News – UAF news and information http://news.uaf.edu UAF news and information Fri, 23 Sep 2016 21:36:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UA Museum exhibits contemporary Alaska art http://news.uaf.edu/art/ http://news.uaf.edu/art/#respond Fri, 23 Sep 2016 21:36:26 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=68287 "The Shaman Dances" by Richard Olanna, UA2009-18-2The traveling exhibit “Living Alaska: A Decade of Collecting Contemporary Art for Alaska Museums,” opens Oct. 1 at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. ]]> "The Shaman Dances" by Richard Olanna, UA2009-18-2
Old Bering Sea Woman” by Susie Silook; Anchorage Museum collection, 2004. One of the pieces in the "Living Alaska" traveling exhibit.
“Old Bering Sea Woman” by Susie Silook from the Anchorage Museum collection. One of the pieces in the “Living Alaska” traveling exhibit.

The traveling exhibit “Living Alaska: A Decade of Collecting Contemporary Art for Alaska Museums,” opens Oct. 1 at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. The exhibit presents a retrospective of some of the more than 1,000 pieces of Alaska art purchased through the Rasmuson Foundation’s Art Acquisition Fund, which began in 2003.

Mareca Guthrie is the UA Museum of the North’s curator of fine arts. She said the exhibit showcases artworks that tell the story of Alaska through the eyes of living artists. “The artists featured in this exhibit are able to tell us something about what it means to be an Alaskan in the 21st century. The artwork reflects the issues of identity, politics, changing traditions and the beauty of the Alaska landscape,” she said.

Curated by Sven Haakanson Jr., the exhibit includes 25 works from 12 Alaska museums, including the UA Museum of the North, and is grouped into three categories. The first explores Alaska’s landscapes, animals and the issues that surround them. Another group reflects Alaska Native traditions as artists examine, reinterpret and celebrate cultural practices. A third documents the contemporary Alaska experience, using visual art to study subjects like politics and employment.

The result is an exhibition with a broad, contemporary, Alaska feel. The installation includes a range of materials and objects, such as a beaded moosehide smartphone cover by Rochelle Adams, painted portraits of XtraTuf boots and stacked wood by Carla Klinker-Cope, and a translucent polymer painting by Sonya Kelliher-Combs embedded with pieces of walrus gut and strands of beads.

Dark Winter Sky Mask by Brian Walker, II, UA2016-7-1. One of the pieces from its collection that the UA Museum of the North will feature as part of the "Living Alaska" exhibit opening Oct. 1 in Fairbanks.
“Dark Winter Sky Mask” by Brian Walker, II, UA2016-7-1. One of the pieces from its collection that the UA Museum of the North will feature as part of the “Living Alaska” exhibit opening Oct. 1 in Fairbanks.

Angela Linn, senior ethnology and history collection manager, said the museum is unique in that it collects both fine art and cultural objects.

“For the ethnology and history collection, we are generally looking at contemporary Alaska Native artworks that fit within a continuum of artistic traditions and show how modern people interpret these traditions,” she said. “Masks, baskets, skin sewing, wood working — these are all aesthetic expressions that we’re collecting from contemporary artists, but are curated as ethnology objects because of that long-standing body of work.”

This exhibition hints at the breadth and depth of the artworks collected by Alaska museums because of the foundation’s investment. The statewide professional association Museums Alaska facilitates the grants, which help Alaska museums collect current work by Alaska artists. While museums typically rely on donations, which could come decades after a piece was created, the pieces made possible by the fund are specifically selected. The exhibition was organized by the Anchorage Museum, with major support for traveling the exhibition provided by the Rasmuson Foundation.

Diane Kaplan is the president and CEO of the Alaska-based foundation. “Artists help interpret complex phenomena or simply convey the great beauty that surrounds us in our natural world,” she said. “We hope that we are further along in creating an important and invaluable permanent collection of contemporary artwork for Alaskans.”

