Celebrating Nearly Three Decades

Chancellor John Pugh’s 28 years at UAS, 16 as Chancellor, were celebrated at staff and community parties May 13 and 30 respectively. Both events were held in the Mourant Lakeside Grill on the Juneau campus and well catered by UAS Food Service Manager Mansour Alzaharna and crew.

Glasses were raised and toasts were made to Pugh’s legacy dating back to 1987. Pugh was named Chancellor Emeritus at the Commencement ceremony May 3 on the Juneau campus. The University of Alaska Board of Regents unanimously approved naming the new UAS freshman residence hall the JOHN R. PUGH RESIDENCE HALL at their June 2015 meeting. The action enjoyed widespread support from community, faculty, staff and students. The Board is planning a naming ceremony in September 2015.

In case you missed it, the video tribute to Chancellor John Pugh is posted on YouTube.

Chancellor Pugh, adorned by a lei with staff compliments written on each flower

Chancellor Pugh, adorned by a lei with staff compliments written on each flower, receives a parting gift from Staff Council in commemoration of his 28 years of service at UAS.

Vice Chancellor of Administration Michael Ciri hugs Chancellor Pugh

Vice Chancellor of Administration Michael Ciri hugs Chancellor Pugh after making heart felt remarks at a gathering closing Staff Development Day, May 13, 2015.

Chancellor Rick Caulfield, Annie Caulfield, First Lady Donna Walker, Governor Bill Walker, Margaret Pugh, Chancellor Emeritus John Pugh

Governor Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott both made remarks at John Pugh’s retirement party, Saturday, May 30, 2015 in the Mourant Lakeside Grill. L-R Incoming Chancellor Rick Caulfield, Annie Caulfield, First Lady Donna Walker, Governor Bill Walker, Margaret Pugh, Chancellor Emeritus John Pugh.

John and Margaret Pugh enjoy a video tribute

John and Margaret Pugh enjoy a video tribute put together by Mark Rainery and Katie Bausler in the Public Relations and Marketing office.


Denali Capstone 2015

A group of 12 University of Alaska Southeast Outdoor Studies students and professors attempted Denali’s West Buttress in May of 2015. The climb was a final graduation requirement from the Outdoor Skills and Leadership program, a 10-month and bachelor level degree offered from the Humanities Department at UAS. The expedition descended from an Advanced Base Camp at the Genet Basin without summiting, a decision prompted by sixteen days of high winds and challenging conditions on the upper mountain. The group reached a high point of 17,000 feet on the iconic West Buttress. For more information about the group’s journey and photos, please see the UAS Outdoor Studies Program Facebook page and “Like” it!

ODS Capstone Climbing Party

Lower row, left to right: Ryan Cortes, Rita Hartinger, Anitra Winkler, Naomi Beck-Goodell, Forest Wagner

Top row, left to right: Nick Svinicki, Emma Lyddan, Tedmund Hanrahan, Kevin Krein, Nick Fisher, J David Miller, Angelo Squires

Genet Basin overlooking Mt. Foraker

From the Genet Basin, 14,200 feet, Denali. View looking south over lenticular clouds on Mt. Foraker.


Staff member attends leadership conference in Washington D.C.

I.T. Services Administrative Generalist Kayti Coonjohn attended a Women’s leadership conference in Washington D.C. through a group called PLEN (Public Leadership Education Network) May 18–22, 2015. “PLEN was an incredible experience that illustrated just how powerful women can be in national and international public policy development,” said Coonjohn.

“I was offered premiere leadership experience and real conversations with women who make and influence global public policy, humanitarian issues, citizens’ rights, international security and development—every day! It was one of the most challenging, yet best weeks of my life.”

Kayti in front of the Washington Monument

Kayti Coonjohn at the National Monument, May 2015


Assessing the Impact of Whale Watch Vessels on Whales in the Juneau Area

UAS is conducting a study this summer to assess if and how whale watch vessels impact whale movement and behavior in the Juneau area. In recent years, the Juneau whale watch industry has burgeoned yet the potential impacts of this increased vessel pressure on whales are unknown. This is the first year in what is hoped to be a long-term study to monitor the short- and long-term effects of whale watching on whales. While humpback whales are the primary focus, killer whales will also be observed whenever possible. This project complements NOAA’s recently initiated WhaleSENSE program in Juneau. The broad goal of this project is to help to ensure the sustainability of the whale watch industry.

