Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Laramie Project at UAF

Word up, friends!

I'm running out of silly ways to open my blog posts :) A couple of weeks ago, Theatre UAF did a presentation of The Laramie Project in the Lee H Salisbury Theatre. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the play, it is an analysis of the reaction of the people in the town of Laramie Wyoming following the 1998 brutal beating and eventual death of Matthew Shepard, a 21 year old University of Wyoming student. Why was he killed? He was gay. This was a hate crime of the most heinous sort.

The play is a brilliant observation of the concepts of hatred and ignorance in our society, and I highly encourage anyone who hasn't seen or read the play to do so. The rendition done here at UAF was quite impressive. A solid performance by the cast in a pretty difficult play to perform. In the play, each actor plays 8-10 of the residents of Laramie, each with a different personality, opinion and story. In most plays it is difficult to play one person well, but playing 10 is absolutely exhausting for actors. Nevertheless, the performance was quite solid, and was received by very positive reviews in Fairbanks. I would share photos, but of course I don't have any, being that I was only an Usher, not a cast member. Anyway, Thanks for reading, more to come!


National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week

Hello again, everyone!

I know I'm bombarding you with blogs right now, but I have a lot to share! Two weeks ago was National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. The goal of this program is to promote awareness of the plight of those living in poverty and in homelessness, and to see what we can do to help. To commemorate this event, two UAF students, Mariah Acton and Anna Dale, organized a weeklong vigil on campus to raise awareness. Mariah is also one of my Student Ambassadors, so I was extra proud of her role in this event. Volunteers stood out in the cold in temperatures down to -20F to raise awareness. The volunteers also raised more than $400 for the Fairbanks Rescue Mission. Throughout the course of the week, I stood with the for somewhere between 3 and 4 hours in the cold. I would have stood more, but my duties called me away. I was also going to volunteer at the rescue mission with the group, but the brakes on my truck went out that day, and that had to take priority :(
The week was a tremendous success. The event was covered in the local media, and it is my hope that we will do this or something very close to it next year again. Thanks for reading!


PS: I will have photos of my participation posted soon!

Musky Oxes!

Hello again, my loyal fans!

This is Joe again, coming atcha with some hardcore awesome stories and photos! I recently got to go on a tour of the Large Animal Research Station here at UAF, and it was awesome. This is one of the only places in the world where people can study and raise Musk Oxen, an endangered species. They are studying their digestion and studying their genetics to see if it would be possible to cross breed the gene in Musk Oxen which enables them to subsist on such difficult to process food into domestic farm animals such as cattle. If they are successful, this could mean the ability to raise cattle on a tenth as much feed as they currently consume, which translate into a tremendous reduction in the price of milk and cow meat! This would also mean a significant boon to the environment, because the cows would then need less grazing land, because they need less food. Pretty cool, huh?

Of course, that's not the only cool research that's going on out at LARS. They also do tons of other research. Overall, it was a very cool visit and a cool experience. If you find yourself in a position to visit LARS, I would highly recommend it. Anyway, thanks for reading, stay tuned for my next post!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hello New York!

Greetings from New York!

Carrie Coxon, our new admissions counselor and East Coast recruiter, and I are traveling throughout the great state of New York in an effort to recruit another great group of students to UAF! We are having a blast and loving New York. We are mostly focused in the Albany area, but we are heading into NYC on Friday and can't wait to see the Big Apple. Are you from the East Coast? Contact Carrie at carrie.coxon@alaska.edu.

- Lael

Back from travels!

Hey again, righteous fans!

This is Joe again from the UAF Office of Admissions. I just thought I would take a couple of moments to write a blog about my recent trip to the Eastern part of this country. I just got back from a week of high school and individual visits in Michigan and Pennsylvania (and this was pre-November 4th, so the political atmosphere was intense). In Michigan, everything was going pretty great. I ran into a whole bunch of students who were interested in our Biology programs, our Hockey team, our Natural Resource Management progam, and our Marine Biology MS and PhD Programs. Overall, the enthusiasm of the students, families, teachers and counselors in favor of UAF was wonderful.

