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Students Awarded Funds for Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities

Congratulations are in order for nine students who will receive funds this year for special undergraduate research and creative activities here at UAS.

Those students are: Karissa Sleppy, Sofia Tenney, Melissa Williams, Ghert Abbott, Hope Borg, Cal Giordano, Heather Haven Evoy, Kate Laster, and Miguel Rohrbacher. Their projects will be recognized at a special celebration planned for April 16 on the Juneau Campus. Special thanks for the following faculty members for serving as mentors to these students: John Radzilowski (Ketchikan), Dan Monteith (Juneau), Christopher Donar (Ketchikan), Pedar Dalthorp (Juneau), Emily Wall (Juneau), Amanda Sesko (Juneau), Robin Walz (Juneau).

2013 URECA Awardees

Ghert Abbott
John Radzilowski
The Very Interesting Case of Jennie Lynch

The immediate goal of the Jennie Lynch research project is to access various legal and personal records currently archived in Anchorage and Juneau.  The information attained from these records will be used along with information available in Ketchikan to construct a research article laying out the persons, events, timeline, outcome, and social-historical importance of the lengthy Jennie Lynch case.  This article will be sent to Alaska History for peer review and publication, providing a foundation for expanded research on this topic.

Hope Borg
Dan Monteith
Rice Manoomin ("The Good Grain" or Wild)

My project will examine changes in the wild rice harvest and cultivation in Wisconsin in the twentieth century and how practices are changing today as a result of changes in the environment, public policy, and economic development. Most importantly I would like to research how the decline of wild rice affects the Chippewa people and what steps are being done today to bring the harvest and cultivation of wild rice back. This project will not only include how wild rice has influenced the Chippewa people’s culture, but that of the surrounding area. I will synthesize my research findings into papers for the Alaska Anthropology Association annual meetings and/or for the Central States Anthropology Association annual meetings and/or for the Central States Anthropology Association undergraduate research competition.lication, providing a foundation for expanded research on this topic.

Cal Giordano
Pedar Dalthorp
Timemachinist Mark 8 Model of 1888

The Timemachinist Mark 8 Model of 1888 will be a nautically themed, life size bronze bust. My inspiration for this project is my love of the sea and my life on the water. The styling will be based on science fiction, retro fantasy and the marine environment.  My motivation is to advance my knowledge of cast bronze sculpture and to teach others what I have learned.


Heather Haven Evoy
Dan Monteith
Laxsgiik; Yesterday to Tomorrow: cultural changes experienced by the Tsimshian eagle clan

This project focuses on the Tsimshian Eagle clan migration from British Columbia Canada to Southeast Alaska. Over the last century and a half many Tsimshians have moved to Metlakatla Alaska and experienced cultural changes that will be examined. The research methods employed will be elder and community member interviews; archival work, specifically with Viola Garfield's papers and field notes at the University of Washington; and work with contemporary anthropologists on my family genealogy.

Kate Laster
Pedar Dalthorp
An Exploration of Fine Art Techniques in the Production of Comic Books

The URECA Grant has provided me with an opportunity to step outside of my own comfort zone and learn new skills and techniques in the production of original comics. Attending the Stumptown Comics Fest will give me access to a larger community of visual storytellers. Not only will I meet artists I admire, but also peers working in the same medium of narrative art. The cumulative creative outcome will involve responding to these new ideas and techniques and incorporating them into the creation of my fourth comic.


Miguel Rohrbacher
Robin Walz and Dan Monteith
JuneauSt.Pius X mission school Ethnohistory project

An Ethnohistory of the Pius X mission school, which was a Catholic boarding school for Alaska native children that operated from the 1930s until the late 1950s.  This research is the result of interviews with students as well as church and civil documents.

Karissa Sleppy
Emily Wall
Poetry for the Busy Student: Creating and Publishing

With funding from the URECA grant, Karissa will attend AWP, the largest writer’s conference in North America. While there, she will go to several craft workshops to refine her writing skill and learn insightful publishing tips. Karissa will return to UAS with intent to produce a manuscript of poetry, as well as a quick-reference manual to advise fellow students on how to publish their own work.

Sofia Tenney
Amanda Sesko
The glass cliff revisited: Why stereotype endorsement predicts leadership selection

This research focuses on a unique form of discrimination termed the glass cliff, the process by which women are preferentially selected for leadership positions during times of crisis, while their male counterparts are more likely to achieve those positions during times of success. The study was designed to fill a gap in existing research by investigating whether these well-established findings are moderated by race and the endorsement of common stereotype content domains of warmth and competence. Ultimately, the purpose of this research is to contribute to our current understanding of workplace inequality by offering an explanation as to the conditions under which White women, Black men, and Black women are systematically underrepresented in organizational leadership positions. Depending on the outcome of the data, a discussion of the findings will be submitted in the form of a research article to a social psychology journal, with the end goal of publication and possible presentation at next year’s Annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conferences.

Melissa Williams
Christopher Donar
Microalgae in Aquatic Ecosystems of Southeast Alaska

The area around Southeast Alaska has numerous complex freshwater and marine ecosystems.  The biodiversity of many of these ecosystems have yet to be examined in great detail.   We are focusing on microalgae because these organisms are very informative about the waters quality conditions. The goal of this project is to produce a digital image database and a taxonomic reference collection of diatoms and other microalgae collected from lakes and aquatic ecosystems in the vicinity of Ketchikan Alaska.  Through this project we hope to develop a useful reference tool that can be used by many agencies in order to improve biomonitoring efforts and improve our understanding of these ecosystems.


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