Whales and vessels will be tracked using a theodolite or surveyor’s instrument from a high vantage point. A theodolite measures vertical and horizontal angles to the objects of interest. By integrating these angles with the locations of known reference points, the Pythagorean theorem can be used to obtain the precise location of whales and vessels. The bluffs behind the NOAA Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute overlook Auke Bay, Favorite Channel, and south Shelter Island, providing a prime location for viewing whale-vessel interactions. By tracking the location and behavior of whales and vessels, we can start to understand if/how whale movement and behavior changes according to number, distance, size, and speed of vessels. We are using a before-during-after sampling design to track changes to whale movement and behavior before the arrival of whale watch vessels, throughout the duration of whale viewing, and after the departure of whale watch vessels.

This project is headed by Heidi Pearson, Assistant Professor of Marine Biology at UAS. The field team consists of a master’s student from the University of Southern Denmark and several UAS Marine Biology undergraduates.

Whale watching boat


Environmental Science News

UAS environmental science student Jamie Pierce worked with UAS ENVS faculty Eran Hood and Jason Amundson to design and install an automated monitoring system for the Suicide Basin outburst flood on the Mendenhall Glacier. The system transmits real time data on water levels in Suicide Basin, which allows for early warning in the case of an outburst flood event and enhances flood modeling associated with the event.

Jamie Pierce rappels down into Suicide Basin

Jamie Pierce installing a sensor in Suicide Basin.

Jason Fellman and Eran Hood published a new article on how glacier-derived nutrients impact downstream food webs: Fellman, J., E. Hood, P. Raymond, J. Hudson, M. Bozeman, and M. Arimitsu (2015) Evidence for the assimilation of glacier organic carbon in a proglacial stream food web. Limnology and Oceanography, DOI: 10.1002/lno.10088

A number of UAS faculty contributed to a new assessment of the impacts of climate change on the North American coastal temperate rainforest: Shanley, C.S., S. Pyare, M.I. Goldstein, P. Alaback, D. Albert, C. Beier, T. Brinkman, R.T. Edwards, E. Hood, A. MacKinnon, M. McPhee, T. Patterson, L. Suring, D. Tallmon, and M. Wipfli (2015) Climate change implications in the northern coastal temperate rainforest of North America. Climatic Change. doi:10.1007/s10584-015-1355-9


UAS Disability Services Awarded Grant

UAS Disability Services was awarded a $9,900 Small Projects Grant for assistive technology from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority.  This will enable DS to purchase additional equipment (recording smart pens, voice to text software, etc) to be used by students to accommodate and enhance their learning and student success.

UAS Juneau Geomorphology Students Traveled to Sitka for Landscape Studies

Alejandro Bothelo (GEOG), Ashley Bruce (ENVS), Jenna Seyjagat-Hallenbeck (MAR BIOL), Christin Khalsa (ENVS), Jerry Stephens (ENVS and MATH), and Dennis Williams (GEOG) traveled to Sitka April 17-19, 2015 to investigate some interesting landscape on western Baranof Island.

Guided by UAS Natural Sciences faculty Cathy Connor, Kitty LaBounty, and Matt Goff, and ADF&G Wildlife Researcher Rod Flynn, the students hiked up the Starrigavan Valley to gain a better understanding of the scope, geologic setting, soil types, post-slide hydrology, and disruption to local forest ecology by a massive, 100 acre, landslide that occurred in September 2014.

Evidence of 1960s-1970s logging and 21st century, USFS restoration projects, were observed, as well the landslide water erosion into a meter thick layer of Mount Edgecumbe volcanic ash that had exploded from Kruzof Island. Fractured Chugach Terrane Cretaceous marine rocks at the landslide’s south-facing headwall initially failed, triggering the slide. The fluidized rocks, volcanic ash, soil, and cedar logs were swept downslope and then banked west to descend the Starrigavan Valley, significantly eroding the valley floor in a very short time period. The devastation was awe-inspiring.

Student travel, lodging, and ground transportation was supported by a generous grant from the Mike Blackwell Fund and the hospitality of UAS Sitka. A geology interview by Matt Goff of Cathy Connor was later aired on Raven Radio.

Landslide devastation

Starrigavan Landslide with UAS Sitka Math faculty Matt Goff, standing on Mt. Edgecumbe ash, for scale

UAS Students and Professor Connor

Jerry Stephens, Prof Kitty LaBounty, Jenna Seyjagat Hallenbeck, Dennis Williams, Alex Bothelho, Ashley Bruce, Prof Cathy Connor, and Christin Khalsa at the northern end of the Sitka road system.