Now, it wasn't all fun: When I was supposed to fly from Musekgon (Western MI), the whole airport was fogged in, so I had to re-rent a car, and speed across the state to Detroit so I could catch my connecting flight from Detroit to Pittsburgh. Then, when I got to Pittsburgh, I found out my hotel was actually an hour drive away from the Airport. (and my rental had a funny smell, for some reason). But, after that, things went pretty well.

But hey, pop quiz: what excitement just recently occured in the state of Pennsylvania? That's right, the Phillies winning the World series for the first time in 28 years. Does Philly know how to party? Well, it would appear they do. They actually had a city wide celebration and parade on the 31st, which was the day that I was in Philly. Now dig this: the parade route went down 21st and Market, and my hotel room was overlooking 22nd and Market. I actually got to watch the Phillies' float drive by from my window. It was awesome.

In Pennsylvania, I also received a lot of postive reactions to UAF. Mostly I was asked questions about Engineering, Physics, Liberal Arts, and such. Again, the positive attitude present in the schools was very heart-warming. One of the schools in Allentown was so excited to have me at the school, I actually wound up giving the presentation in their auditorium, and they took photos for their yearbook (which I wish I had asked for copies of, in retrospect)!
Anyway, I know this is longer than I initially meant for it to be, but it's all good information and/or in good fun. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the next exciting adventure of Joe in Admission Land!


Prometheus Bound in the Philadelphia Museum of Art


I was even able to find Nanooks in Pennsylvania!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fair in Fairbanks

Hello again, every people!
Joe here, and I wanna tell you a little bit about the Fair in Fairbanks. The Tanana Valley State Fair is one of the fun events in Fairbanks which occurs during the first week of August every year. As with most fairs, this is an opportunity to ride the rides, see the sites, and eat some delicious food. Among other things, one of the things that the Fairbanks fair is known for is ginormous vegetables. We have the midnight sun in the summer, so they grow pretty darn big.
And of course, my personal favorite is the wildlife. When I was a kid, I always thought seeing ducks and sheep and such was boring, but now I think it's awesome! Go figure, eh? Anyway, I hope you like the photos, and stay tuned for more of my adventures in the near future!
Hello, all!

This is Joe, and I know it's been along time since I last posted, so I'm sorry. Let's pretend it's a couple of months ago so I can tell you about my trip to Pittsburgh. I went to Pitt in July to attend the National Student Recruitment Conference. I learned all about how to make our university more interesting and fun for our students and our prospective students. If you are interested in learning more about our student recruitment program, check out our Ambassador website.

While I was in Pittsburgh, I took the time to take in some of the sites, sounds, and smells. I climbed to the top of the Cathedral of Learning (no elevators for me, thank you very much!), visited the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History, and went to see of Pirates game at PNC Park. Overall, it was pretty great, and afforded me an opportunity to take some great pictures. Enjoy!



Yup, that's an actual Claude Monet in the Carnegie. Beautiful, huh?

This is me at PNC Park, the most beautiful ball park in the country. :)

This is me eating a sandwich called a Hermenes. It's a concoction of burger, cole slaw, and fries. Not that great, but I had to try it, anyway :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

New Team Member!

Hi Everyone!!!

My name’s Brandon Ilgen, and I’m the newest member of UAF Admissions Counselor team, though I’m not new to the university itself. I’m a two time graduate of UAF - I have a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics, minor in Natural Resources Management, and a Bachelor’s degree in English – and was involved with a wide range of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities during my time as a student at UAF. I came to Fairbanks from the high-mountain deserts of western Colorado, and my wife, Nastia (short for Anastasia), came here from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskii, Russia. She’s currently working on her Ph.D. in environmental chemistry. We both consider Fairbanks home, now. I have lots of stories to share about life at America’s Arctic University, and am really excited to hear your stories and about your hopes for the future.

