executive of the Larimer County Campus of FRCC, and brings 25 years of experience in higher education.

Contact: Jonathan Taylor

Dr. Aparna Dileep-Nageswaran Palmer portraitDr. Aparna Dileep-Nageswaran Palmer (Photo courtesy Dr. Palmer)

UAS Designated as 2023-2024 Military Friendly School Silver Status

The University of Alaska Southeast announced that it has earned the 2023-2024 Military Friendly® School designation Silver award status.

Military Friendly Schools® measure an institution’s ability to meet thresholds for Student Retention, Graduation, Job Placement, Loan Repayment, Persistence (Degree Advancement or Transfer) and Loan Default rates for all students and, specifically, for student Veterans. To receive the Silver distinction, selected schools are within 20% of the 10th-ranked organization. Military Friendly® Schools strive towards and succeed in the areas that matter most in helping Veterans make the transition from the military to school and, ultimately, satisfying careers in the civilian world.

Contact: Keni Campbell

UA System "Did You Know?"

Did you know that UA researchers are creating a series of reports specifically to help inform Alaska policy makers on Arctic issues?

Did you know that UA researchers are creating a series of reports specifically to help inform Alaska policy makers on Arctic issues? The Alaska’s Changing Arctic reports provide Alaskans with accessible, concise and comprehensive information about relevant Arctic issues. 

The inaugural report, “Alaska’s Changing Arctic: Energy Issues and Trends,” released in January 2023, explores economic and resource development through the topic of energy. 

It highlights key trends in Alaska and across the Arctic that are most likely to require legislative decision-making in the near future. 

C0ntact: Jonathan Taylor

Cover of Energy Issues and Trends report with woman walking in front of a solar panel arrayAlaska's Changing Arctic: Energy Issues and Trends 2023

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