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October 3, 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

UAA College of Business and Public Policy: 50 years in the making

UAA's College of Business and Public Policy (CBPP) is celebrating 50 years. This half-century mark underscores CBPP's dedication, innovation and influence in shaping business education in Alaska since 1972. 

The second annual CBPP Showcase, which will take over all three floors of Rasmuson Hall and the adjacent Spine on Oct. 13, from 5-7:30 p.m., is a fitting tribute to the college's legacy. The 21+ event invites the community to explore the college and celebrate 50 years of quality education.

From interactive demos in the AI lab to breakout sessions highlighting CBPP programs like experimental economics, property management, accounting forensics and Alaska Native business management, attendees will be able to experience CBPP's innovative offerings firsthand.

Contact: Austin Osborne

UAA's Rasmuson Hall buildingThe upcoming showcase will take place in Rasmuson Hall at UAA and feature interactive demos, breakout sessions and a silent auction. (UAA photo)

UAA’s School of Social Work $1.2 million Department of Education grant will fill school social worker shortage in Alaska

This spring, UAA's School of Social Work (SSW) received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's (DOE) Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant program for their School-Based Social Work Education and Network Development program (SSWEND).

The three-and-a-half year program developed by SSW aims to graduate a cohort of 31 fellows who will increase school-based mental health service providers in high-needs schools with Anchorage School District (ASD) partner and community partners, Providence Alaska and the Volunteers of America Alaska (VOA), which currently operate programs addressing social work needs in K-12 education.

By the end of the SSWEND program, scholars will have the foundational training to support student wellness through educational approaches and community health support, as well as the skills to utilize evidence-based social, academic and emotional behavioral risk screeners, identify them at different risk levels and develop inclusive responsive plans.

Contact: Austin Osborne

Talk of Alaska: AI in academia

Guests Kenrick Mock – Dean, UAA College of Engineering, Don Rearden – Professor, UAA Department of Writing, and Andrew Harnish – Professor, UAA Department of Writing talk cyber concerns to host Lori Townsend in a radio interview on Talk of Alaska. 

Computer technology aids us daily in our work and personal lives. Banking, online ordering, education, even monitoring your blood sugar and other health conditions is now routine. These systems also track our online habits, learning about our preferences and using that data to offer similar types of products or other content. That’s a simple example of Artificial Intelligence, but A.I.’s use is growing fast and understanding the risks that come with the convenience is important.

Contact: Lori Townsend

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Study: Near-surface permafrost will be nearly gone by 2100

Most of Earth’s near-surface permafrost could be gone by 2100, an international team of scientists has concluded after comparing current climate trends to the planet’s climate 3 million years ago.

Professor emeritus Vladimir Romanovsky of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute is among the co-authors. Romanovsky is a leading scientist in permafrost research.

“The loss of this much near-surface permafrost over the next 77 years will have widespread implications for human livelihoods and infrastructure, for the global carbon cycle and for surface and subsurface hydrology,” Romanovsky said. “This research rings yet another alarm bell for what is happening to Earth’s climate.”

Contact: Rod Boyce

Permafrost in bluffs on the bank of the Canning RiverPermafrost peaks out of bluffs on the bank of Alaska's Canning River. (USGS photo)

Drone completes first flight from Nenana to Fairbanks airport

Alaska’s leading uncrewed aircraft program made another significant advance Friday when a drone flew from the Nenana airport and landed at Fairbanks International Airport.

The flight, conducted by a University of Alaska Fairbanks research center, was the first in Alaska of a drone departing one airport and arriving at a controlled airport.

Friday’s successful flight followed two flights from Fairbanks to Nenana earlier in the week.

Contact: Rod Boyce

ACEP and partners receive $6 million to help secure electric grids

Communities hit hard by climate change in Alaska and elsewhere in the U.S. could benefit from a new research project aimed at improving their electric grids.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Center for Energy and Power and partners have received $6 million from the National Science Foundation to conduct the study.

The project aims to advance the nation’s “smart grid” — a planned nationwide network that uses information technology to deliver electricity efficiently and securely.

 Contact: Yuri Bult-Ito

University of Alaska Southeast

Mud pies and ‘Molly of Denali’ could strengthen STEM education in rural Alaska

Education researchers Angela Lunda and Carie Green are studying “mud science.” They say this kind of experimentation in the natural world can help young children develop an interest in environmental science.

For Alaska Native children, activities in the natural world are also an important foundation for cultural identity. 

Lunda and Green’s research — known as the Molly Community Science Project — focuses on strengthening STEM programming in rural Alaska schools. 

Contact: Anna Canny

GoPro footage captures young students making mud piesA GoPro camera captures a child’s point of view as they make mud pies in Hoonah. Videos like this will help researchers and educators to design new environmental science programming in rural Alaska Native elementary schools. (Screenshot courtesy of Carie Green)

Mitzi Bolaños Anderson appointed UAS Director of Equity & Compliance

The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) announced the appointment of Mitzi Bolaños Anderson as the new Director of Equity and Compliance. Her responsibilities at UAS include Title IX, Equal Employment Opportunity issues, the American Disabilities Act/504 requirements, and Clery Act compliance.

Mitzi brings civil rights enforcement experience at the state and local levels in Alaska. She joined the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights as an Attorney and Mediator in 2017, then joined the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission as Staff Attorney and Executive Director in 2019. 

Contact: Keni Campbell

Alaskan master wood carver uses art to heal addiction

Master wood carver Wayne Price overcame addiction through his art and now shares its healing powers at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau.

The Courier Journal interviews Price about his life and his work in this video from the UAS campus.

Contact: Keni Campbell

UA System Office

Drone expert Steve Colligan named to UA Board of Regents

Businessman Steve Colligan has been named by Gov. Mike Dunleavy to the University of Alaska Board of Regents.

A lifelong Alaskan, he holds an Associate of Applied Sciences degree in Petroleum Engineering Technology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Engineering Studies at UAF/UAA.

He has national and international experience specializing in Information Technology Integration, geographic information systems and geomatics. 

Contact: Jonathon Taylor

Board of Regents pose during the August 2023 meetingRegent Colligan will have the opportunity to join the full Board of Regents at the upcoming meeting this November.

ANSEP’s Acceleration Academy offers college credits to high school students for free

The Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP), run through the University of Alaska, offers an Acceleration Academy that allows students to take full-time college classes while still in high school. The program, for students in grades 8 through 12, is free and can help families save on college costs as well as give students a head start on their careers.

The Acceleration Academy is currently offered at UA campuses in Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Bethel and Kotzebue. At 187 students, this year’s class is the largest in the program’s history.

Contact: Jonathon Taylor

UA System "Did You Know?"

Did you know that the Equinox Marathon was started by two students and two sports coaches as a University event?

In 1963, the same year as the historic events of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a unique marathon was born at the University of Alaska.

The Equinox Marathon, initially billed as one of the toughest in the world, has evolved into a captivating race with a rich history that sets it apart from others.

Contact: Jonathon Taylor

Runners begin up the Beluga Field hill during the 2016 raceRunners set out from Beluga Field at UAF during the 2016 race. (UAF photo)

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