Dr. Hirsch received his BA in Social Thought and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and his MA and Ph.D. in Politics and History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research interests include political theory, ethics, public memory, transitional justice, indigenous cultural politics, and ancient thought and literature. His courses range across the history of political thought, both in the West and beyond. They include Ethics & Society, Political Freedom, Classical Political Thought, Art & Politics, and After Evil.
In the Honors College, Dr. Hirsch teaches several courses, including Methods of Inquiry, which explores interdisciplinary theories of knowledge, belief, and disbelief.
Sophia May was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, and recently moved to Alaska for her next big adventure. She received her BA from the University of Utah in Human Development and Family Studies, and her MA from Utah State University in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences.
Sophia previously served as a Program Coordinator for Student Involvement & Leadership at Utah State University where she had the privilege to work closely with student government officers. There she discovered her passion for helping students achieve their personal, professional and academic goals. She is thrilled to join the Honors College staff as their Student Success Coordinator where she has no doubt she will continue to make amazing connections with the incredible students at UAF.
In her spare time Sophia enjoys hiking, camping, karaoke, and spending quality time with her partner and their three cats.
Eleanor Guthrie is thrilled to join the Honors College as its new Climate Scholars Coordinator. Her role will support the development of experiential learning opportunities, place-based education initiatives, and individualized student achievement grounded in climate-related fields. She has a passion for learning individual student stories and aiding young adults in educational, social, and emotional growth and achievement. Eleanor looks forward to using this opportunity to assist UAF Climate Scholars in intentionally working towards their educational and life objectives, while becoming agents of change.
Eleanor recently returned to Fairbanks after several years pursuing higher education in Washington State. She calls Fairbanks home, holding many fond memories growing up in Interior Alaska. As a third-generation University of Alaska Fairbanks employee, Eleanor is excited to begin her career at the institution that helped shape the person she is today.
She is a University of Washington double-alumni, earning her BS in Political Economics in 2018 and an MA in Public Administration with a focus in policy analysis and program evaluation in 2022. Prior to and between degrees, Eleanor worked as a legislative aide for the Alaska State Senate. There she had the honor of working for Interior Alaskans, developing legislation targeted at statewide education initiatives. Throughout her graduate education, Eleanor worked in administration for Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington. She served as an Executive Assistant to both WCC’s President’s Office and the Vice President of Student Services.
Outside of work, Eleanor is an active volunteer in the Fairbanks nonprofit world. She is passionate about community economic development, climate advocacy, conservation, and education initiatives in Interior Alaska and is excited to be back in the community she calls home.
Dr. Katie Spellman
Climate Faculty Fellow
International Arctic Research Center
Dr. Katie Villano Spellman was born and raised in Alaska. She has dedicated her career to the interface of social justice and science and has found the overlap for her passion in both areas through climate change education and research. Katie received her bachelor's in Biology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. She worked in homeless services and co-founded a street newspaper with members of the homeless community in Tacoma, Washington before returning home to Fairbanks to pursue a Masters and Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at UAF. In between the two graduate degrees, she worked as the ecological education program director at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, in Homer, Alaska. Her research is split evenly between plant ecology and education research, with public engagement in and access to the scientific process as a unifying theme in both areas. Her ecological research focuses on how a warming climate influences boreal and tundra plant communities through non-native species introductions, changes in phenology, and wildfire. Her education research investigates the effectiveness of different climate change learning strategies and science engagement models. She collaborates regularly with students, teachers, and community members across Alaska (currently in more than 35 communities) and in 122 countries around the globe to address climate change issues and increase access to science at local and global scales.
Dr. Kristin Timm
Climate Faculty Fellow
International Arctic Research Center
Kristin Timm studies and teaches communication to help people work together to solve complex environmental problems. Drawing from theories in organizational communication, science and technology studies, and science and environmental communication, her research primarily focuses on interactions amongst people, teams, organizations, and the processes that enable or constrain the movement of information across different contexts and settings. Most of her work has been in the context of climate change science, ans as a social scientist, she uses qualitative, quantitative, and computational methods in her work.
Kristin is currently a postdoctoral researcher with the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center at the International Arctic Research Center at UAF. She has a PhD in communication from George Mason University where she worked with the Center for Climate Change Communication. Kristin studied rural development and natural resource management for her Bachelor’s degree and science communication for her Master’s degree — both at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In addition to her formal education, she has over a decade of experience working as a science and environmental communication practitioner and has also been engaged in several advocacy organizations and civic efforts related to action on climate change.