Friday, April 24, 2009
Geography senior receives top honor
Alice Orlich is this year's recipient of the Marion Frances Boswell Memorial Award, which recognizes the outstanding graduating senior woman at UAF. Orlich will receive a bachelor’s degree in geography May 10 at the UAF commencement ceremony. She is known among her UA Geography Program professors not only for her academic abilities but also for her leadership among fellow students and her willingness to help her peers understand academic concepts. Orlich has received multiple awards and scholarships during her undergraduate career, in addition to working as a student research assistant. She is the author of a chapter on field logistics and safety in a book, Handbook of Sea Ice Field Research Techniques, which will be used in future UAF courses.
Orlich came to Alaska in 1993 as a volunteer for the US Forest Service. Hailing from Milwaukee, Alice spent the years after high school traveling the world, including five trips to Antarctica, and she has lived in remote areas of Alaska, including Stevens Village, Anaktuvuk Pass, and Wiseman. Geography was her chosen field because it encompasses her various interests. “I enjoy traveling and working in the field in polar regions yet I also like to study human interactions,” she said.
Orlich has worked for two years as a student research assistant with Dr. Jennifer Hutchings, International Arctic Research Center. Orlich studied ice caps during the summers of 2007 and 2008, collecting field data on the sea ice extent, distribution, type, and thickness at several locations along the track followed by Canadian Coast Guard Service Louis S. St. Laurent Icebreaker in the Beaufort Sea. She is currently considering graduate school, and hopes to find a project involving research in both polar regions, climate change, and the cryosphere. She loves one-way ticket traveling, diving, testing her survivalist skills, and learning how to do anything new.
Orlich and other outstanding students are honorees at the UAF awards breakfast April 25. In addition to the Boswell award, Orlich was chosen "outstanding student" for her department and received the NASA Alaska Space Grant Program fellowship.