Monday, February 23, 2009

Hello Readers! This week I wanted to blog/brag about a cool event I attended this weeked hosted by our College of Engineering and Mines and Flint Hills. This weekend was the High School Robotics State Championship. Teams from high schools all over the state designed and built their very own robots and brought them here to UAF to compete against each other. The robots earned points by collecting plastic pucks and dumping them into a basket in the center of the ring all while navigating obstacles and other robots in the ring. The winning team, East High School, will now go to Atlanta, Georgia along with their partner team from Lathrop High School to compete in the World Robotics Championships. Good luck teams!

Monday, February 16, 2009

International Research Opportunities

Being at UAF, it's easy to be inspired. I was reading today that one of our professors, Dr. Katey Walter, was just named one of National Geographic’s ten Emerging Explorers for 2009. You can read National Geographic's profile of her on their website. Katie conducts her research in Alaska and Russia, studying methane released from thawing permafrost. Katie did her Ph.D. at UAF, and at the time, her dissertation received the nation's highest honor. Katie's research demonstrates the important role that UAF plays in addressing circumpolar issues that ultimately impact the entire world.

Update: Here's an LA Times story about Dr. Katey Walter that ran after my initial post. The story includes the following video.

By the way, if your interested in joining in on research in remote places in Alaska and Russia, Dr. Pavel Izbekov of UAF, and former UAF professor, John Eichelberger of the Volcano Hazards Program, USGS, will be leading two trips as part of UAF Summer Sessions to study volcanoes in Katmai National Park, in southwest Alaska, and on the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia. The International Volcanological Field School is held every year and is open to both undergraduate and graduate students alike. I've included some photos below from my trip to Kamchatka in the summer of 2006 to help my wife, Anastasia, gather samples for her research. They're from the same areas that the Field School takes place.

Mutnovsky Volcano on a clear August day. Mutnovsky is one of the volcanoes students explore as part of the International Volcanological Field School.

The whole region is dominated by active volcanoes, making for dramatic views and intense back-country hiking.

As part of my duties as Anastasia's research assistant, I helped gather water samples from geothermal springs and glacial runoff.

Despite it's remote location, and potential hazards, scores of extreme adventurers from around Russian and the world make their way up treacherous path to Mutnosky's crater every year.

Monday, February 9, 2009

College Goal Sunday!

Hey UA Fans!

This is Joe from Admissions, again. College Goal Sunday was this past Sunday, and I was lucky enough to get to volunteer to help at the Fairbanks event. This is a nationwide event with the goal of encouraging and assisting students and parents in filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA is your key to thousands upon thousands of dollars in Financial Aid for college.

We had spectacular turnout at the event, and we were on the radio advertising it as much as we could. I got to be the lucky announcer person on the live broadcast with KWLF (that's "K-Wolf") who was enthusiastically encouraging students to fill out the FAFSA! If you heard my broadcast, I am not yet so famous that I won't sign autographs ^_^

In all seriousness, though, this was a great event and a great opportunity to find out more about getting the money you need to go to college. If you have questions, the most important thing you can do is ask them. If you'd like to speak to anyone in the UAF Financial Aid Office, feel free to visit their website by clicking here, or email them at The nice folks at the Alaska Commision on Post-Secondary Education have also posted a video online with instructions for filling out the FAFSA. Check it out by clicking here.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day. Remember, if you have questions about college, the best thing you can do is ask them. Have a great week!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

There's no place like Nome!

I took the 6 am flight to Anchorage this morning en route to Nome, Alaska for the Nome Career Day (Monday, Febrary 9th). It is not unusual to see beautiful sights during a flight between destinations in Alaska. On many a trip I have watched the Aurora Borealis paint the sky with beautiful green waves that dance majestically next to the plane. During the daylight hours it is not uncommon to capture a glimpse at Mt. McKinley (Denali). Suddenly you hear a rush of excitement among the passengers (tourists and Alaskans alike), and hear the cameras clicking snapshots of the beautiful mountain usually hidden by the clouds but easily visible above 10,000 feet.

This morning as I looked out the window during the early morning flight I was struck by how beautiful and bright the moon was in the dark sky. Although it will be daylight on my way to Nome, I am looking forward to the seeing the beautiful landscapes and mountain ranges which lie ahead.

One of the many views I've seen during my travels in Alaska.

Nome is located on the west coast of Alaska; just a hop, skip and a jump from the Bering Sea.

On Nome's website they tout that "There is no place like Nome!" I was curious, so I checked out their web cam and photo gallery. I have to say it does look like a pretty special place. A couple of things I learned as I browsed their site:
  • Nome is Alaska's oldest continuous first class city, incorporated on April 9, 1901
  • Nome is located on the south coast of the Seward Peninsula facing Norton Sound, part of the Bering Sea
  • The city is the commercial hub of northwestern Alaska, as well as the site for the finish of the 1049-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Anchorage each March.
I have a lot to look forward to! If you're a Nome resident, I look forward to seeing you in Nome!

Caty and me travelling to Dillingham, Alaska

Friday, February 6, 2009

Power Shift is coming!

Dear fellow shifters,

Hello, this is Joe from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Office of Admissions again. Just wanted to give a quick post about a meeting I sat in on last night. The meeting was sponsored by the upcoming Power Shift event which will be happening in Washington DC at the end of February. This is an opportunity for people all over the country to come together to share their thoughts, concerns and hopes for the future of the environment. I was impressed to see such a wide variety of students attending this meeting on campus. It seemed like a real community event. Parents with their children attended, undergraduates, graduates, staff members, and more were present. I was impressed with the dedication to the environment, and I can only hope that the response was as positive on other campuses throughout the nation and world. I know that some students and community members from Fairbanks will be attending, and I hope that many more attend. I won't be able to attend, unfortunately, but I will be following the event and related events closely. Remember, that's!

Thanks for reading, and have a great day. I'll post again soon about some more excitement!