Header Logo

UA Newswire banner

August 8, 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

Interior Department and The University of Alaska partner to increase access to jobs for Alaska Native students

Students from University of Alaska Anchorage’s Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) will have increased opportunities for federal jobs after a partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The agreement, which was signed this month, includes a “direct hire authority,” which means ANSEP students, after working for the state’s university for a set number of hours and obtaining their degree, can be hired noncompetitively for Department of Interior jobs for two years.

Contact: Clair Stremple

ansepRepresentatives from ANSEP joined Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in Washington, D.C., on July 13, 2023 to sign the aggreement. (ANSEP photo)

UAA Culinary Arts celebrates 50 years

UAA's Culinary Arts program has much to savor this year. In addition to celebrating 50 years, the program also achieved reaccreditation from the American Culinary Federation with exemplary marks, surpassed fundraising goals at the 2023 Celebrity Chef Invitational and enjoyed record success with the student-forward Lucy's and Bakery Cart.

Alaska connections were front-and-center at this year's Celebrity Chef Invitational (CCI). The annual flagship event helps raise funds for the Culinary Arts program and student scholarships while offering an unforgettable night (and menu) for attendees as well as networking opportunities for students. UAA alumnus Nate Bentley, owner and executive chef at Altura Bistro, served as this year's celebrity chef, with additional chefs from South, Southside Bistro, Kenai Princess Lodge and the Hotel Captain Cook involved.

In addition to showcasing locally grown talent, the event raised over $80K for the program and student scholarships, including a $25,000 challenge gift from the Linford family, endowing a scholarship in memory of Sue Linford.

Contact: Austin Osborne

University of Alaska Fairbanks

USDA invests $1 million to UAF Alaska Native agricultural project 

A $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide continued support for a University of Alaska Fairbanks project aimed at educating and preparing the next generation of Alaska Native agriculture leaders.

USDA Chief Scientist and Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics Chavonda Jacobs-Young announced the investment during a visit to the UAF Troth Yeddha’ Campus in Fairbanks on August 3, 2023.

The funding will support Drumbeats Alaska: Place-Based Solutions for Alaska Native Food and Energy Sovereignty, a project led by UAF’s College of Rural and Community Development since 2005.

Contact: Marmiam Grimes

Dr. Young visits the botanical gardenUSDA Chief Scientist and Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics Chavonda Jacobs-Young at the Nanook Grown garden at UAF. (Photo by Eric Engman)

UAF geoscience students become first undergrads to join an R/V Sikuliaq research expedition 

Seven University of Alaska Fairbanks students will set sail on the research vessel Sikuliaq in August to study the plants, animals and humans that inhabited the Bering Land Bridge during the last ice age.

This is the first time that undergraduate geology students have participated in a research cruise aboard the Sikuliaq, which is owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by UAF.

The NSF-funded project will collect marine sediments and microfossils deposited in lakes, ponds or bogs that were above sea level on the Bering Land Bridge during the last ice age.

The students will join UAF professor Sarah Fowell’s team of researchers from UAF and the U.S. Geological Survey in collecting the sediment cores. The team includes Beth Caissie, from the UAF Department of Geology and Geophysics’ class of 2003, who now works for the USGS.

Contact: Lea Gardine

University of Alaska Southeast

New UAS Chancellor Aparna Palmer discusses the future of UAS in radio interview

Palmer outlined her goals during an appearance on Juneau afternoon. She said she hopes to increase the visibility of UAS after the pandemic, with a focus on student recruitment. 

“We don’t want to be a hidden gem,” she said. “We want to be that visible, shining gem that is present in the minds’ of all Alaskans, and also has a presence in the Lower 48.” 

Palmer pointed to world-class faculty and small class sizes as draws for recruiting new students.

Palmer also said she hopes to promote student retention across the spectrum of university programing, from training and certifications in the skilled trades to bachelor’s and master’s programs. 

Contact: Keni Cambell

Aparna PalmerChancellor Palmer poses for a photo her first week in office. (UAS Photo)

New UAS climate report outlines future of Juneau climate changes

The University of Alaska Southeast’s Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center released a Juneau-specific climate report in July and the findings details expected changes in the coming years.

The report says it’s important that the City and Borough of Juneau already has plans in place to combat climate change, but it must make good on them and then go even further in its efforts.

“There are two messages: One, there are many impacts. Two, we are doing something about it. For a small community, that’s pretty impressive,” said Jim Powell, a UAS research professor and the lead author of the study.

The study was made possible by volunteer effort from more than two dozen Alaska scientists, the majority of whom are local to Juneau. Funding came from CBJ and the Department of Interior’s Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center, which is managed by the USGS National Climate Adaptation Center

Contact: Keni Cambell

UA System Office

Over 100 years of university agriculture research strives on

For more than 100 years plant variety trials at Alaska Agricultural Experiment Stations have tested how crop varieties perform in Alaska.

The results of the trials are used to update cooperative extension publications, like the recommended variety list for interior Alaska, and to help local producers and gardeners select the best varieties to grow.

The variety trials program is a continuation of the original mission given to U.S. Special Agent Charles Georgeson in 1898, who was sent to Alaska to explore the agricultural potential of the state by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

This research remains vital today as researchers determine the best growing techniques and varieties suited to a changing climate. 

Contact: Monique Musick

Glenna Gannon with cornGlenna Gannon, primary researcher for the trials program at the Alaska Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, shows off some corn varieties being trialed at the Fairbanks Experiment Farm. (UA photo)

Upcoming Global Autonomous Systems Conference on August 9

The three day conference will include presentations from worldwide experts, conversations among policy and industry leaders, and opportunities to connect with visionaries in autonomous systems.

The event will be August 9-11, 2023 from 9:00am to 5:00pm at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska.

Featured speakers include UA President Pat Pitney, Dr. Anne Zink, Director of ACUASI Cathy Cahill, Director of Data & AI for Microsoft Michael Cruz and many others. Breakout sessions will take place and cover topics such as emergency management, AI device control, geological hazards, wildfire, communications, law enforcement support, and more.

Contact: Jonathon Taylor

For more information on the UA Newswire, contact Integrated Media Manager Rebecca Lawhorne at ralawhorne@alaska.edu