About 40 percent of University of Alaska Anchorage students are nontraditional. Like many of them, Jonathon Taylor balances a full-time career while earning a degree. Here he explains how he went from an introvert who avoided campus activities to being voted student body president and placing at the international debate championship.
We don’t just study glaciers. We climb them.
The class met at 10 a.m., but there were no desks, no whiteboards, not even any walls. Temperature hovered around -10° F. Everyone was bundled up to his or her eyeballs and only identifiable by the cascading colors of their downy layered jackets. In front of them stood a glacier. Welcome to beginning ice climbing class.
Alex West, Pursuing M.S. in Civil Engineering, B.S. Civil Engineering ‘11
Staff engineer, PND Engineers
Because bears are bad dinner guests.
When anglers converge in salmon hot spots and discard hundreds of carcasses, it’s like ringing a dinner bell for bears. Alex West tackled this problem in engineering class and became the first UAA student to earn a patent. Her hydropowered fish grinder design disperses fish waste back into the ecosystem, reducing human-bear confrontations. Now that’s homegrown Alaskan innovation.
Some say talk is cheap. Not Kyle. He’s a language warrior, tenacious about revitalizing endangered Alaska Native languages. Although he’s Tlingit/Athabascan, he didn’t learn to speak Tlingit until he got to UAA. He has led talking circles on campus and tutored at Anchorage schools. He plans to earn a graduate degree in linguistics because he believes the cultural value of language is priceless.
Who knew the comfort of home could be 756 miles away?
Crystalyn Lemieux’s penchant for pitching in gave her courage when she left her hometown of Haines to launch her college career at UAA. She grew connections through UAA’s Native Student Services, nestled into a warm campus community and thrived in her First Alaskans Institute internship. “I began to feel more comfortable with myself… I created my home away from home.
Micah Chelimo, B.S. Mechanical Engineering ’14
Facilities Engineer, UAA Facilities & Campus Services
Kenya is 8,290 miles away from Alaska, yet it still sustains and drives this record-shattering runner. Honors include: 12-time All American Athlete; seven-time Academic All American; four-time National Champion; and two-time winner of UAA’s Bill MacKay Athlete of the Year award. Meet Micah Chelimo, UAA’s second-most-decorated athlete.
She didn’t steal the spotlight. She earned it.
Most Alaskans wouldn’t link the word opera with Unalakleet, a community of 700 located just at the mouth of its namesake river on Norton Sound. Maybe not–until now. UAA vocal performance student and coloratura soprano Kira Eckenweiler grew up in Unalakleet.
“She’s probably, hands down, the most gifted singer I have ever worked with,” said Mari Hahn, an associate professor of music at UAA. “She’s got depth, strength, courage.”
A rural Alaskan comfortable with subsistence fishing and even calling and shooting her own moose, Kira has grown into an artist. “I want to sing opera for the rest of my life,” she said. “I want to go all around the world, singing opera.”
Ariane Audett, Biological Sciences/Honors College
One day when you go to the doctor’s office, Ariane Audett may walk through the door. Hear how this #UAAmazing student overcame homelessness and freshman year adversity to become a successful biological sciences student and earn a place in the University of Alaska Anchorage’s honors college.
Philippe Amstislavski and his team spent a year experimenting with how to grow insulation from fungus. They found a recipe that worked, and have a patent pending. It could be a home-grown industry in Alaska, he thinks.
What’s special about UAA’s effort, Amstislavski says, is that the fungus used is local, grows fast and can thrive in cold temperatures. It is the essence of a renewable resource for Alaska. Completely nontoxic, it also bypasses all the environmental and health hazards of traditional insulation materials.
Another unusual aspect of the Alaska-grown insulation: It can be used dry (dead, after being baked in an oven) or while still alive. If it is still living, the insulation can “self-heal” by growing back together after being punctured or damaged.
Read more: “Growing insulation from nature.”
Carrie Lindow, M.B.A. ‘04, M.A. Project Management ‘10
President, ChemTrack Alaska Inc.
An Alaskan who knows her place…
and that place is the C-suite.
As president of ChemTrack Alaska Inc., Carrie Lindow leads a team that extracts hazardous materials from the environment. Carrie grew up in Alaska fishing, playing hockey and skiing. Her life’s work ensures her daughter can do the same. UAA helped Carrie find her place. Where’s yours?
On the cutting edge of concussion research, UAA engineers and undergrads are working to create a sophisticated mouthguard that would measure impacts to the skull and allow for on-the-spot diagnosis of injuries.
Born and raised in Anchorage, Maggie Dewhurst Miller attended UAA’s Honors College, went off to graduate school at the University of Minnesota and came home to become Alaska’s first Oncology Genetics Counselor.