The exhibit debuted last year and has traveled to several museums around Alaska. It will be on view at the University of Alaska Museum of the North Oct. 1 through Dec. 3.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Mareca Guthrie, fine arts curator, at 907-474-5102 or mrguthrie@alaska.edu, or Angela Linn, senior ethnology and history collections manager, at 907-474-1828

ON THE WEB:  www.uaf.edu/museum/exhibits/special-exhibits/

 

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HAARP ready for business under UAF management http://news.uaf.edu/haarp-ready-business-uaf-management/ http://news.uaf.edu/haarp-ready-business-uaf-management/#respond Wed, 21 Sep 2016 18:15:20 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=68242 The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility near Gakona comprises a 40-acre grid of towers to  conduct research of the ionosphere. The facility was built and operated by the U.S. Air Force until Aug. 11, 2015, when ownership was transferred to UAF's Geophysical Institute.Ever since the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program opened in 2003, people have been intrigued by the field of antennas off mile 11.3 of the Tok Cutoff Road. Long a conversation piece for people who questioned what Department of Defense scientists were doing in the Copper River Valley far from any town, HAARP will soon host its first campaigns under University of Alaska Fairbanks ownership.]]> The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility near Gakona comprises a 40-acre grid of towers to  conduct research of the ionosphere. The facility was built and operated by the U.S. Air Force until Aug. 11, 2015, when ownership was transferred to UAF's Geophysical Institute.
The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility near Gakona comprises a 40-acre grid of towers to conduct research of the ionosphere. The facility was built and operated by the U.S. Air Force until Aug. 11, 2015, when ownership was transferred to UAF's Geophysical Institute.
UAF photo by Todd Paris
The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program facility near Gakona is used to conduct research on the ionosphere. HAARP was built and operated by the U.S. Air Force until 2015, when ownership was transferred to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Ever since the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program opened in 2003, people have been intrigued by the field of antennas off mile 11.3 of the Tok Cutoff Road.

The field of radio transmitters designed to heat portions of space has not operated since 2014. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute took it over from the U.S. Air Force in 2015. Despite that inactivity, 350 people were curious enough to travel to Gakona on Aug. 27 and explore the HAARP ­­facility during an open house held by faculty and staff members of the Geophysical Institute.

Long a conversation piece for people who questioned what Department of Defense scientists were doing in the Copper River Valley far from any town, HAARP will soon host its first campaigns under university ownership.

Technicians are now preparing the site for two science missions in February 2017, said Bill Bristow, a space physicist at the Geophysical Institute and HAARP chief scientist. UAF scientists will run one experiment and researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico the other.

“We aim to get 60 percent of the array functional by February,” Bristow said.  That amount of capability will be enough to conduct the initial experiments.

Geophysical Institute scientists will fire the transmitters as part of a three-year experiment involving a few elements of complicated space physics. The Los Alamos researchers will use HAARP to generate irregularities in the ionosphere to test satellite-to-ground communications under conditions similar to solar storms. Large solar storms can disrupt communications and sometimes take out power grids.

HAARP is a group of high-frequency radio transmitters powered by four diesel tugboat generators and one from a locomotive. The transmitters send a focused beam of radio-wave energy into the aurora zone. There, that energy can stimulate a speck of the electrical connection between the sun and Earth about 100 miles above our heads.

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program near Gakona includes a 40-acre grid of antenna towers to conduct research on the ionosphere.
Jessica Matthews photo
HAARP includes a 40-acre grid of antenna towers, comprising the most powerful ionospheric heater in the world.

Since it opened 13 years ago with funding the late Ted Stevens helped secure, HAARP has hosted many scientists doing applied research for the military. One such study used the antenna array to heat a part of the ionosphere, which in turn acted as a low-frequency antenna that could send an ocean-penetrating signal to a submarine. That transmission could tell a submarine captain to surface in order to receive conventional radio communications.

“The military had specific objectives, now we can do more basic science,” Bristow said. “It will help us with general ionospheric/thermospheric modeling, like how do ions interact with neutral atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere?”

The military experiments and the complex nature of studying a region people can’t see or easily understand have fed the controversy about HAARP. Shortly after it opened, Nick Begich wrote a book, “Angels Don’t Play This HAARP.” The British band Muse recorded a live album called HAARP from Wembley Stadium from a stage that featured antennas meant to resemble those in Gakona.