Jessica, Ginny, Joe, Lael and the rest of the Admissions staff have given me a warm welcome here at the office – they’re still showing me the ropes. It’s a strong team, and everyone’s dedicated to helping students find their place at UAF, and I’m glad to be part of that mission.

If you have any questions about anything, drop me a note at brandon.ilgen@alaska.edu.

* Photos by Todd Paris

Monday, August 4, 2008

Learning to tie a square knot for my harness for repelling.

Yes, that is me! A week ago I had the opportunity to visit Fort Lewis in Washington for an Educator's Visit to the ROTC Leadership Development Assesment Course. I learned so much about the ROTC program and even got to try out some of the trainings cadets go through. This picture is me in full chemical warfare gear. For more information on the ROTC program here at UAF, visit: http://www.uaf.edu/ROTC/ or contact Major Kelly Nichols at rotc@uaf.edu

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fishing in Homer for the 4th of July

For the Forth of July weekend I drove down to Homer, Alaska which takes about 10 hours if you go straight from Fairbanks. I made a stop in Anchorage to visit a friend and spend the night so that I could get into Homer the next day in the early afternoon. Here are some of my favorite photos from the ride down:

Denali in all of it's glory (not a cloud in the sky!)

Ginny in all of her glory (w/ Denali in the background)

Funny cell phone tourists

Here's an amazing glacier as seen from the bedroom window of Junee's, the Bed & Breakfast I visited for 2 nights.

Here's a picture of me and June, the woman who ran the B&B that spent 2 nights. Would you believe she's 80-years-young!

June is an amazing woman who spent an entire evening knitting and telling me about her goldmining parents in the early 1900's and even made sourdough pancakes for breakfast with starter her mother brought across the Chilkoot trail! There's even a framed photo in her house of her father with 12 POUNDS of gold, back when it was only $35 an ounce. [Today's price: $959 an ounce.]

During the trip I walked "the Spit" and visited multiple coffee shops, old bookstores, bakeries and art galleries. Saturday morning my friends and I got up at 5am to get ready to be at the dock for our Charter at 6:30am. We took a boat with our captain Ben and two other guys who signed up last-minute on our charter. It was tons of fun!

Here's me and my second catch of the day, a 32 lb. Halibut. It was hard work getting this bad boy up and I had the bruises and sore arms to prove it. But man, was it worth it!

...and the video to prove that it was ALL ME BABY!

What a successful day!

Our fish getting filleted with the mountains and ocean just feet away!

It was a fantastic trip, a relaxing vacation and a beautiful place. It's hard to believe that a place this beautiful is just hours away from the University that I attended and now work. Alaska is such a cool place!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rock-n-Roll Nanooks!

ROCK ON, NANOOKS!  I am Katie Murra, the Recruitment and Retention Coordinator for the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.  On June 1st, I RAN my first marathon- the Rock-n-Roll marathon in San Diego, CA!! (technically, I finished the Fairbanks Equinox marathon several years ago, but for some reason, thought it was perfectly acceptable to do zero training (save my fieldwork in Kodiak) and barely managed to claw, spit, and limp my way to the finish line).  This marathon was an incredible experience and I was proud to display my UAF pride (see photo of customized, vintage UAF race jersey).

If you have any questions about the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, make sure you get in touch with me! murra@sfos.uaf.edu.

We offer exceptional academic programs at both the undergraduate (B.A., B.S., minor in Fisheries) and graduate levels (M.S., Ph.D. in Fisheries, Oceanography, Marine Biology, Seafood Science and Nutrition), and would love to have you join us.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Time!

