Friday, November 7, 2008

UA geography student earns research award

Kristen Shake in the chemical oceanography lab (photo by UAF School of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences)

Senior geography student Kristen Shake has been awarded a Flint Hills Resources undergraduate research award of $2,300 for her work in oceanography. Shake, who grew up in Anchorage and Girdwood, has had a lifelong interest in natural sciences. She chose UAF after being accepted at several other universities because she was so impressed by the faculty.

“This is what students can do at UAF,” she said. “You can work within schools, figure out what you want to do and do it.” For Shake, this meant conducting ocean and fisheries research even though she is a geography student. Her undergraduate research, under the direction of Jeremy Mathis, assistant professor of chemical oceanography, is about carbon profiling in the Gulf of Alaska. It is titled, “Synthesize Carbon Data Using two Analysis Systems to Better Understand the Carbon Biochemistry of the Gulf of Alaska.”

In the spring Shake worked on an oceanographic cruise in the Gulf of Alaska, collecting carbon biogeochemistry data. She hopes to travel to the Bering Sea next summer. “That’s the best part of learning, going out there and submerging yourself in what is going on,” Shake said. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in chemical oceanography at UAF after graduation in May, and eventually to earn a doctorate, then teach, and do research.

In her free time Shake enjoys soccer, cross-country and downhill skiing, sledding, snowmachining, hiking. She was on the UAF volleyball team her freshman year.

Shake’s is one of ten undergraduate awards presented to UAF students by Flint Hills Resources. Recipients will present their findings at a research symposium in April 2009. The top three presenters will receive cash awards.

The UA Geography Program is part of the UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences.

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