Despite the facility being a magnet for conspiracy theorists, Geophysical Institute Director Bob McCoy thought HAARP was too valuable to fall to the dozer blade. With a $2 million loan from the university, McCoy has wagered that space physics researchers will use HAARP. The Geophysical Institute plans to run it in a similar manner to Poker Flat Research Range in Chatanika.

The HAARP facility, built for $290 million, is the best tool to study a region above Earth we know little about, McCoy said. HAARP is the most powerful and capable of four such ionospheric heaters in the world, which include facilities in Norway, Russia and in Puerto Rico.

McCoy and Bristow hope the February experiments will help attract customers to HAARP by showcasing UAF’s ability to run it. At the 2015 transfer of HAARP to the university, McCoy mentioned a timeline of finding customers within three years.

As technicians at the site replace vacuum tubes and lubricate moving capacitor plates that make up the powerful radio-frequency transmitters, HAARP is readying for its first customers of a new era.

“We’d of course like to have more than what we have now, but it’s a start,” Bristow said.

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Grant allows UAF to purchase isotope research instrument http://news.uaf.edu/grant-allows-uaf-to-purchase-isotope-research-instrument/ http://news.uaf.edu/grant-allows-uaf-to-purchase-isotope-research-instrument/#respond Wed, 21 Sep 2016 17:35:20 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=68225 neptune-white-shadowA newly awarded federal grant will allow the University of Alaska Fairbanks to purchase a new piece of science equipment for analyzing isotope ratios of heavy elements such as strontium and mercury. The instrument will be the first of its kind in Alaska, allowing University of Alaska students to do isotope analysis without traveling to the Lower 48.]]> neptune-white-shadow

A newly awarded federal grant will allow the University of Alaska Fairbanks to purchase a new  piece of science equipment for analyzing isotope ratios of heavy elements such as strontium and mercury. The instrument will be the first of its kind in the state, allowing Alaska students and researchers to do isotope analysis without traveling to the Lower 48.

The National Science Foundation’s Major Research Infrastructure program has awarded UAF about $580,000 to purchase the instrument, which is known as a multi-collector inductively coupled mass spectrometer. UAF is contributing matching funds of about $250,000. The instrument will allow scientists to chemically analyze the isotope ratios of heavier elements in research samples. For example, the instrument will allow measurement of isotopes in strontium, an element that commonly accumulates in bones and teeth, but will also be able to analyze metals such as lead and mercury.

UAF’s Alaska Stable Isotope Facility currently has equipment for measuring light elements such as carbon, oxygen and nitrogen, but not heavier ones.

Matthew Wooller, director of the Alaska Stable Isotope Facility, said the potential for research is vast, encompassing a diverse range of disciplines such as anthropology, geology and wildlife biology. Studying isotopic signatures in bison teeth and fish ear bones can help establish their migratory patterns, for example, and samples from Alaska subsistence foods could help find the likely sources of heavy-metal contamination.

“I’m beyond thrilled,” Wooller said. “This is going to open a lot of possibilities for us.”

The equipment will also be available on a “fee for service” basis and will be available for use by researchers and state agencies not affiliated with the University of Alaska.

The minivan-sized instrument will be part of the Alaska Stable Isotope Facility and will be housed in UAF’s new engineering building. Last week the University of Alaska Board of Regents approved a funding package to complete construction of the building. The new facility will also support a new full-time research faculty member who will be trained to use it.

During the next year, ThermoFisher Scientific will manufacture the instrument while UAF completes construction on the dedicated lab space and hires a researcher to operate it. UAF plans to make the instrument operational in fall 2017.

ADDITIONAL CONTACT: Matthew Wooller, 907-474-6738, mjwooller@alaska.edu.

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UA Press releases book celebrating diverse LGBTQ communities in Alaska http://news.uaf.edu/ua-press-releases-book-celebrating-diverse-lgbtq-communities-alaska/ http://news.uaf.edu/ua-press-releases-book-celebrating-diverse-lgbtq-communities-alaska/#respond Tue, 20 Sep 2016 03:07:14 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=68148 Continue reading UA Press releases book celebrating diverse LGBTQ communities in Alaska ]]> buildingfires_uapressThe University of Alaska Press released “Building Fires in the Snow: A Collection of Alaska LGBTQ Short Fiction and Poetry” edited by Martha Amore and Lucian Childs.