Summer time in Alaska is beautiful, especially in Fairbanks. Because of our geographic location, we have the good fortune of having nice long, warm, sunny summer days. Actually, this weekend we are celebrating Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. We will have over 21 hours of daylight! Because of the amount of daylight we are able to grow big beautiful flowers and the UAF campus is gorgeous. This is a picture of my favorite, the Dahlia. Some of these dahlias get as big as a dinner plate! This one is just outside of Signers' hall, where the Admissions Office is located.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Goodbye for Now

Well, this is my last post. I am leaving Alaska for a time to pursue my graduate education in Organizational Communication. It has been great fun and such a time of growth for me working in this office and getting to know so many students over the past three years. My wife and I aren't sure where we'll end up after grad school but we're not selling our house in Fairbanks, so maybe we'll see you here again in a while. Until then, good luck--Ad Summum!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Midnight Sun Game

Dear All,

One of the things that Fairbanks is most famous for is being the "Land of the Midnight Sun." The reason we are called this is, not surprisingly, there is a time of year in Fairbanks where the sun doesn't set, and it stays bright all day long. We're located only 160 miles from the Arctic Circle, so it's understandable to expect some interesting weather here. Naturally, the most dramatic example of this phenomenon is the Summer Solstice. This year, Summer Solstice will occur on Saturday, June 21st, and it will be met with a wide variety of celebration throughout the city. Without a doubt, this is the biggest holiday of the year in Fairbanks, and the one of greatest interest to those who have never been here.

I would like to take a moment to tell you all a little bit about one of my favorite Summer Solstice traditions: The Midnight Sun Game played annually by the Alaska Goldpanners. The Midnight Sun Game has occured annually since 1906. The event itself is hard to describe in words. The game begins at 10:30 PM, pauses briefly at Midnight for the singing of Alaska's Flag Song, and continues until play is concluded, often around 2 AM.

The game begins as the sun is just beginning to wane, and concludes with dawn already passed. In this period of time, the entire area is illuminated entirely by the sun. Although the sun may have officially set, in Fairbanks in Summer, it never goes away. Artificial light has never been used to light this event (and never will).

This is definitely an event for those who are fans of Baseball. It has been listed as one of Sports Illustrated top 10 things for a Baseball fan to do before they die, and it deserves the praise. Again, it's hard to describe. The event is simply surreal. I know that I'll be there, and if you have a chance, I highly recommend you check it out.

Thanks for reading, my legion of loyal fans, and remember to keep on rockin' and don't stop 'till you get enough!


PS: Photo Credits to http://www.goldpanners.com/. Thanks for letting me use it!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The UAF Bookfest!

Dear all,

Hello again, and many apologies for the long delay between my posts to this blog. For all of my loyal readers, I will make sure that for the rest of the summer I will be posting on a much more regular basis. But, for now, on to business!

This weekend is the UAF second annual Book Festival! This is an opportunity put on this year and last (and hopefully to infinity and beyond) by the UAF Summer Sessions Office as an opportunity for people in the community of Fairbanks and students of the University to get together and meet some of Alaska's most celebrated authors. Attendees can meet and learn from professional novelists, poets, and comic writers, just to name a few genres!

With all of this razzle dazzle, I'm sure the questions you're asking yourself is, "How much can I expect to pay for such an amazing opportunity?" The Answer: nothing! It's all absolutely free! So what are you waiting for? Come on up and meet the experts and have a blast. The festival is going on through Saturday, June 14th. Tell them Joe sent you, and you just may get a free ice cream cone (but more likely, you'll just get a funny look).
If you want more information about the 2nd Annual Book Festival, click here. Thanks for reading, and, until next time, keep on rockin' and don't stop 'till you get enough!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Last Friday was Hope's last day here in Admissions and we were all very sad to see her go. Of course we wish Hope the very best in Iowa so in honor of her big move, Charlie wrote a little song for her. The song is to the tune of the "Jefferson's" theme if you can't hear it. Enjoy! We miss you already Hope!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Only in Alaska...

is any other explanation really needed?

Alaska... where cars must yield to Aircraft, Dog Teams and Children...


I know you can't really see him... but trust me, it's him.

Last Thursday night a legend made his presence known in Fairbanks, Alaska. He played at the Carlson Center (where all the home Nanook Hockey games are played) for over 2-hours to a jam-packed house of over 6,500 people! I heard that it was the largest crowd that the CC has ever had! I didn't even know it held that much.

