Photo by Ian Johnson -

Meet the students

RAP students come from Alaska, across the United States and the world.  We currently have 45 active, full time students; 33 PhD and 12 Masters.  




Emilie Springer:  PhD, Anthropology


Entered Program: 2007

Thesis Title: “Sea Change, Know Fish: Catching the Tales of Fish and Men in Cordova, Alaska"

Chair: Dr. William Schneider

Lisa Strecker: PhD, Anthropology


Entered Program: 2012

Chair: David Koester (Anthropology)

Title: Northern Adaptations in Kamchatka (Russia): Fishing for Dogs or Fishing for Snow-Machines?


Eduard Zdor:  PhD, Anthropology

B.S. Biology, University of Alaska, Anchorage, 1989; M.S. Biology, 1993; M.A. Teaching, Secondary Science, 1993

Thesis Title: “Roles of Traditional Knowledge in the post-Soviet Adaptations of the Maritime Chukchi”

The purpose of the study: To investigate the mechanisms of adaptation of indigenous peoples through the examples observed the economic crises in a) 1990s, and b) the current decade (2010 – present). Identify and describe the process of change in basic aspects of coastal village life.

Advisor:  Dr Sveta Yamin-Pasternak



Miranda Wright:  PhD, Anthropology

 Email:  Entered Program:  2007

Thesis Title:  “How Is Leadership Operationalized in Indigenous Communities”  

In many indigenous communities methods to maintain the socio-ecological balance are embedded in their social-linguistic cultural norms.  My research explores and analyzes how leadership in indigenous communities addresses concerns for the ecosystem.  Advisor:  Craig Gerlach




La’ona DeWilde:  PhD, Biological Sciences

Bachelors, Masters in Biology, UAF


Entered Program:  2005, MA; 2007 PhD
Thesis Title:  “Urban Surface Water Monitoring” 
Advisor:  Terry Chapin

   Nils Pedersen


Department: Wildlife Biology and Conservation

Major Advisor: Todd Brinkman

Title of Project: Bear-Human Interactions in the Prudhoe Bay Region of Alaska’s North Slope; Optimizing Bear Den Detection in the Winter & Quantifying Bear Encounters in the Summer Season



  Mark Spangler

M.Sc. Wildlife Biology and Conservation

Major Advisor: Falk Huettmann

Thesis: Environmental DNA sampling and spatial modeling as means to investigate wood frog (Rana [Lithobates] sylvatica) range extent in northern Alaska

My research uses a novel, non-intrusive technique to detect the presence of wood frogs in the environment from the DNA they release into their breeding ponds. I am using this method, along with predictive spatial modeling, to investigate the distribution of the species in Alaska. I am also using citizen-science to supplement my data, increase public awareness of amphibian conservation, and involve the community in scientific research.

 Taylor Stinchcomb


Masters of Science Candidate

Major advisor: Dr. Todd J. Brinkman

Working thesis: “Social-Ecological change in Nuiqsut, Alaska: quantifying the impacts of aircraft noise on caribou subsistence using soundscape ecology, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and geospatial analysis”

Allison Butler Woodward:  PhD, Biological Sciences

B.S. Biology, University of Alaska, Anchorage, 1989; M.S. Biology, 1993; M.A. Teaching, Secondary Science, 1993

Entered Program:  2007

Thesis Title: “Sustainable Village Relocation”

I have established a collaboration with the people of Shishmaref, Alaska to develop a community-led village relocation plan to maximize the cultural, social, economic and ecological sustainability of the new community.

Advisor:  Rich Boone




No students currently enrolled





Jenny Chamberlain MFA, Ceramics and Photography

Advisor:  Jim Brashear

I will be working with ceramics and functional vessels as my main focus, which will be complemented by my work in photography. I will be focusing on layering textures and experimenting with forms that echo the Alaskan coast. The surface designs will reference the beauty found in natural forms throughout the coastline of south and central Alaska. The idea for this work was inspired by a trip to Homer and my strong connection to the ocean. The title I have been considering is, "Follow me Home".





Aurora Roth :  PhD Geophysics


Entered program:  2014

Title: “Using a model of orographic precipitation to improve runoff projections for the Juneau Icefield"

Advisor:  Dr. Regine Hock


Joanna Young: PhD Geophysics


Entered program:  2015

Title:Recent Alaska Glacier Change - Improving Estimates of Mass Loss in a Warming Climate by Synthesizing Methods, and Improving Climate Literacy by Experiential Learning 

Co-advisors Erin Pettit and Anthony Arendt (University of Washington).





Judith D. Ramos:  PhD Indigenous Studies

BA Anthropology, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1981; MA Teaching, Adult and Community Education, Alaska Pacific University 1985.