Diversity has always been central to Alaska identity, as the state’s population consists of people with many different backgrounds, viewpoints and life experiences. This book opens a window onto these diverse lives, gathering stories and poems about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer life into a brilliant, path-breaking anthology. “Building Fires in the Snow” celebrates the diverse LGBTQ communities thriving in the cities and rural areas at the edge of Alaska’s rugged wilderness.

For more information about this title and many more please click here or call 1-800-621-2736.

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Tagging study finds distance-swimming big skates http://news.uaf.edu/tagging-study-highlights-distance-swimming-big-skates/ http://news.uaf.edu/tagging-study-highlights-distance-swimming-big-skates/#respond Thu, 15 Sep 2016 19:34:53 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=68079 Elisa Russ photo.
Thomas Farrugia tags a big skate.Big skates are capable of traveling thousands of kilometers, and many don’t have the sedentary lives that were historically associated with the species, according to a new study by University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers.]]> Elisa Russ photo.
Thomas Farrugia tags a big skate.

Big skates are capable of traveling thousands of kilometers, and many don’t have the sedentary lives that were historically associated with the species, according to a new study by University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers. Their study could help determine whether a skate fishery in the Gulf of Alaska is feasible.

“Skates are flat, bottom-feeding fish,” said Thomas Farrugia, a doctoral student at the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. “It was previously thought that they sit in one spot and look for crabs, clams and little fish to eat but don’t have much need to move a whole lot like an oceanic predator. But it turns out big skates can move quite a long distance. One fish we studied completed a loop that was at least 2,100 kilometers.”

<i>Photo by Elisa Russ</i><br> Thomas Farrugia tags a big skate.
Photo by Elisa Russ
Thomas Farrugia tags a big skate.

Farrugia is working with SFOS professor Andrew Seitz to determine whether there can be a sustainable and profitable fishery for big skates (Beringraja binoculata) in the Gulf of Alaska. Because little is known about such skates, the first step is to consider where they live and how far they tend to travel. As Farrugia explained, this will affect how the species is managed.

“We can’t start planning a directed skate fishery at the local scale, when in reality the big skates can travel a few thousand kilometers, possibly even more,” Farrugia said. “We need to consider the whole Gulf of Alaska big skate population as one stock, rather than a number of distinct subunits.”

Farrugia and Seitz monitored big skate movement using pop-up satellite archival transmitting tags. The satellite tags are a great way to gather basic information about a species for which there is limited data. Although each tag is expensive, fish don’t need to be recaptured once they are tagged. At a pre-programmed time, a fish’s tag will pop off and float to the surface, where it will transmit collected data to satellites that researchers can then access to download the data.

The researchers tagged eight big skates, and received data back from six of them. Half of the tagged skates swam hundreds of kilometers, but one one swam about 2,100 kilometers. Tagged fish were juveniles and mature adults, and all were greater than 100 centimeters in total length. This isn’t even close to the largest big skates, which can be about 2.5 meters long.

The researchers collaborated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which provided guidance on study design and ship time on the annual National Marine Fisheries Service Gulf of Alaska longline survey. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game participated by providing guidance and ship time on the multispecies bottom trawl survey.

<i>Photo by Thomas Farrugia</i><br> A tagged big skate is released.
Photo by Thomas Farrugia
A tagged big skate is released back into the water.

For the next part of his dissertation, Farrugia will plug what he learned about big skate ecology and movement into a stock assessment model. Because he learned that skates can travel such great distances, he will create a model for the entire Gulf of Alaska. In the study’s final step, he will create a bioeconomic model that evaluates whether a profitable fishery is sustainable.

Farrugia was part of the Marine Ecosystem Sustainability in the Arctic and Subarctic Program. He received additional support from Alaska Sea Grant, the Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The researchers reported their findings in a Sept. 8 article  in Marine Ecology Progress Series.

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UAF scientists secure new remote sensing patent http://news.uaf.edu/uaf-scientists-secure-new-remote-sensing-patent/ http://news.uaf.edu/uaf-scientists-secure-new-remote-sensing-patent/#respond Wed, 14 Sep 2016 22:05:53 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=68059 Observers of wildfire and volcano eruptions have a new tool for studying their atmospheric effects, and they have two University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers to credit for it.

Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning research faculty member Keith Cunningham and project partner Peter Webley of the UAF Geophysical Institute have received a patent for the tool, called Validating and Calibrating a Forecast Model.

The patented invention allows for critical information to be gathered on aerosols, such as smoke and ash. It is in large part the result of Cunningham’s work with the federal Small Business Innovation Research program and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.

“This UAF patent is about making near real-time decisions with a novel remote-sensing technique,” explained Cunningham. “[A] ‘stereo-look’ at an aerosol or particle cloud allows the reconstruction of the cloud’s height and structure.”

Obtaining this information enables researchers to validate the accuracy of particle forecasting and calibrate subsequent forecasting models in as little as 15 minutes when the next geosynchronous satellite image is available.

During his time with SBIR, Cunningham and his colleagues pursued a patent for their validating and calibrating techniques, in order to protect their intellectual property and to advance the invention.

“The role of a patent is to protect the invention as it is commercialized,” said Cunningham. “Without a solid business plan and the goal of protecting the patent from infringement, there is not a business opportunity.”

Cunningham will continue to develop the invention with the Air Force lab.

For more information on the business opportunity and UAF’s first spin-off company, visit: http://www.vadapt.net/.

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UAF’s Stech works to revive classic organ compositions http://news.uaf.edu/uafs-stech-works-to-revive-classic-organ-compositions/ http://news.uaf.edu/uafs-stech-works-to-revive-classic-organ-compositions/#comments Wed, 14 Sep 2016 17:21:31 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=68048 stech_cropUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks Professor of Music Emeritus David Stech has spent the past several decades dedicated to the challenge of transcribing Marcel Dupré’s legendary pipe organ performances to musical notation.]]> stech_crop
<i>Photo courtesy of David Stech</i><br> University of Alaska Fairbanks Professor Emeritus David Stech has worked to transcribe the unwritten works of legendary organist Marcel Dupre.
Photo courtesy of David Stech
University of Alaska Fairbanks Professor Emeritus David Stech has worked to transcribe the unwritten works of legendary organist Marcel Dupre.

Few people can appreciate the long and venerable career of French organ maestro Marcel Dupré as well as University of Alaska Fairbanks Professor of Music Emeritus David Stech.

Stech has spent the past several decades dedicated to the challenge of transcribing Dupré’s legendary pipe organ performances to musical notation, through critical study of rare archived recordings. These published works allow modern organists to recreate the improvisational genius of one of the world’s foremost organ virtuosos.

A prolific composer, Dupré’s oeuvre included a series of 76 chorales and 65 opuses. Several of the composer’s most famous published works were originally concert improvisations, which he later transcribed. His mastery of the spontaneous sets Dupré apart. As an improviser, Dupré synthesized musical creativity, technical prowess and practical exercises into masterfully complicated scores. For years, many of these pieces existed only as recordings of the original performances.

Stech served as a member of the UAF Music Department from 1972 until his retirement in 2007.  Stech consulted on the installation of UAF’s own pipe organ in the Davis Concert Hall. During his tenure at UAF, Stech studied and taught many of the same subjects — counterpoint (the art of writing and/or playing a melody simultaneously with another, adhering to set rules), harmony and structural form — that Dupré himself studied at the Paris Conservatoire.

His interest in Dupré’s work came early, when Stech was studying organ performance in high school. Stech went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, a master’s in music from the Ohio State University and a doctorate in music from Michigan State University, where he studied music theory, harmony and structural analysis. During his college years, Stech carefully analyzed all of Dupré’s solo pipe organ compositions, igniting his interest in the French organist’s work.

Dupré was born in the spring of 1886 in Rouen, France. A child prodigy, he gave his first organ recital at age 10, and, at age 15, he composed an oratorio — a large production of voice and orchestra, performed without theatrical staging.

Dupré solidified his professional prominence in 1920 with a legendary series of 10 recitals in which he played Bach’s complete works for organ entirely from memory. During this early part of his life, Dupré built his international reputation by performing more than 2,000 recitals across Europe, Canada, the United States and Australia.

