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hiking in old growth forest

I was never a typical college student.  After high school I joined the military and once I completed my enlistment I decided to give college a try.  With Northern Exposure reruns running through my mind, I was convinced Alaska was the place for me.  However, my start was not the one of happy sitcoms – a lot of my classes did not hold my attention and I dreamed of my classes ending when I could hike out into the steep coastal mountains.  This all changed the semester I began to take courses for my biology major – Animal Physiology, Invertebrate Zoology, and Ichthyology, these are the classes I had been waiting to take.  After feeling lost and uninterested, here was my chance to study things I had actually wanted to know! Spending the day in the inter-tidal, ankle-deep in invertebrates was the chance to explore and learn without being tied to a desk.  My studies at UAS culminated with a semester long study of Spot Shrimp for my marine physiology course.  With the help of my professor (an accomplished research scientist), I researched a relevant question pertaining to Spot Shrimp molting physiology, developed a hypothesis and tested that hypothesis using techniques and technologies that are currently being used in this field. 

Not only did the biology courses attract me, but they helped spur an interest in other subjects and helped me gain opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.  It is now my third summer as a chemistry laboratory technician where I spend my days processing samples that have a direct effect on the conservation and management of Alaska’s natural resources. My biology courses at UAS have taught me that my education can be as interesting as I want to make it - I chose to take part in classes that challenged my mind inside and outside of the classroom with professors who imparted knowledge that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. 

Josh Fillible

UPDATE: Josh earned a Doctorate from the University of Montana Skaggs School of Pharmacy in 2012 and now works at Bartlett hospital in Juneau. . 

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