It’s Weeding Season in the Stacks

This spring Nina Chordas (English) and Katy Spangler (Education) have helped library faculty and staff review thousands of children's books—to highlight hidden gems and make room on the shelves.

Thousands of titles were withdrawn from the outdated juvenile fiction collection (originally from the Alaska State Library and from the now closed Alyeska Correspondence School). After the intensive review, students from the School of Education and new Friends of the Egan Library were invited to select items they wanted from the weeded books. The non-fiction collection is still under review for outdated and unused items.

In addition to this review, Professor Katy Spangler donated 82 new books to Children's Alaskana, a special collection including over 1300 books selected and donated by Professor Spangler. The books are used in the classroom yearly for Spangler's course Alaska Literature for Young People, and are available for checkout. The Egan Library has a fund to purchase new children’s books for decades to come, the Children’s Alaskana Collection Fund (21134)—consider a contribution today.

Stacks of books pruned from the library stacks.


Helping UAS Students Count Fish Helps Alaska

Thanks to $10,000 in private funding by Alaska Glacier Seafoods and the UAS Bald Eagle Ecology fund in the UA Foundation, two UAS Science students have the opportunity to conduct their own supervised research while helping to provide the necessary man-power to count fish this summer for NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

The Auke Bay Laboratories’ Auke Creek Station has been an operating a two-way fish weir since 1970, providing 40+ continuous years of data collection with complete counts of all up-and down-stream migrants of seven species of salmon and trout. The long time series of observations on the seven anadromous fish species made at the Auke Creek Station’s counting weir is not available elsewhere in Alaska. This information has been used by AK Department of Fish & Game to guide harvest management decisions on commercial and recreational fisheries in the region.


JAMM, UAS, and Juneau Symphony Announce Juneau's New String Quartet-in-Residence

Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM), the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), and the Juneau Symphony are proud to launch a new collaboration by selecting four scholarship recipients who will help teach local student musicians while pursuing a Master of Arts in Secondary Teaching (MAT) at UAS with certification in K-12 Music.

This unique collaboration will result in not only a master’s degree and teaching certificate for the scholarship recipients; it will also serve our community by providing teaching artists for the JAMM program and quality performers for the Juneau Symphony.

The members of the new string quartet-in-residence are Lindsay Clark (violin), Heidi O’Connor-Brook (violin), Sophia Butler (viola), and Ruth Hogle (cello). The quartet will conduct teaching internships at JAMM school sites and music classrooms within the Juneau School District and perform with the Juneau Symphony. Each member will receive a $10,000 scholarship for their studies at UAS, funded by JAMM and the Juneau Symphony. They are scheduled to arrive on July 25th and will spend one year in Juneau as they complete their master’s degrees.

JAMM is an El Sistema-inspired program that uses the power of music and ensemble to help children reach their fullest potential as global citizens and contributing members of their community. JAMM now serves 500 students in three elementary schools in the Juneau School District.

The MAT Certification Program in K-12 Music at UAS prepares students for multi-faceted roles in today’s society: as citizens, artists, teachers, and scholars. These UAS students will graduate with a degree that will fully equip them to teach music in K-12 Alaskan Schools and many states in the lower forty eight.

The Juneau Symphony will provide performance opportunities through its regular concerts as well as coaching opportunities within the Juneau Student Symphony.

The quartet will begin this summer with the two week intensive Basic Arts Institute where participants will learn how to apply brain research into classroom practice and experience how the visual, performing, media and cultural arts can increase student engagement and achievement. They will also be playing on a whale watching cruise over Labor Day weekend.

Meet the Quartet in Residence

Lindsay ClarkLindsay Clark (violin): Lindsay was born and raised in Juneau and has participated with many musical groups locally and in Salem, Oregon, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Willamette University. In addition to classical music, Lindsay performed in many bluegrass, old time, and free improvisational bands. She hopes to share her love for the diversity of the violin to students and peers. Lindsay enjoys swimming, traveling, and everything the great outdoors of Juneau have to offer.

Heidi O'ConnorHeidi O'Connor-Brook (violin): As a musician and former collegiate athlete, Heidi is passionate about the importance of arts, culture and healthy living in the lives of children and youth. Graduating from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, Heidi grew up in the rural Yukon Territory near Whitehorse. Heidi spent four years as a private instructor for the Young Native Fiddlers and has taught Suzuki violin and traditional fiddling for community programs and public schools in Whitehorse.