<i>Image courtesy of Wayne Leupold Editions</i><br> This is the cover of volume four in a seven-volume set of Marcel Dupre's music transcribed by UAF Professor Emeritus David Stech. Another three volumes will be published early in 2017.
Image courtesy of Wayne Leupold Editions
This is the cover of volume four in a seven-volume set of Marcel Dupre’s music transcribed by UAF Professor Emeritus David Stech. Another three volumes will be published early in 2017.

Starting in the mid-1990s, Stech began the labored process of finding and transcribing Dupré’s music. Before Stech’s work there were no written scores for these pieces — only the rare physical recordings of the performances. Stech found original sources in university libraries, in broadcast archives of European television and radio shows, with private individuals and at music societies. He spent four years negotiating with Dupré’s descendants for exclusive international publishing rights of his reconstructed musical scores. In 2001, Stech published the first set of reconstructions of Dupré’s improvisational works.

Paul Krejci, a member of the UAF Music Department faculty, said Stech’s “noteworthy transcriptions serve as a bridge between the auditory and visual realms of music. Ultimately, Stech’s work demonstrates on a fundamental level the value of listening and transcribing.  Furthermore, his work highlights the importance of the organ — the king of instruments — in human history, emphasizing the organ’s role as a scientific tool in examining the physics of sound, its impact as a source of spiritual inspiration and social entertainment, and its long-held tradition in cultivating the art of registration and improvisation.”

Stech describes the process as “an exercise in advanced music dictation.” His first transcriptions were done without the benefit of today’s sound editing technology. Even with technological advances, Stech noted, there is no “tool that can do what the human brain does with respect to translating sound into traditional music notation.”

To transcribe Dupré’s improvisations, Stech studies each recording carefully, listening to each successive phrase, sometimes shorter than two seconds at a time, and drafting his first impressions using notation software. He then listens to the playback rendition of his reconstruction, juxtaposing those results to the original recording of Dupré’s performances. This side-by-side comparison allows discrepancies to be immediately noted and fixed. Stech then plays the transcription at the organ to check its playability.

Krejci said Stech’s teaching and research uses several musical skills — a highly trained ear able to distinguish a diverse array of tones, harmonies, rhythms and timbres; the proficiency to notate such musical elements on paper using traditional staff notation and computer software; and the technique to reproduce such information by playing it back on a keyboard instrument.

Krejci suggested that the transitory nature of music is another reason to celebrate Stech’s achievement, “In a visually dominant society, we often forget to actively listen to sounds in our environment, let alone musical ones. Sounds, however, are fleeting unless they are recorded.”

Seven volumes of Dupré’s music are currently in print though Wayne Leupold Editions, with another three planned in early 2017. The sixth volume will be performed, in its entirety, at the Catholic Cathedral in Los Angeles on Jan. 18, 2017. It is due to Stech’s unique project, Dupré’s innovative and challenging improvisations are being played across the world for the first time since their original performances.

A sample of one of Marcel Dupré’s compositions, as transcribed by David Stech:

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Outstanding alumni to be honored at Nanook Rendezvous http://news.uaf.edu/outstanding-alumni-to-be-honored-at-nanook-rendezvous/ http://news.uaf.edu/outstanding-alumni-to-be-honored-at-nanook-rendezvous/#respond Mon, 12 Sep 2016 19:11:23 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=67630 Chantal WalshThe University of Alaska Fairbanks Alumni Association will honor Anchorage engineer Chantal Walsh with its 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award. Six other distinguished alumni will also be honored during the Nanook Rendezvous reunion. ]]> Chantal Walsh
Chantal Walsh
Chantal Walsh will be honored with the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award by the UAF Alumni Association.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Alumni Association will honor Anchorage engineer Chantal Walsh with its 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Walsh will be recognized during the Nanook Rendevzous awards dinner, which will be held from 6-10 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Great Hall on the UAF campus. The dinner will be part of UAF’s annual alumni reunion, Nanook Rendezvous, which is scheduled for Sept. 23-24.

Walsh earned her bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from UAF in 1985. She has made numerous contributions during more than 30 years in Alaska’s oil and gas industry, including work with BP, ARCO, Chevron and Petrotechnical Resources Alaska. She also has been a steadfast advocate for UAF and engineering workforce development, and currently serves as vice chair of the College of Engineering and Mines Advisory and Development Council.

