URSA announces 2023-2024 Mentor Award recipients

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity congratulates the following individuals who received an URSA 2023-2024 Mentor Award.

Sasha Bitzer and Reily Dixion

Sasha Bitzer
Assistant Professor of Printmaking & Painting
Student: Reily Dixon
Project Title: Cognitive Cryogenics: Visual Metaphors for Human-Environment Relationships


Group photo of Dario Martin, Olivia Buzby, Grace Farrell, Alexia Devine, Steven Anderson, Jaunelle Celaire, Mari Ana Beks, Ellie Martinson, and Lucil McWilliams

Jaunelle Celaire
Professor of Voice & Music Department Chair
(L-R): Dario Martin, Olivia Buzby, Grace Farrell, Alexia Devine, Steven Anderson, Jaunelle Celaire, Mariana Beks, Ellie Martinson, Luci McWilliams
Project Title: Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Music Outreach with UAF Music Department


Erica Ebert and Amelia Knavel

Erica Ebert
Fisheries, Graduate Student
Student: Amelia Knavel 
Project Title: Analysis of Stable Isotopes in the Fourhorn Sculpin to Determine Foraging and Habitat Strategies


Florian Hofmann with Cori Patchkofsky and Ada Causey

Florian Hofmann
Research Assistant Professor, Geophysical Institute
Students: Cori Patchkofsky (L), Ada Causey (R)
Project Title: Developing Techniques to Date Young Volcanics in Alaska


URSA bear logo

Claudia Ihl

Professor of Biology, NW Campus
Students: Lynette Adams & Janet Adams
Project Title: Muskox Winter Foraging in Changing Snow Conditions near Nome


Ana Medina and Nivedita Menon

Ana Medina
Fisheries, Graduate Student
Student: Nivedita Menon
Project Title: Determining Life History Attributes of Rainbow Smelt in the Nearshore Waters of the Beaufort Sea


Kristin O'Brien and Jessica Gimarc

Kristin O'Brien
Professor of Biology and Wildlife
Student: Jessica Gimarc
Project Title: Metabolic Remodeling in Threespine Stickleback


Sarah Rice and Mars Brennan

Sarah Rice
Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute of Arctic Biology
Student: Mars Brennan
Project Title: Undergraduate Research Training on Enzyme Activity in Hibernating Bears


Molly Cook and Garrett Savory

Garrett Savory
Biology and Wildlife, Graduate Student
Student: Molly Cook
Project Title: Do serum amino acid nitrogen isotope ratios capture declines in captive muskox body condition?


Deanna Strohm and Paul Lecheung

Deanna Strohm
Project Biologist/ Laboratory Manager, Institute of Arctic Biology
Student: Paul Lecheung
Project Title: Assessing the Extent Tributary Watersheds Contribute to Arctic Grayling (Thymallus arcticus) Population Viability and Structure in Boreal Riverscapes


Group photo with Diana Wolf, Denali Crawford, Naoki Takebayashi, Steffi Ickert-Bond, James Phillips and Gaku Amada.

Naoki Takebayashi
Associate Professor of Biology
(L-R): Diana Wolf, Denali Crawford, Naoki Takebayashi, Steffi Ickert-Bond, James Phillips, Gaku Amada
Project Title: Estimation of the Ploidy of Plants from Dried Herbarium Specimens



Lauren Wilson and Xochitl Munoz

Lauren Wilson
Geoscience, Graduate Student
Student: Xochitl Munoz
Project Title: New Insight into Cretaceous Arctic Mammals using Computed Tomography


URSA’s Mentor Awards offer up to $6,000 for faculty, researchers, staff, and graduate students from all disciplines and all UAF-affiliated campuses to engage undergraduate students on their current research and creative projects. Visit the Mentor Award webpage for additional award information.

*UAF-Affiliated Campuses include: Bristol Bay Campus, Chukchi Campus, Community and Technical College, Interior Alaska Campus, Kuskokwim Campus, and Northwest Campus.

Please contact the URSA Office with questions: 907-450-8772; uaf-ursa@alaska.edu.