Climate Scholars Program Intensives
What is a Climate Intensive?
Climate Scholars Program Intensives are opportunities to study with expert faculty in some of Alaska’s most unique ecosystems. We invite you to the remote places in Alaska where you will integrate theoretical knowledge with practical experiences to gain new skills in environmental data analysis, visualization, and effective advocacy while gaining a new perspective and context for Earth Systems.
The University of Alaska team, comprised of engineering students and Climate Scholars, travels to eclipse viewing sites across the country, makes frequent observations by launching hourly radiosondes on helium-filled weather balloons, works with atmospheric science experts throughout the project, and publishes results in peer-reviewed academic journals.
Adina Preston Photography
This Intensive approaches the goal of climate healing using multiple artistic mediums (such as birch bark and tanned salmon skin), traditional stories from Indigenous Elders, research from UAF climate scientists, experiential exercises, musical exploration, and personal reflections from participants.
*Gath is King Salmon and K’iyh is Birch in Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga dialect
Farming in Alaska? In a state where winter lasts for nearly six months of the year, growing vegetables isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, agricultural in Alaska is on the rise. This intensive offers a deeper understanding of expanding regenerative agriculture practices in the state, accompanied by a hands-on harvesting experience at the only commercial farm in Western Alaska. At Meyers Farm in Bethel, Tim and Lisa Meyers have spent the past twenty years honing their ability to grow thousands of pounds of organic vegetables, shipping them to villages down the Kuskokwim River and alleviating food insecurity in the region one produce box at a time. Students will be asked to reimagine how agriculture is currently conceptualized in Alaska and in the lower 48, analyzing how farming can be approached sustainably in their own home communities.
Art has been used throughout millennia as a powerful tool for activism. For a subject that is deeply politically divisive like climate change, art too can be used as a tool to reach across the partisan divide and communicate how rising global temperatures will impact shared important cultural events. This intensive offers student participants an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and communicating how climate change is impacting one of the largest trademark events in the state: the Iditarod. Over the course of a week, students will use an ethnographic and interview-based approach to learn about community perceptions of the Iditarod in a warming world. Students will hone their ability to communicate climate change through various artistic mediums while building their toolkit to engage in arts activism.
From 2019-2020, UAF researchers were involved in one of the largest international polar research expeditions in history, the MOSAiC Expedition. The researchers were based on a ship that was frozen in the ice for a year, drifting throughout the Arctic Ocean to collect samples of ice and water to better understand the changing Arctic. During this Intensive, planned for spring break 2025, students will work with scientists from the expedition to learn techniques for ice research on Interior Alaska’s frozen ponds, work with sea ice samples and data collected from the Arctic, and design their own research projects with mentoring from professional cryosphere (ice and snow) scientists. Students who complete this ~1-week Intensive will gain firsthand research experience, ask and answer questions about our frozen environment, and be better equipped to talk about our changing sea ice and the Arctic.
Focusing on actionable science and community engagement, the Climate Scholars Program offers the first opportunity of its kind in the nation for undergraduate students to study climate change and impact climate science and policy.
UAF is a world leader in climate and Arctic research. We produce more publications and citations related to Arctic study than any university in the world, and are home to the International Arctic Research Center and other major research units that bring in leading scientists from across the globe.