It was an amazing concert. The seats weren't FANTASTIC, but to be even as close as I was for a ticket less than his normal $600-something bucks was phenomenal. The sound, lighting, camera work, and music was all amazing. I couldn't believe the level of quality that they brought to little ol' Fairbanks. It was a concert that I won't forget for a very long time!

Just a taste of the full experience!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

There's nothing like a rainy sunset

Living in Fairbanks there are countless beautiful moments that keep me in awe.... The first snow of the season, the ice frost in the air on a -40F day, a mama moose and her babies eating in my front yard, the first leaves of spring... but nothing can compare to a rainy night sunset.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Admissions Counselor Racing

UAF's admissions counselors are ready to do what it takes to help you find out if UAF is for you, as you can clearly see below--we go the distance!


The first leaf buds began peeking out a month or more ago, but we are now enjoying the greenery of spring/summer in full swing. It's quite remarkable to watch the transition from winter wonderland to sunny greenery. Here are a few photos of the birch and rosehip leaves around my neighborhood.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The First Counselor BBQ of the summer

Warm temperatures this past weekend required all of us to get together for a BBQ and bonefire. Here we are enjoying the sunshine (along with Charlie's son). Oh yeah, and I had to include a picture of Jessica's pup Sinder- look at how big she's getting!

Admissions Counselor Racing

Check out the racing skills for our Admissions Counselors!

BTW--This is what happens when students leave for the summer.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Congratulations Hope, Joe, Megan, Jennifer, and Nicole!!

Hurray! We had a great turn out for Commencement this year including several Admissions Office staff and students who earned their degrees. We are so proud! Here is a picture of Hope that perfectly depicts our excitement here at the Admissions Office. Hope earned her Masters in Professional Communication. Congratulations!!

The Famous Tradition Stone!!

This past weekend was Commencement and that reminded me of the many "traditions" of UAF. There are four actually, Starvation Gulch, Spring Fest, International Education Week and Winter Carnival. Behind every tradition lies the Tradition Stone. This stone goes way back in UAF history and makes an appearance at Starvation Gulch every year. Through all my years at UAF I had never seen the stone until this year. This stone is quite large and heavy yet every year, it is stolen away. The owner of the stone in years past has been the fire department and the fraternity and it changes hands many times. It is usually heavily guarded to prevent it from being stolen each year, so I was very excited to see the stone and have my picture taken with it. That is Hope in the picture with me. For more information about UAF Traditions, visit: http://www.alaska.edu/woodcenter/activities/traditions/

For more information on the Tradition Stone, visit: http://www.uaf.edu/sunstar/archives/20040928/tradition.htm OR http://www.alaska.edu/opa/eInfo/index.xml?StoryID=198

UAF engineering students are second to none!

We were so proud of our 2008 steel bridge contest team for taking first place in the Northwest regional competition! The ASCE/AISC Steel Bridge Contest challenges students from top engineering programs across the country to create a design for a steel bridge that can hold 2,500 pounds in any of 36 different arrangements. At competition, each team then must assemble its bridge as quickly as possible. UAF's team this year incorporated a brand new joint mechanism that makes their bridge stronger, allows it to be lighter, and makes it possible to assemble much more quickly than other designs. While most teams use five or six people to assemble their bridge, UAF's team uses only four people. Not only did the team win overall, they also placed first in lightness and economy, as well as second place in aesthetics and efficiency. The team heads to the national competition in Florida later this month. Want to see them assemble it? Check out our newsroom video. Check back here later for an update on the team's results at nationals.

Congratulations to the Graduates of 2008!!!

I'm a graduation junkie, let's just put it out there. I LOVE watching students, friends, and co-workers in their proudest moment. I LOVE seeing the butterflies in students stomachs as they look out into the crowd searching for family and friends. I LOVE listening to Pomp and Circumstance play as graduates filter into the floor, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the balloon drop.

