This page of alumni updates was compiled by Joey Besl of the UAA Office of Alumni Relations. Please share your moments of pride and achievement via the link at the bottom of this page, so we can note your success in an upcoming issue.

Class of 1975

Steve Wyatt, B.A. Economics, went on to earn a Ph.D. From University of Texas at Dallas. He recently retired from a long career in higher education, most recently serving as professor and chair of the finance department at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He writes, “After 42 years as a college professor I retired and now am living in Kirkland, Washington on Lake Washington. Please feel free to contact me as I now have time as I never have had it before and I am open to helping all may who know me.”

Class of 1990

Palmer is on the national map for local food, thanks to Jan Newman, M.A.T. Teaching. As founder of Grow Palmer, she’s led the community charge to build a public garden, where all town residents can harvest edible produce straight from volunteer-built garden boxes. The initiative landed Palmer on the EPA’s Local Food, Local Places list for 2016, which provides technical assistance to support a sustainable food system and trail network in the downtown area and foster coordination among organizations working on Palmer’s local food economy. Learn more and get involved at

Class of 1993

The State of Alaska Department of Education & Early Development recently recognized Francie Roberts, B.Ed. Elementary Education, as the Alternate Teacher of the Year for 2016. Francie, who also holds a master’s degree from Montana State University, has taught mathematics at Homer High School for 22 years.

the winner

Nonpartisan coalition Our Alaska looks to engage rising Alaskans in the state’s future (and have a little fun with the process, too). Several alumni appeared in the group’s debut video this January, including Harry Need, M.P.A. ’13, Drew Cason, B.A. ’13 and B.S. ’13, and Katherine Jernstrom, M.P.A. ’14. More information is available at

Class of 2011

Cordelia Qiġnaaq Kellie, B.A. English, interned this year for Sen. Donnie Olson (Golovin). She previously served on Shell’s external relations team working to limit effects on subsistence communities across Alaska. Originally from Wainwright, she continues to write stories and poetry on indigenous issues. You can find her writing (and contribute your own) on her online forum,

Class of 2013

Ian Kirkpatrick, B.A. Theatre, is currently enrolled at the University of Tampa, where he expects to earn an M.F.A. in creative writing this spring. He is working on his first full-length manuscript and is considering Ph.D. programs in creative writing for the fall.


Jennifer Lorenz, B.A. Elementary Education, recently started a teaching position through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET), an educational initiative sponsored by the Japanese government. Currently, she lives in the southern city of Oita, where she works as an assistant English language teacher.

Class of 2013

Rachel Wintz, B.A. Sociology, was recognized in Glamour magazine’s 2015 Women of the Year issue for her work with Girls on the Run. The article, celebrating one women from every state, selected Rachel for her efforts expanding the national girls empowerment program into communities across Alaska. Read more about Rachel on page XX.

Class of 2013

Ezra Lockhart, A.A.S. Human Services, recently graduated with a Master of Health Science degree from the University of Sydney. He writes, “My aim is to affect disability policy for individuals living with developmental disabilities.” Ezra, the 2013 Man of Excellence from UAA’s AHAINA multicultural center, is board certified in Alaska as a chemical dependency counselor and internationally as an autism specialist. He plans to pursue doctoral work in the fall.

Class of 2013

John Smart, B.B.A. Management Information Systems ‘13, writes “I started my own business, using the degree I earned at UAA, and I moved to Florida!” He recently launched a web design and repair company, Smart’s Web Services, out of North Point, Fla.

Class of 2015

Sean Carpenter, B.A. Journalism and Communication, started as the marketing manager for Alaska Public Media this February. Sean previously served as a student intern for the statewide multimedia news service. He is currently pursuing an M.B.A. through Western Governor’s University.


Submit a class note

Did you get a new job? A promotion? Did you join the service or get deployed overseas? On the home front, have you celebrated a wedding or the addition of a new member to your clan? Your UAA family wants to know.

Please submit your news online here.

Any questions? Give UAA Alumni Relations a call at (907) 786-1942 or email

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