My Alaska Summer cover image - Embroidered patches for adventure, midnight sun, classes, uaf on a blue topographic map background

Classes, Adventure and Midnight Sun: My Alaska Summer

Hello! My name is Emily Charash, and I am from New York City. In 2021, I decided to spend my summer at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Fairbanks, Alaska. I wanted to meet new people, explore a new place and take classes you could only find in the 49th state. For this show, I teamed up with UAF to bring you along on my summer adventures. You'll meet the friends I made, you'll shadow me in my classes — Fly Fishing Weekend, Archaeology Field School, and several others — and you'll hear my thoughts as a New Yorker traveling and taking classes in Fairbanks, Alaska.



Episode 1: Welcome to Fairbanks, Alaska

In this episode, I'm taking you with me from New York City to Fairbanks, located about 120 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Interior Alaska. We'll get settled at UAF, meet people around town, learn about the history of Fairbanks from a town historian and hit up the visitors center. -EC

People gathered at an outdoor barbeque

Episode 2: Conversations about Alaska Native corporations

In this episode, we talk to Betty Ross, the professor for my Alaska Native Corporations course, about the history of the formation of the corporations via the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. We also talk to Shauna Hegna, president of Koniag Inc., about how Native corporations help their shareholders. -EC

The UAF Brooks Building lounge

Episode 3: Fly Fishing on Alaska waters

In this episode, I put on my waders and head to the beautiful Alaska waters to try my hand at fly fishing. You'll hear conversations with my fly fishing instructor, Shann Jones, about all things fly fishing and why people love life in the North. -EC

An adult and a child fishing from a sandy shore

Episode 4: Road tripping to a rural village

In this episode, you're coming with me on my road trip to the village of Nenana, where I talk to Chief Tim McManus and tribal administrator Jessica Shaw about life in their village. We also talk to Noelle Iles, the professor of my Economy of Rural Alaska course, about subsistence living and what that looks like in Alaska. -EC

Chief Tim McManus and tribal administrator Jessica Shaw are interviewed about life in their village

Episode 5: Digging up a ghost town

In this episode, we're going digging at the Chena townsite with my archaeology class. We'll talk to Justin Cramb, the professor for the Archaeological Field School course exploring Chena, a town that was abandoned over 100 years ago. Listen along to see what remnants of the human past my classmates and I find. (Hint: Mostly nails) -EC

Two people kneeling over an archaeological dig site

Episode 6: Life up North

In this episode, we are talking about what it's really like to live near the Arctic Circle. We talk with Brandon Boylan, my professor for International Relations of the North, about how climate change is affecting Alaska and with Pat Druckenmiller, a paleontologist, and director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North.

A plaque with a quote about Fairbanks by Ty Hall - The people I have there are some of the friendliest I have ever known. There is a sense of shared struggle there unlike any place I have been.

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Meet the team

Emily Charash

Emily Charash


Emily Charash is a podcast producer and audio engineer based in New York City. She owns and operates CharashSound, a podcast production company that creates branded podcast series for businesses and personal brands. She has produced podcasts for cultural institutions, universities, museums, language learning centers, and more.

Marmian Grimes

Marmian Grimes


Marmian Grimes is a lifelong Alaskan and third-generation University of Alaska Fairbanks alumnus. She is a former newspaper journalist who now helps share stories about her alma mater as part of the UAF public affairs team.

Find more stories about UAF on the UAF news and information website.


Samara Taber

Samara Taber


Samara Taber is the executive director of university advancement at UAF. She leads UAF's development, alumni relations, communications and marketing activities.

Emma Seager

Emma Seager


Emma Seager is a graphic designer located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She currently works as a designer for Wall-to-Wall Studios in Pennsylvania. In addition to her 9-to-5 job, she also designs for different podcasts, which are available wherever you listen. Check out Emma's work here!