Sophia ButlerSophia Butler (viola): With a Bachelor of Arts in Music from St. Olaf College, Sophia is classically trained, but also has a love for folk music and ethnomusicology. Having taught private lessons to a range of ages, Sophia is motivated by her students' diverse ways of learning and enjoyment of playing their instrument. Having also studied peace and conflict in Northern Ireland, Sophia is interested making music in order to build stronger and more peaceful relationships and communities.

Ruth HogleRuth Hogle (cello): With a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from DePaul University, Ruth has dedicated her time to teaching cello with various El Sistema programs in Chicago, including The People's Music School and Ravinia's Reach, Teach, Play program. She has also spent her past two summers teaching cello with a nonprofit called VivaPeru and the El Sistema program, Arpegio Peru in Trujillo, Peru. While teaching is her main passion, Ruth has also greatly enjoyed performing chamber music and playing in DePauls' Chamber and Symphony Orchestras.


UAS 4th of July 2015

This year’s theme for the UAS Delegation in the Juneau 4th of July parade will be, “Where Will UAS Take You?” Participants will get a cool T-shirt and the privilege of handing out UAS tattoos, luggage tags, and sunglasses to adoring spectators. School of Management faculty Kathy Di Lorenzo will be driving her cool jeep, which will hold a mile post pole with signs to all the places a UAS education can take you, from study abroad, to local internships, to a career. All members of the UAS community, staff, faculty, and students are invited to join the fun. For more information or to sign up, please contact Katie Bausler at 796-6530 or


Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness

Native Voices logo

A new traveling exhibition, Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness, which examines concepts of health and medicine among contemporary American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people will open at the UAS Egan Library on September 11, 2015 with an Opening Ceremony featuring local presenters TBD (contact Jonas Lamb at the Egan Library if you are interested in helping plan this event). The traveling exhibition, produced by the National Library of Medicine, explores the connection between wellness, illness, and cultural life through a combination of interviews with Native people, artwork, objects, and interactive media. The exhibition will be open to the public at the Egan Library on the University of Alaska Southeast, Auke Lake Campus from September 11-December 13, 2015. The exhibition will also visit 2 other Juneau locations this summer (Alaska State Library & Historical Collections through June 26th, Walter Soboleff Center early July through late August).

The National Library of Medicine has a history of working with Native communities as part of the Library’s commitment to make health information resources accessible to people no matter where they live or work. The Native Voices exhibition concept grew out of meetings with Native leaders in Alaska, Hawai`i and the Lower 48.

“This exhibition honors the Native tradition of oral history and establishes a unique collection of information,” says Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, director of the National Library of Medicine. “We hope visitors will find Native Voices both educational and inspirational, and we hope Native people will view it with pride.”

Additional Info

The traveling exhibition features interviews and works from Native people living on reservations, in tribal villages, and in cities. Topics include: Native views of land, food, community, earth/nature, and spirituality as they relate to Native health; the relationship between traditional healing and Western medicine in Native communities; economic and cultural issues that affect the health of Native communities; efforts by Native communities to improve health conditions; and the role of Native Americans in military service and healing support for returning Native veterans.

To make the Native Voices information accessible to people even if they can’t come to the UAS Egan Library, there is an online version of the exhibition on the National Library of Medicine website.


Arts and Sciences Paper and Publication News

Associate Professor of Anthropology Dan Monteith had a paper accepted for presentation at the Northwest Anthropology Association meetings, Eugene, Oregon, March 25-28, 2015. He presented a paper entitled: The Emergence of the Commercial Dive Fishery for Sea Cucumbers and Its Impact on Individuals, Communities and the Ecology.

Jason Fellman and Eran Hood co-authored two articles:

Hood, E., Battin, T.J., Fellman, J., S. O’Neel, & Spencer, R.G.M. (2015). Storage and release of organic carbon from glaciers and ice sheets. Nature Geoscience 8, 91-96. doi:10.1038/ngeo2331.

D’Amore, D., Edwards, R., Herendeen, P., Hood, E., & Fellman, J. (2015). Dissolved organic carbon fluxes from hydropedologic units in Alaskan coastal temperate rainforest watersheds. Soil Science Society of America Journal 79, 378-388. doi:10.2136/sssaj2014.09.0380.

Eran Hood, Allison Bidlack, and Sanjay Pyare co-authored an article on Icefield-to-Ocean linkages:

O’Neel, S., Hood, E., Bidlack, A., Fleming, S., Arimitsu, M., Arendt, A., Burgess, E., Sergeant, C., Beaudreau, A., Timm, K., Hayward, G., Reynolds, J., & Pyare, S. (2015). Icefield-to-ocean linkages across the northern pacific coastal temperate rainforest ecosystem. Bioscience. doi:10.1093/biosci/biv027.

