Two UAF researchers selected as Arctic Fulbright scholars

April 21, 2015

Marmian Grimes

Marmian Grimes

Two researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks are among 17 scholars selected as the inaugural cohort of the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Arctic Initiative.

Gwen Holdmann, an energy researcher at the UAF Alaska Center for Energy and Power, and Tamara Harms, a biologist at the UAF College of Natural Science and Mathematics and UAF Institute of Arctic Biology, will join their colleagues from eight Arctic nations next month in Iqaluit, Canada, for the launch of their 18-month appointments. Holdmann and Harms were selected from among a pool of more than 100 applicants from the United States and the seven other Arctic Council nations: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden.

“It was a challenge for the selection panel to choose only 17, because the candidate pool included scholars of the highest caliber,” said Mike Sfraga, co-lead scholar for the Fulbright Arctic Initiative and UAF vice chancellor. “I am very pleased Gwen Holdmann and Tamara Harms have been selected to take part in this important and timely Fulbright effort. As members of the Fulbright Arctic Initiative, they will be bring to bear their considerable expertise to the challenges we face as citizens of the North, while highlighting UAF's unique position as a leader in Arctic research. I look forward to working with Gwen and Tamara, and the other 15 Fulbright Scholars who are part of this cohort of experts."

The Fulbright Arctic Initiative is an interdisciplinary collaborative research program to study the changing Arctic region. Launched to coincide with the U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council, which begins this week, the initiative supports the U.S. goal of stimulating international scientific collaboration on issues facing the Arctic, while increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Through international exchanges, three group seminars, online engagement and collaborative research, Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholars will explore public-policy research questions and engage governments, NGOs, businesses and Arctic communities. The group’s research will focus broadly on the impact of climate change on the Arctic and particularly on the issues of water, energy, health and infrastructure.

The selected group of scholars includes junior scholars as well as established experts. Disciplines range from hard sciences, including geology and biology, to law, sociology, global health and art.

The program will officially launch at an initial group seminar and program orientation meeting in Iqaluit, Canada, from May 17-21. This seminar will follow on the heels of the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Iqaluit on April 24, which will bring together ministers of the Arctic states, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, as the chair of the council officially passes from Canada to the United States. At the seminar, Fulbright Arctic Initiative co-lead scholars Mike Sfraga, of UAF, and Ross Virginia, of Dartmouth College, will guide the research teams in establishing guidelines and goals for their work.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Mike Sfraga, UAF, 907-474-2600, Gwen Holdmann, 907-590-4577, Tamara Harms, 907-474-6117, U.S. Department of State,, 202-632-6452.

Tamara Harms information:
Gwen Holdmann information:
Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholar biographies:
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