Entered Program:  2011

Title: "Glacier Retreat and the Cultural Landscape of Ice Flow Sealing at Yakutat Bay, Alaska"

Advisor:  Michael Koskey






Hassab Ali:  PhD,  Interdisciplinary Studies

Ms Biology Bsc.,Geology , Msc., Petroleum Technology, University of Poona, India, 1990 and 1992 ; MA, International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, 2001
Entered Program: 2006
Thesis Title: “Oil Development and Wealth in Plural Societies: a Curse or a Blessing?”
I'm interested in knowing if the Sudan can develop its recent commercial oil discovery in a sustainable way. I am exploring the potential quantitative and qualitative impacts of oil development and wealth on the socio-ecological life in the Sudan and will present my findings to the stakeholders.
Advisor:  Jonathan Rosenberg


Dixie Dayo:  PhD, Interdisciplinary Studies

 BA 1994;   MA, UAA College of Rural Development, 2004 Email:  Entered Program:  2007

 Thesis Title:  “ Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act: an Act of Resilience, Adaptive Management and Sustainability” Advisor:  Gary Kofinas 


Yasmeen Hossain:  PhD, Interdisciplinary Studies

BA, Environmental Studies, Alliant International University, 2002: MSc, Environment & Development, London School of Economics, 2006


Entered Program:  2010

Dissertation title:  Adapting to global change: the Economic, social and environmental dimensions of energy-efficient green homes in a subarctic climate


The objective of my research is to conduct an assessment of  energy-efficient green buildings in a subarctic climate.  Specifically, the research will  determine the viability of energy-efficient green buildings in Alaska taking into consideration climate, material supply, social expertise, economic cost, payback period, environmental effects and social and cultural acceptability and demand.   Through incorporating a cost-benefit analysis, t he research results will provide a tool for community members and policy makers alike to appraise one of the adaptation options to global change affecting the supply of fossil fuels and overall energy security.

Advisor:  Philip Loring





 Christopher Behnke: M.S. , Natural Resource Management

Masters in Natural Resource Management and Geography. Natural Resource Management.

Entered Program : 2013
Title: Managing under Conditions of Rapid Change: Designing Adaptive Management of A Subsistence Harvest of Gull Eggs in Glacier Bay National Park
Advisor : Dr. David Valentine

Tara Callear:  MS Natural Resources Management

BA Environment, population and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2001; Millersville University, 1994-97.


Entered Program:  2011

Advisor:  Susan Todd


KattiJo Deeter: MNRM, Natural Resource Management

BS Therapeutic Recreation, University of Wisconsin La Crosse, 2008
Entered program: 2014
Advisor: Peter Fix
Thesis subject: Indigenous Tourism Development - a Road Map for Igiugig, Alaska

Marion Glaser: Masters, Natural Resources Management

Colorado College, BA, Biology, 2006


Thesis title: Calculating the carrying capacity of moose habitat on the Seward Ranger District, Chugach National Forest

Assessments of habitat quality are useful to agencies who have a responsibility to manage land and wildlife populations. To accomplish this, I am using remote sensing techniques to estimate cover of browse species, biomass estimates to determine food resources available in each cover class and nutritional analyses to determine the quality of browse species to moose. 

Entered Program:  2009

Advisor:  Don Spalinger


Becky Warren: PhD, Natural Resources Management

BS Political Science, Santa Clara University, 1998


Entered Program:  2008

Thesis Title:  “Responses to Rural Alaska Energy Crises: Opportunities to Build Cross-scale Resilience”

This investigation of community-level and cross-scale responses to energy issues in rural Alaska focuses on the capacity of these responses to build long-term resilience within rural Alaska communities.   The analysis will focus on a handful of projects and policies and the processes by which these are developed.  I seek a model for quantitative analysis of capacity building in rural Alaska.

Advisor:  Josh Greenberg





Maureen Bosire : PhD, Natural Resources and Sustainability

Title: Comparative analysis of water shortages and it's economic implications between a developed country and a developing country.(Case of Kenya versus US,Alaska)
The objective of  this research is to demonstrate the effectiveness of policy instruments by analyzing the role of the institutional framework in sustainable water management. The main aim will be to focus on the vulnerability assessment of the two countries to show how poverty trap is enhanced by water shortage and what possible measures can be taken to eliminate the poverty cycle.
Entered Program : 2013
Advisor: Joe Little

Tracie Curry:    PhD, Natural Resources and Sustainability


Entered Program: 2014

Advisors:  Gary Kofinas


Jim Magdanz, PhD. Natural Resources and Sustainability

Entered program: 2012


Co-advisors: Courtney Carothers (SFOS) & Joshua Greenberg (NRS)

Title:  Subsistence Economies in Alaska: A Network Approach

My research explores economies in small communities in rural Alaska, using social network and other data collected during retrospective household surveys to describe mixed cash-subsistence economies and to explore economic and social dimensions of cooperative production. I analyze empirical data on the flows of goods and services among households in the study communities to (1) describe, compare, and contrast the structures of cooperative relations, and (2) identify associations between predictor variables -- such as household income, household size, and household centrality -- and response variables -- such as household harvests and household food security status.


Allen C. Molina

Major Advisor: Dr. Joseph Little

Thesis description: Wildfire fuel mitigation and treatments effectiveness on both the local (private property owners, community groups) and larger (state and other public lands) spatial scales.


Alyssa Rodrigues: PhD, Natural Resources and Sustainability

BA Forest Management, Oregon State University, 2005; MS Forest Economics, Oregon State University 2008.

Entered Program: 2014



Advisor: Dr. Joseph Little




No students currently enrolled





Kelly Cates :  Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, M.S.


Entered program:  2014

Thesis Title: Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) as bioindicators for marine ecosystem health and management

Advisor:  Shannon Atkinson


Jenell Larsen :  M.S. Fisheries

School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences


Entered program:  2014

Thesis Title: Determining parameters influencing reproduction and pregnancy in Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) through long-term collections

Advisor:  Shannon Atkinson


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