This Sunday (Mother's Day) over 1,000 UAF students became UAF Alumni, including a few of our own! Hope, Joe, Jennifer and Nicole walked across the stage in the Carlson Center to receive their diplomas. It was an exciting and fun time. I couldn't believe how many people I knew graduating. I felt so proud to see so many students I've worked with over the years as Orientation Leaders, Ambassadors, Student Employees, and fellow students.

Congratulations Graduates! Good luck in everything that you choose to do in the future!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Shidara Taiko!

Hello All!

Taiko, Hajimare! Let's Taiko, everyone! On last Wednesday night I went to a workshop/performance of the Shidara Taiko drumming group in Herring Auditorium. The group hails from Okumikawa, Japan and trains for approximately 12 hours day to perfect their drumming (holy cow!). Let me just say that the training showed: their performance was astonishing. The audience was also allowed to participate in the workshop section of the performance. So, there I found myself, banging away on the drums with all my heart. I imagine I looked quite silly, but it was still awesome. This group is just one of many great groups brought up to perform in Fairbanks by the Fairbanks Concert Association. I wasn't able to take any pictures, (flash photography was prohibited) but trust me when I say it was quite spectacular. Thanks for reading, and I'll post soon about Free Comic Book Day! Cheers!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Zero Gravity at UAF

UAF students get a lot of chances to take their learning outside the classroom, designing and building rockets, ice arches, and steel bridges (to name just a few projects)--but some students even get outside the pull of gravity. A group of UAF engineering students designed an experiment that was tested on NASA's Weightless Wonder (aka "The Vomit Comet"), a special jet that climbs to 35,000 feet then plunges down at a 45 degree angle--repeating this process 30 times. In between each rise and fall, the jet's passengers experience 25 seconds of weightlessness as the plane makes an arc over the top of the earth with its engines slowed to an idle. It's one more way students are getting a one-of-a-kind experience at a one-of-a-kind school. Check out http://www.uaf.edu/asgp/microgravity/ to learn more!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blood Drive at UAF

Hello, all!

Hey everybody, Joe here! I just wanted to let you all know about the blood drive that happened at UAF last Friday. I really should have told you about it when you still had a chance to head down and donate blood, but that's neither here nor there. The bottom line is that giving blood is a good thing to do: you feel great because you're providing a valuable service, and you get free cookies! When I went on Friday, I totally got to chow down on some oreos. It was sweet. Just so you all know, the blood bank does blood drives at UAF every year, so keep your eyes peeled! Thanks for reading, and y'all have a nice day!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fourteen High Schools in Four Days!!!

Jessica and I just got back from a whirl-wind five-day trip to Anchorage where 4 of them were spent driving around like maniacs trying to meet with as many students as possible from the south side of Anchorage to Houston. It was a great chance to catch up with all the counselors (those who made it to our Counselor Reception and those who are holding out hope for an invite to next spring's event) and get officially introduced, seeing as how I am taking over the Anchorage are of recruiting for UAF.

Here's the list of the high schools we visited last week:
  1. Palmer High School
  2. Service High School
  3. South High School
  4. East High School
  5. West High School
  6. Wasilla High School
  7. Matsu Career Technical High School
  8. Houston High School
  9. Eagle River High School
  10. Chugiak High School
  11. King Career Center
  12. Diamond High School
  13. Bartlett High School
  14. ....hmmmm, I know I'll think of this last one later...
Anyway, it was a fantastic trip where we got a chance to meet some really amazing students, and not to mention some pretty cool kids (and parents).

Day 5 consisted of an all day table-manning expedition at the IDEA fair for home schooled students.

Check out my sweet table setup where over the course of the day over 18-inches of snow fell while I sat there contemplating HOW AM I EVER GOING TO GET TO THE AIRPORT IN ONE PIECE!?!?! (in a rental car even!)
I got to the airport about 5 hours early, but at least my flight wasn't canceled and I got to sleep in my own bed that night... in one piece!

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to come out and talk to Jessica and I. It made the trip totally worth-while and a-w-e-s-o-m-e. EXTREMELY exhausting... but AWESOME none the less. Thank you.