Paula Williams J.D., Ph.D.
On January 5, 2009 I was privileged to become the first Sustainability Director at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. I completed my Interdisciplinary Ph.D. through the University of Alaska Fairbanks and graduated in May of 2009. My academic work has focused on the interaction between humans and their environment, specifically on the influences on human perception of change, and on our willingness to adapt. This continues to be my passion, as well as finding ways to motivate people to increase adaptive capacity.
My dissertation is titled “The Role of Social Paradigm in Human Perception and Response to Environmental Change.” My research led naturally to working as Sustainability Director here at UAA because it examines the interactions between the biophysical environment and human social systems, which is also the focus of sustainability.
Although the degree was issued by Fairbanks, I completed my course work and research here at UAA. The last year and a half of work on my dissertation was supported by a fellowship provided by the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) through the National Science Foundation. Prior to receiving the fellowship, I worked as a Research Associate for UAA’s Resilience and Adaptive Management (RAM) Group for about two years. Working for the RAM Group allowed me to participate in research investigating the perceptions that people living in small communities in the Norton Sound area have of their subsistence resources and water. Additionally, I focused on mining research while working with the RAM Group.
In a prior life, I was an attorney in Anchorage for about 20 years. During my last eight years as an attorney I worked for state and municipal agencies that enforce the laws prohibiting discrimination.
I joined the Office of Sustainability in the Summer of 2013 and am very excited about the opportunity to carry my belief and effort in protecting the environment through reducing, reusing, and conserving, at work. I am look forward to supporting this purpose everyday on campus!
Recycle Crew Director
I became a part of the recycling crew in the Summer of 2013 and director this fall. I hope to see the recycling effort continue to grow for both our school and community and I am thrilled to be a part of this effort. Thanks to everyone who does their best to reduce, reuse, and recycle!
Recycle Crew Member
Recycle Crew Member