Cheers to Madeleine!

Madeleine and Chancellor Pugh in the fireweed room.

Staff and faculty celebrated the retirement of Assistant to the Chancellor Madeleine Lefebvre in style in the Juneau campus Fireweed Room on Thursday, May 15th. A Parisian theme was orchestrated by Bobbi McCoy, Alison Krein, Dave Klein, and Maria Moya. Delicious and beautifully presented fruits, cheeses and of course, madeleine cookies were provided by Abby's Kitchen and Mansour Alzaharna,  the new Juneau campus Food Service Manager.


Connor Farewell

A gathering was held in honor Professor Environmental Science Cathy Connor during the Space Grant Symposium April 25. Connor is retiring after 30 years at UAS!

Dave Tallmon and Cathy Connor at her retirement party

Associate Professor of Biology (and San Francisco Giant’s fan!) Dave Tallmon and Cathy at her retirement party.

The School of Arts and Sciences presented Connor with a mining mallet

The School of Arts and Sciences presented Connor with a mining mallet in gratitude for her three decades of dedicated geologic field work with students.


New Hires & Retiring

New Hires

  • Heather Mitchell is our new Development Operations Specialist in the Chancellor’s Office.  She started on April 21st, 2014.
  • Brad Ewing is our new Institutional Effectiveness Manager  in the Provost’s Office.  He started on April 29th, 2014.


  • Eric Keller is resigning from the Provost’s Office on May 9th, 2014.
  • Cathy Connor is retiring from Arts & Sciences on May 10th, 2014.
  • Lindsey Doctorman is resigning from School of Management on May 11th, 2014.
  • Jeff Tappe is retiring from Facilities Services on May 16th, 2014.   
  • Madeleine Lefebvre is retiring from the Chancellor’s Office on May 16th, 2014.
  • Cathy Thomas is retiring from the Professional Education Center on May 31st, 2014.


Ketchikan Achievements

Faculty Achievements

On March 27, Bill Urquhart presented a formal research presentation in Portland, Oregon at the annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association. His presentation was titled "Educational Inequality and Early Childhood Ability in School." Also, one of Dr. Urquhart’s BLA students, Wesley Haslam, presented research at the same meeting that he completed in a Fall 2013 sociology independent study. His presentation was "Anti-Criminogenic Effects of Immigrant Neighborhoods."

Staff Achievements

Congratulations to Gail Klein for receiving the 2014 Red Apple Award from Delta Kappa Gamma. The Red Apple is awarded to outstanding folks in the community who contribute above and beyond to the success of students in our community.  Above all the wonderful work that she does for our students, Gail supports the Ketchikan School District by presenting several times a year at events like Junior night and the College Fair.  She also volunteers with organizations like Girls on the Run, Distinguished Young Women of Alaska, the Performing Arts Center and the Wellness Coalition. 


Commencement 2014 Sees Record Number of Graduates, including Alaska Native graduates

A record 57 Alaska Natives graduated from a UAS campus this year;  and history was made when the first four graduates of the Alaska Native Studies and Languages program walked across the stage at the May 4 commencement ceremony on the Juneau campus. They are Susie Lee Edwardson, Nae Brown, Roseanna Willard, and Konrad Frank.The program has taken off from just a few interested students to a full-fledged degree, with credit mostly due to an engaged student body who fought for the classes. Vice Chancellor Joe Nelson asked everyone in the audience at the Native graduation celebration to keep the group of Native alumni growing and recruit young Native people to attend UAS. He said the new on-campus residence hall in Juneau is aimed at attracting and keeping more students, including Native students.

Read the full Juneau Empire story.

Alaska Native Graduates preparing for the ceremony
2 HATS by Ryan Cortes


25 Years of Fieldwork in Southern Southeast Alaska

Priscilla Schulte addressing the crowdPriscilla Schulte speaking with people in attendance

On Tuesday, April 8, in front of a crowd of nearly 50 listeners, Priscilla Schulte, Martin Stanford and John Autry recalled their 25 years of anthropology fieldwork in southern Southeast Alaska. Over the years, students in Priscilla Schulte’s Anthropology 289 / 493 classes, accompanied by many native elders, have explored a variety of sites, including culturally modified trees, rock art, trappers’ cabins and village sites.


UAS Faculty Promote Minecraft in the Classroom

A graduate education course is showing teachers from across the state how to implement the game Minecraft in their classes. Course faculty say it could help engage students in science, technology, engineering and math.  Minecraft is a popular video game that allows you to build elaborate structures, gather resources and fly, among many other things. Some people call Minecraft virtual Legos. For engineering faculty Lori Sowa and her teaching team, Minecraft is also a way to get kids to think critically, collaborate and solve problems, which is why they’ve made Minecraft part of a graduate education course. Development of the course was supported by a pre-college grant from the Alaska Space Grant Program and a Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant from the Department of Education and Early Development.  The goal is to help teachers brush up on science, technology, engineering and math content.