Walsh, who was born in Cordova, lives in Anchorage with her husband, Tom, and their three children. Her father, Tom Tunley, was also a graduate of the UAF engineering program.

The alumni association will also honor six other alumni during the dinner.

Three Alumni Achievement Awards recognize outstanding work by UAF graduates and former students.

  • The Alumni Achievement Award for Business and Professional Excellence will go to Sen. Lyman Hoffman of Bethel, a 1974 business degree recipient who represents Southwest Alaska in the Legislature.
  • The Alumni Achievement Award for Community Support will go to Scott Roselius of Fairbanks, a 1981 physical education graduate who serves as president of the UAF hockey alumni, an organization that he helped create and build.
  • The Alumni Achievement Award for University Support will go to Bob and Heather Mitchell of Juneau. Bob, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1990 and his Masters of Business Administration degree in 1998, and Heather, a 1996 paralegal studies graduate, support numerous scholarship funds. They established the North Pole Patriots Scholarship in 2009, and Bob co-chairs the UAF Centennial Scholarships and Fellowships fundraising initiative.

The William R. Cashen Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service to UAF, its alumni and students, will be presented to Karen Cedzo. Starting her career in 1979 as UAF’s first public affairs director, Cedzo retired nearly 20 years later as vice chancellor for university relations and institutional advancement, overseeing UAF’s alumni, development and public relations functions.

The Lenhart J.H. Grothe Resources Award will go to Donald Grybeck, a 1964 geological engineering graduate who passed away in 2012 after a long career as a surveyor, miner and field geologist. The honor is given posthumously to an alumnus who made significant contributions in resource, mining or agricultural fields.

The awards dinner is one of many activities that will be part of the 2016 alumni reunion. Other events include campus tours, Starvation Gulch activities, the Blue and Gold hockey game and a reception.

A schedule of Nanook Rendezvous events and registration information are available online at http://www.uaf.edu/alumni/reunion.

ADDITIONAL CONTACT: Kate Ripley, 907-474-7081, klripley@alaska.edu

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Arctic Innovation Competition accepting entries http://news.uaf.edu/submit-bright-ideas-arctic-innovation-competition/ http://news.uaf.edu/submit-bright-ideas-arctic-innovation-competition/#respond Thu, 08 Sep 2016 21:23:44 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=67838 <i>Photo courtesy of School of Management</i><br>Sharon and Cameron Gackstetter hold Cameron’s check from the 2015 Arctic Innovation Competition.
Photo courtesy of School of Management
Sharon and Cameron Gackstetter hold Cameron’s check from the 2015 Arctic Innovation Competition.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management will award more than $28,000 in cash prizes through its annual Arctic Innovation Competition.

The competition, now in its eighth year, invites competitors to propose new, feasible and potentially profitable ideas. The deadline to submit an entry is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016.

In 2015, proposals covered a broad range of subjects. Winning ideas included a concrete product created with waste fly ash, waste expanded polystyrene, and Portland cement; a paraplegic cross-country sit-ski device; and a pollution-reduction device for wood stoves. The $10,000 grand prize winner was Cameron Gackstetter, with “The ThawHead,” a portable apparatus that uses a two-stage process to first thaw ice and then quickly and efficiently remove the melt water and debris from canister lights on airport runways.

The competition is open to the public, there is no entry fee and ideas do not have to be Arctic-related. Three divisions are now accepting submissions: Main Division (ages 13 and up), Junior Division (ages 13-17) and Cub Division (ages 12 and under). Individuals or teams are encouraged to enter, and multiple ideas are accepted. After the initial screening process, up to 32 winners will be selected to receive cash prizes ranging from $25 to $10,000. Finalists will showcase their ideas to judges on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 3-5 p.m. at the Wedgewood Resort, with a reception to follow. The public is encouraged to attend.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Tammy Tragis-McCook, 907-474-7042, tammy.tragis@alaska.edu.

