Friday, June 19, 2009

Where in the world are SNRAS students this summer?

Chanda Meek in the field summer 2008

Here’s a quick update on what SNRAS students and recent graduates are doing this summer. Students who would like to let others know about their summer activities are welcome to comment below.

Chanda Meek, SNRAS’s first doctoral candidate for the new PhD in Natural Resources and Sustainability, has focused on her doctoral defense this summer. On Monday, June 22 at 1 p.m. in the Butrovich Building, Room 109, she will present “Comparing Co-management Regimes for Marine Mammals in Alaska: Three Aspects of Institutional Performance.”

Recent master’s graduate Lorene Lynn is working as a soil scientist for HDR Alaska, an architecture, engineering, and environmental services consulting firm in Anchorage and Palmer. Lynn learned how to write a “request for proposal” for a DOT project and designed a research project investigating hydric soil indicators in volcanic ash soils. She has also written the specifications for a landfill cap and closure. “The learning curve has been high and the work stimulating,” Lynn said. “I have been able to put my soils education to good use.”

NRM major Hannah Harrison is employed with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Sand Point and Port Moller on the Alaska Peninsula. She is a Tech III working for the Western Alaska Salmon Survey Inventory Project taking DNA samples and scale samples from sockeye and chum.

Geography major Matthew Balazs is working for the Institute of Arctic Biology as a GIS technician. He is involved with a project that is examining the changes in lake areas throughout ten of the national wildlife refuges in Alaska. His job is to process and interpret data from aerial photos and satellite images using GIS software to find changes in the lakes’ area. He is planning to go to Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean north of mainland Europe, about midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, later in the summer for a class in arctic terrestrial quaternary stratigraphy.

Recent graduate Larsen Hess is working for the Alaska Division of Forestry this summer and then will move to Japan where he will teach English.

Senior Ellen Hatch is working at the Georgeson Botanical Garden and delving into her senior thesis, a project studying and mapping growing degree days in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Graduate student Yosuke Okada works with Professor Meriam Karlsson in her controlled environment agriculture laboratory (CEAL). Okada’s area of focus is tomatoes. In early June Okada was a participant in the Hot Springs 100-kilometer wilderness race from Chena Hot Springs to Circle Hot Springs.

High Latitude Agriculture student James Ward is in his second summer working for Dr. Karlsson in her fields, high tunnels, and CEAL. He assists with plant experiments, plant propagation, germination, transplanting, and data collection. “I have gained a good understanding of experimentation methods,” he said.

NRM student Jace Bures is managing the greenhouse at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge. He is in charge of all the plant care and landscaping at the hotel and adjacent restaurant. He has six FFA students working for him in the collaborative project.

Addendum (June 23, 2009):
2009 geography graduate Alice Orlich (pictured at right) is continuing with her position as student research assistant with sea ice physicist Dr. Jennifer Hutchings at the International Arctic Research Center. Her summer months will be occupied with analyzing field data, assisting with website coordination for arctic sea ice research, and preparing for another science cruise into the arctic. The annual ship trip into the Beaufort Sea has been scheduled later in the year to catch the freeze-up that occurs in early fall. The benefits are two-fold, as researchers will be able to observe conditions of the ice pack after a full melt season, the time of lowest extent, and Orlich will enjoy her first full summer in Fairbanks in fifteen years.

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