See the full story with photos and video.


Alaska Native Languages Bill Passes Legislature

Supporters of a bill to make 20 Alaska Native languages official state languages organized a 15 hour sit-in protest at the Capitol on Sunday April 20. The group included included UAS students, staff and faculty. Their dedication paid off when the Alaska Senate passed the measure on an 18-2 vote. It had passed the Alaska House 38-0. It now heads to Governor Sean Parnell for his signature.  HB 216 would add the state’s indigenous languages to a statute created by a 1998 voter initiative, which made English the official language of Alaska. While the bill is largely symbolic, Alaska Native languages program head Lance Twitchell said it’s important to recognize all languages as equal.


Outdoor Studies Spring Icefield Expedition

The group of seven, led by instructors Forest Wagner and Sammy Becker were on the peaks Snowdrift, Emperor, Princess, and Stroller White. They landed on the Icefield by ski plane on April 11 and returned to Juneau April 16 via the Mendenhall Glacier and West Glacier Trail after approximately 20 miles of skiing and hiking.  The group found excellent powder, stable snow conditions, and amazing aurora borealis.  The mountaineering course runs annually and is part of a constellation of skills and leadership courses offered through the University of Alaska Southeast Outdoor Studies Program, a one and four year degree granting Humanities program of the UAS Juneau campus.

Students at camp
ODS students camped at the summit of Emperor peak in April during a trek on the Juneau Icefield. From left to right, Hannah Vigue, Anna Gutschi, Nick Svinicki, Angelo Squires, Sammy Becker, Forest Wagner.

Emperior camp

Emperor Camp, photo by Forest Wagner


Juneau Commencement 2014

Emily Rose King gave the student commencement speech to a packed audience. She spoke about not being afraid to fail.

“A college degree doesn’t ensure success. But I’m pretty sure that it means you know how to fail. It means that when presented with difficult readings, math problems, lovers, crazy people, you can figure out how to proceed. After we take off these really, really interesting hats, we’re going to have every opportunity to potentially succeed and fail and we should probably take them,” King said.

Read the full transcript of the KTOO radio news story.


Staff Service Honored at Staff Development Day

Mona receives hug from Michael CiriMichael Ciri, Interim Vice Chancellor and Director of IT hugs Information Systems Manager Mona Yarnall upon recipient of her 20 Year Service Award at Staff Development Day 2014


Staff Development Day, May 14, 2014

Provost Caulfield speaks at staff development day

Provost Rick Caulfield addresses colleagues at Staff Development Day from the Egan Library region-wide via video conference. Photo credit: Kimberly Szczatko


8th Grade Career Fair

May 22, 2014 marks the annual day where 8th graders invade the tech center to learn about all of the educational opportunities available to them at the Tech Center.  We cover Maritime, Power Technology, Marine Science/Oceanography, Nursing, Mining and Ship Building/Repair. Students learn about these careers and get “hands-on” experiences such as running the Marine Transportation simulator or panning for gold. It is a very informative event made possible through the partnership with Schoenbar Middle School. If you can help out, call Abby at 228-4537 or Diana at 228-4568.


Senior Art at First Friday

Works by Zachary Graham, Jordan Kendall, and Richard Carter will be on display May 2, with a reception from 4:30 – 7:00 at 116 Seward Street.  A collection of watercolor paintings, monoprints and drawings of Southeast Alaska landscapes by UAS senior Olivia Pitesa will be exhibited at the KTOO Stations building, 360 Egan Drive in Juneau on First Friday, May 2,  4:30-7:00 p.m. Pitesa will receive her BLA degree at the Juneau commencement ceremony Sunday, May 4.

2014 Faculty Excellence Award Winners

Excellence in Teaching – Kitty LaBounty, M.S., Assistant Professor of Biology

Kitty LaBountyAssistant Professor Kitty LaBounty from the UAS Sitka Campus has distinguished herself over the past year with excellence in teaching (both local and virtual) and in providing credit and non-credit learning opportunities for both undergraduates and community members.  She is a well-respected science educator with over 11 years of teaching experience at the undergraduate level. Over the past year Professor LaBounty has done an outstanding job working effectively with non-traditional, ethnically diverse, and under-prepared students. She has a wonderful gift for getting students of any age excited about science and the natural world.  One of her students states, “I so enjoyed taking this class with Professor LaBounty.  At first I was anxious, but she ALWAYS had an open door policy and I felt like she does her best to make herself available for questions.”

