May 2009

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This year's Commencement was truly memorable full of inspiring moments and excitement. Thanks to everyone who helped plan and achieve a successful event that clearly celebrated UAA's mission: helping students reach their dreams and goals.

Just a few days after Commencement I had hip replacement surgery. I am steadily progressing and appreciate the good wishes and thoughts you've sent. I was sorry to miss UAA Development Day on May 13. According to those who did attend, the day was a great success that included time to "Learn to Serve" as well as time to learn a variety of other fun and interesting things from colleagues. We are grateful to UAA Regent Fuller Cowell for kicking off the day with his personal story of service -- how being on both the giving end and receiving end of service have meant so much to him. Thank you to all of you who worked so hard to make this day one of campus unity and celebration!

Export Awards winners UAA students continue to receive accolades for their scholastic performance. This month Jacquelynn Engebretson, Melanie Parrett, Erick Romig, and Rosalyn Thompson were awarded the 2009 Export Council of Alaska Award. Each of these students is pursuing a degree in International Studies and plans to bring the skills they learn back to Alaska. The scholarship is $1,500. Congratulations!

Chris Turletes bikes to work Although there have been many beautiful days in May, the citywide "Bike to Work" day was not among them. According to our Sustainability Director Paula Williams, 176 people from UAA signed up to bike to work, including teams from ISER, UAA Justice Center, GSS, School of Nursing, Marine Advisors and Human Development. Many made it to work looking like Chris Turletes in the photo below, and had to hang up clothes to dry before biking home. I hope that you continue to bike to work this summer and help us reduce our carbon footprint. This is just one more way we can work together to be a leader in sustainability!

Q: What is UAA doing to promote informed discussion about climate change in classrooms?
A: Environmental and Natural Resources Institute (ENRI) and UAA are part of a NASA funded project that aims to develop a uniform undergraduate course/curriculum in climate change. Jeff Welker will be working with Faculty Fellows including Lilian Alessa and Doug Causey on NASA's Global Climate Change Education Program: "Creation and Dissemination of an Interdisciplinary Undergraduate General Education Course on Climate Change."

Q: Why is Annie Route traveling up to Fairbanks for the Board of Regents' meeting in June?
A: To receive the UAA Staff Make Students Count Award for 2009 from President Mark Hamilton. The award recognizes Annie's many years of service to students. For 23 years Annie has worked with UAA students in a variety of capacities including her current position as Director of Student Life and Leadership. The award comes with a check for $1,000 and two airline vouchers. Congratulations Annie, and thank you!

Q: How is UAA providing a forum for international discourse?
A: This week UAA hosts the International Society for Shamanistic Research's (ISSR) 9th biennial congress at the UAA Commons. This is the first meeting in North American of ISSR which includes participants from around the world including Japan, China, Taiwan, Mongolia, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Finland, Germany, Italy, Greece, and Sweden. ISSR provides a forum for shamanistic research from interrelated cultural, medical, linguistic, and archaeological perspectives. Native Alaskans as well as UAA are participating in the conference, which will also feature interaction with the ongoing cultural, educational, and research activities of the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Among the Alaska Native participants will be George Charles, Bob Sam, Kathleen Graves, and Dr. Rita Blumenstein (Yu'pik Tribal Healer).

Q: What have our Journalism and Public Communications students been doing to help high school students learn about the perils of drinking and driving?
A: UAA Professor red bradley (who legally changed his name to lower case) and his students assisted Chugiak High School students in the filming of the "Every 15 Minutes 2009" project. The project is a mock drunk driving collision designed to show students the very real consequences of drinking and driving. JPC students put together a five minute DVD that was shown to the entire student body of 1,300 and also worked on a longer 20-minute DVD including the events of the entire 2-day project.

Q: What is UAA doing to recognize some of Alaska's best performing organizations?
A: Alaska Performance Excellence (APEX), an organization attached to the UAA College of Business and Public Policy through the Alaska Small Business Development Center announced its first Excellence Award recipients, Chugach School District and Southcentral Foundation. APEX is a new program dedicated to recognizing Alaska organizations that demonstrate world class performance so that they may become an example to other public sector organizations throughout the state.

Did you know?

  • UAA's Track & Field placed 14th at the 2009 NCAA Div. II Men's and Women's Track and Field Championship -- our highest showing ever.
  • UAA had five All-American Honors at the championship including:
    • Marko Cheseto with a record-setting two All-American Honors (5,000m and 10,000m)
    • David Kiplagat (3,000m steeple)
    • Shaun Ward (4000m hurdles)
    • David Registe (long jump)
  • Track & Field Coach Michael Friess received the men's West Region Coach of the Year award for 2009.

As always, thank you for all you do to make UAA a great university!


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