Ernestine Hayes’ poem Brand Names (which she read at last September's Evening at Egan with Sherry Simpson) was published in the current issue of Yellow Medicine Review, guest editor Joan Kane.

Robin Walz, Professor of History, presented the paper Simenon Comes to America, Loves It, and Leaves It at the 61st Annual Meeting Society for French Historical Studies at Colorado College, April 16-18 2015.


UAS Faculty Named Alaska Music Educator of the Year

Music in the K-8 Classroom faculty Robin Hopper has been named the Alaska Music Educator of the Year by AMEA (Alaska Music Educators Association). Hopper is also a two-time Quarterfinalist for the Grammy Music Educator Of The Year Award. She was one of over 200 quarterfinalists chosen from a field of 30,000 in 2014, and from a field of more than 7,000 in 2015. Alaska Folk Festival fans are familiar with Hopper’s annual appearances on the main stage. Hopper has recorded several CDs of her original funny, charming, and moving music.


Natural Disaster Publication and Grant

Assistant Professor of Forest Ecosystem Ecology Brian Buma published a global review of the ways that large natural disasters (like fires, hurricanes, etc) can interact with each other and climate change: Buma, B. 2015. Disturbance interactions: Characterization, prediction, and the potential for cascading effects. Ecosphere. 6:art70.

Buma and Environmental Science faculty also acquired a grant to improve landslide hazard maps in southeast Alaska through NASA: “Improving landslide warning systems for local weather forecasts by linking wind exposure, satellite precipitation data, and local weather forecasts," with Jason Amundson, Eran Hood, and Sanjay Pyare. This is a project with the local Weather Service office and the NASA landslide office in Baltimore utilizing a new satellite system for monitoring heavy rainfall as a means to better predict landslides in both time and space.


Staff Make Students Count 2015

Juneau campus Coordinator for Disability and Counseling Services Margie Thomson is the UAS recipient of the University of Alaska Staff Make Students Award. Congratulations Margie! The award recognizes one staff member from the three main MAU's and staff who provide outstanding service to students anywhere in the UA system. Each recipient receives an award plaque, $1,000 and two domestic airline vouchers. UAS President Pat Gamble presented the awards at the June 2015 Board of Regents meeting in Fairbanks.

Of the award, Margie said, “I am really humbled by this award and feel that it is a privilege to be working with these students during this time in their lives. I often feel that I learn more from them than they learn from me, and I’m thankful to be working here at UAS.”

Margie Thomson flanked by Chancellor Rick Caulfield and UA President Patrick Gamble

UAS 2015 Staff Make Students Count winner Margie Thomson, flanked by Chancellor Rick Caulfield and UA President Pat Gamble


July 1, 2015: UAS Tobacco Free

The three campuses of the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka will become tobacco free as of July 1, 2015.

In December 2014, the University of Alaska Board of Regents voted to implement a tobacco-free policy across all campuses in the UA system. According the policy adopted by the BOR, “The university is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its students, employees, and visitors, by prohibiting tobacco use and smoking, including the use of electronic cigarettes and similar products, within its campuses and facilities.” ( BOR Policy P05.12.102)

Smoking and the use of all tobacco and tobacco-related products will be prohibited within all university real property, buildings, and vehicles. Smoking or the use of tobacco products is allowed in personally owned vehicles provided any refuse is disposed of appropriately.

Implementation of this policy will rely on the consideration and cooperation of the entire university community and the public to share the responsibility of adhering to and encouraging compliance.

For resources on quitting tobacco, visit Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Tobacco Free Campus Logo


The John and Margaret Pugh Social Science Award

As of May 30th UAS Chancellor John Pugh began a new chapter in his life: retirement! John and his wife Margaret have more than 75 combined years of public and community service in Alaska. If that wasn’t enough of a legacy, they are working to endow the “John and Margaret Pugh Social Science Award” within the UA Foundation.

The purpose of the fund is to provide support for University of Alaska Southeast students studying the social sciences through scholarships and experiential learning opportunities including but limited to stipends, internships, research, conferences (with associated travel expenses), and other activities.

John and Margaret Pugh

John and Margaret Pugh on the UAS Juneau campus, May 2015

Recipient Qualifications

  • Must be admitted to UAS Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences degree program
  • Must be a resident of Southeast Alaska
  • Must be a full-time student
  • Must have sophomore, junior, or senior class standing

Donations to the fund to honor John’s service to the University of Alaska can be made online at the University of Alaska Foundation website.