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UAA | Engineering Summer Camp

Middle school-aged kids clustered around a machine at UAA’s new Engineering & Industry Building, peering at a tiny model of a plane perched inside a clear chamber. A mist unfurled from a wand held up to a screen on the side of the Hampden wind tunnel, and streamed smoothly around the plane as the kids’ instructor asked questions. “You want to try an even larger angle of attack?” UAA’s Dr. Jifeng Peng said, pressing buttons on a control pad of a state-of-the-art wind tunnel during last summer’s engineering academy course on wing aerodynamics. The miniature plane tilted to a steeper angle and the mist’s movement appeared choppy. “Now you can see the [mist], visualize the air flow, right?” “It’s going over,” a boy said. “It’s not going under, though,” said another student. “Can somebody tell me the difference between the air flow now and the air flow before?” Peng asked. “It’s going...

UAF | JR, ’15

In December 2011, as a UAF student, I was an embedded photojournalist with the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment of the 1-25th Stryker Brigade Combat Team from Fort Wainwright in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Cheryl Hatch, the 2010-2011 Snedden Endowed Chair of Journalism at UAF, and I made the tough decision to finish a story we were working on about soldiers deploying to Afghanistan. While my trip was not sponsored by the university, it would have been improbable without the support and encouragement by the faculty and my peers. This galvanizing collaboration with Cheryl was made possible by the generous donation of the Snedden family. The roster of past Snedden chairs includes some of the most accomplished reporters in the country, including 11 Pulitzer Prizewinning journalists. At UAF, I was given room to discover what I have to contribute to the world. I tried and failed and...

UAF | Sierra ’15

The smell of the summer air in Alaska has an energizing effect. I feel invigorated out in the wild, whether it’s on the water, commercial fishing with an elder in Unalakleet, perched on an observation tower counting salmon, or most recently this summer as a research assistant, flipping our boat while scouting — I know I made the right choice as a fourth-year student pursuing a bachelor’s of science in biological sciences. I was raised in Unalakleet, Alaska, and in high school attended the summer Rural Alaska Honors Institute on the Fairbanks campus. When I first began attending UAF in 2011, I had the intention of earning a biology degree and then continuing to graduate school in the Lower 48 to become a veterinarian. After studying at UAF for about a year, I realized I was far more interested in learning about and researching what Alaska has to offer through natural resources,...

UAA | Awar Mou

Awar Mou’s mother moved nine of her children from South Sudan to the United States 11 years ago, because she wanted to provide a better education and a better life for them. “She didn’t want us to have to live the way she did,” Awar, 17, said. “She struggled a lot in South Sudan. When we finally got here two years ago, she found a job as a housekeeper for the Alaska Native hospital.” Awar started looking toward her own future when she was in the eighth grade, researching anesthesiology for middle school career day. Earlier this year, her friend told her about UAA’s Della Keats Health Sciences Summer Program. “At first I thought it was a joke,” she said. “There’s no way you can go to a program that would pay you just to go and learn all these amazing things. I applied for it—I thought it would be a good opportunity to see how the medical industry really is.” Now, through Della Keats,...

UAA | Dominique Kurth

Dominique Kurth first began moving toward a career back in 1998, when she met a certified public accountant while opening the East Anchorage location of the Alaska Club early on weekdays. “He was impressed I was there every morning to open the club before 5 a.m. and asked if I wanted to work for him,” Kurth said of that CPA. “I said no. But I had that and two other jobs; I grew tired of splitting my sleeping hours, catching z’s whenever I had a few minutes. I was lucky enough that he asked me again in January 1999 and I went for it.” She worked as the CPA’s receptionist, branched out into doing contract work in bookkeeping and accounting and then, in 2009, enrolled at UAA with the goal of pursuing an accounting degree. “I did not think I would be back in school at this point in my life, but I am delighted to be here,” she said. Next year, Kurth expects to receive UAA bachelor’s degrees...