Excellence in Advising – Jeffrey Lofthus, PhD, Associate Professor of Education

Jeffrey LofthusDr. Jeffrey Lofthus is well connected and widely-known in Alaska’s educational circles as a faculty member and advisor devoted to student success. In his earlier faculty role with the UAS Educational Leadership Program, he advised many educational professionals seeking to become administrators.  In his current faculty role with the UAS Elementary Education program, he is well known for going above and beyond with student advising; devoting countless hours of work and energy in helping undergraduate education students.  “Outside of school,” says one student, “Dr. Lofthus has become one of my most valued mentors.  I know that I can approach him with any question, and he will most definitely find me an answer.”  This is a common sentiment shared by many of his students, who have obviously benefited greatly from his dedicated advising.

Excellence in Adjunct Instruction –Zachary Jones, Adjunct Instructor of History

Zach JonesAdjunct Professor Zachary Jones and Archivist with the Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau, has been teaching special topics history and anthropology courses at UAS since spring of 2010.  Students consistently give him highly positive comments for his Archives & Museums: Theory & Practice course and internship program at UAS.  Said one student, “Professor Jones really is one of the kindest and most knowledgeable instructors I have had at UAS.  His knowledge as a Southeast Alaska historian greatly added to the reading list, which was well selected.  I would take his courses again and again.” Professor Jones’ role as an adjunct faculty member is a very positive expression of ongoing collaboration between UAS and Sealaska Heritage Institute, which focuses on indigenous languages, arts, and cultures of Southeast Alaska.

Excellence in Research – Amanda Sesko, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Amanda SeskoSince arriving at UAS in the fall of 2012, Dr. Amanda Sesko has been one of the most productive faculty members in the School of Arts and Sciences in conducting research and publishing her results. This year alone she has published two articles in The Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology.  As an experimentally-oriented social psychologist, Dr. Sesko has created her own research lab that provides opportunities for undergraduate students to gain hands on experience conducting interviews.  A colleague observes that, “Dr. Sesko works hard not only on her own research, but she also works hard to inspire and instruct students toward developing their own research interests.” Dr. Sesko is also actively involved in the UAS Faculty Senate where she is an effective advocate for promoting faculty research and creative expression.

Excellence in Service – Michael Stekoll, PhD, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Michael StekollDr. Mike Stekoll is a veteran faculty member whose dedication to excellence and to UAS as an institution is unquestioned. With over 35 years of university service, he has been an energetic leader and a fountain of knowledge for young faculty who need to learn the inner workings of UAS.  He served as Faculty Senate President and is recognized as a faculty leader throughout Alaska. He is known for his ability to dissect issues efficiently and correctly—qualities he has repeatedly put to good use on UAS’ behalf. In his academic discipline, Dr. Stekoll regularly responds to inquiries from colleagues across Alaska and around the world about the Southeast Alaska marine environment—especially sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of algae and seaweeds and his work in the areas of aquaculture and marine pollution. Dr. Stekoll’s career demonstrates the value of faculty service not only to the university but to the broader communities we serve.


Radzilowski on the Roaring Twenties

John Radzilowski presented a paper at the conference “The Roaring 20s in Poland: History, Literature, Culture and the Arts,” sponsored by the University of Illinois, Chicago on April 7-8.  His paper was titled “Orphans of the ‘New Poland’: Polish Americans, the Second Republic, and the Creation of a Diasporic Identity, 1919–1929,” and addressed how the negative experiences re-emigration to Europe after World War I shaped a new ethnic identity among first and second generation Polish immigrants.

Straley Article

Jan Straley is the lead author on a forthcoming publication in Endangered Species Research entitled Depredating sperm whales in the Gulf of Alaska: local habitat use and long distance movements across putative population boundaries. The article can be viewed online at

Truck Donated to Technical Education Center

Donated truck by Hecia/Greens Creek

Hecla/Greens Creek donated this Western Star truck use by the UAS Power Technology program in Juneau. "This new truck donated by Hecla/Greens Creek will give our students in the Power Technology Program hands on experience with a piece of equipment that is currently used at the Hecla/Greens Creek mine site on Admiralty Island. The impact of this new learning tool will be seen in our HD Brakes, Suspension, Drive Trains and Engine classes." -Tom Dolan, Diesel Power Technology


UAS Veterans Directory Underway and Seeking Submissions

UAS has more than 200 students who are attending as either veterans or dependents of veterans at all three campuses, using their educational benefits to complete their college degree. To help support our students, we’d like to create a directory of our staff and faculty who are also veterans so our students can have an additional point of contact while attending UAS.  If you could please email Deborah Rydman, who is coordinating this effort, a picture of yourself, a short bio that would include where you were stationed, when you served, and what branch of the military you served in, she will compile it and post on the veteran’s webpage, which is currently under construction. Thank you in advance for your help with this effort, and thank you for your service to our country.

2014 URECA Symposium

Jessica Hambleton presents her project.

Jessica Hambleton (Mentor:  Heidi Pearson) presents her project: "Blood lead levels in Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in Southeast Alaska by gender and capture location" at this year's Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Symposium, April 16 in the Glacier View Room. Jessica was one of several undergraduates to present their research.