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Student Speaker “epitomizes why UAS exists”

Katie Bausler

Jasper Nelson already had them laughing and clapping as he took the stage.

Jasper Nelson already had them laughing and clapping as he took the stage.

The 2016 Juneau campus student commencement speaker represents the best of UAS. Jasper Nelson is on the fast track to return to his home town as a biology teacher. He graduated with his Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) with an endorsement in Biology. In 2015, Jasper earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at UAS. Of Tsimshian heritage, Jasper was born in Ketchikan and grew up in Craig, on Prince of Wales Island. For his MAT student teaching experience, Jasper taught chemistry and biology to Thunder Mountain High School students. Alaska Native educator Angie Lunda, who nominated Jasper as student speaker, noted that “through his deep knowledge of Southeast Alaska and his content area, his use of humor in his lessons, and his genuine caring for all students, Jasper and his mentor teacher built an engaging and rigorous biology program for the students in their TMHS class of 2016.” Jasper earned a big laugh from the commencement audience when he said, “I’m no longer that chubby kid with the backpack full of zoo books. I’m that chubby teacher with a backpack full of science journals.” Said Chancellor Rick Caulfield, “Jasper Nelson epitomizes why UAS exists—to enable young Alaskans of diverse cultural backgrounds to fulfill their dreams and ambitions. His hope is to return to Craig next year as a certified teacher.”


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