ON THE WEB: www.arcticinno.com

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Distance no problem for ziplining UAF student http://news.uaf.edu/distance-no-problem-zipliner-business-uaf-studies/ http://news.uaf.edu/distance-no-problem-zipliner-business-uaf-studies/#respond Wed, 07 Sep 2016 16:47:14 +0000 http://news.uaf.edu/?p=67750 Photo courtesy of Mike Seper  Eco Zipline owner Mike Seper is studying for his MBA degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks while operating his business in Missouri.Mike Seper is one of thousands starting the semester at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Like more and more of his classmates, though, he’s never been to Fairbanks. You’ll find Seper, an MBA student, an hour and 20 minutes west of St. Louis in a small trailer office, which acts as the gateway to a mile-long course of cables zigzagging through Missouri’s infamous hills. “I always knew I wanted to own my own business,” he said, “but wasn’t sure what it would be.” In 2010 it became clear, and he opened Eco Zipline.]]> Photo courtesy of Mike Seper  Eco Zipline owner Mike Seper is studying for his MBA degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks while operating his business in Missouri.
<i>Photo courtesy of Mike Seper</i><br>Eco Zipline owner Mike Seper is studying for his MBA degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks while operating his business in Missouri.
Photo courtesy of Mike Seper
Eco Zipline owner Mike Seper is studying for his MBA degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks while operating his business in Missouri. Click photo to download

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Mike Seper is one of thousands starting the semester at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Like more and more of his classmates, though, he has never been to Fairbanks.

You’ll find Seper, an MBA student, an hour and 20 minutes west of St. Louis in a small trailer office, which acts as the gateway to a mile-long course of cables zigzagging through Missouri’s infamous hills. “I always knew I wanted to own my own business,” he said, “but wasn’t sure what it would be.” In 2010 it became clear, and he opened Eco Zipline.

Since then, Seper has built the award-winning business from the ground up — 225 feet into the treetops, to be precise. Though the surrounding area hasn’t been known for tourism, Seper saw potential in the deep ravines and, having grown up in St. Louis, felt there weren’t enough outdoor activities for Missourians.

Customers, who have contributed nearly 600 “excellent” reviews on TripAdvisor, have noticed his attention to detail. Guides pause to take group photos throughout the course and tell interesting stories about the wildlife and vegetation in the area. Everyone even gets a popsicle on the way out.

However, several of Seper’s own creations are what make Eco Zipline unique. That ingenuity is also what led him to study at a distant university, saying UAF’s strong reputation for innovation and entrepreneurship are what led him there in the first place.

One signature aspect of the Eco Zipline experience is something amateur guests won’t even notice. The brake system is a Seper invention that lets riders pull on a hanging strap to decelerate rather than grabbing onto the zipline itself. This reduces sound pollution and physical strain on the rider, as proven by the 95-year-old guests who have conquered the advanced 10-line tour that reaches speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

The brake design also features front and back camera mounts. Guests can add a GoPro rental to their adventure and take home an SD card with their photos and video. Next season, Seper plans to use both mounts and wide-angle lenses to capture 360-degree views that can be turned into take-home virtual reality experiences.

<i>Marissa Carl-Acosta photo</i><br> This brake system, designed by Mike Seper and only used at Eco Zipline, will be an entry in this year's Arctic Innovation Competition at UAF.
Marissa Carl-Acosta photo
This brake system, designed by Mike Seper and only used at Eco Zipline, will be an entry in this year’s Arctic Innovation Competition at UAF. Click photo to download

“You can turn as the person watching and see what it looks like behind the person as they’re zipping, in front of them, look up, look down,” he said. “I just think it’s going to be a really neat technology to implement.”

The brake system is one of two inventions Seper is entering in UAF’s Arctic Innovation Competition this year. He had hoped to make his first trip to Fairbanks if his ideas make it to the final round in October, but the competition coincides with a busy week at home. He and his wife, who helps run the Eco Zipline office, are expecting a baby.

Though his classmates are miles away in every direction, technology makes it easy for them to share ideas and help each other grow in their careers, he said. This fall, he will continue as president and treasurer of the College Entrepreneurial Organization and then graduate with his MBA in December. He plans to further pursue those areas as a doctoral candidate next year.

“Even though my business is different, the lessons learned from owning a business, whatever it may be, go hand in hand with what I’m doing,” he said.

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