Tuesday, December 21, 2010

UAF reindeer researcher takes his job home with him


Nancy Tarnai


Thoughts of reindeer are not limited to the Christmas season for George Aguiar; in fact the creatures are pretty much a year-round, 24/7 obsession.

Photo by Nancy Tarnai. 
George Aguiar cares for his reindeer in the Goldstream Valley.
Reindeer are the focus of Aguiar’s job and his graduate work at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and when he gets home each night, he has his own reindeer to care for. A research coordinator for the Reindeer Research Program, he is working on a master’s degree in natural resources management and geography. His research focuses on how meat quality is affected by freezing and storage time.

But to call Aguiar, 32, single minded wouldn’t be right; he plays guitar, skijors, gardens, runs and rides snowmachines, motorcycles and mountain bikes.

Aguiar grew up in Turlock, Calif., on a large dairy farm where his father was the herdsman and Aguiar raised his own cows, goats, rabbits and a pig. His family arrived in California from the Azores Islands and Aguiar didn’t learn to speak English till he was 5. “Our family traditions had to do with providing food,” Aguiar said. “Once a year we would have a big feast and kill a pig and make sausage. There would be dances and wine.”

His childhood brought him to realize the importance of food production. “We have to get food to the table and it doesn’t come from a grocery store,” he said.

Aguiar decided at a young age that he wanted to incorporate his ethics and ideas into how animals should be treated. “You know the end result but still you have respect for the animal,” he said.

While Aguair was attending a community college in California he hauled cattle and worked in the veal industry. In 2002 he headed to Alaska to try something new, enrolling in the UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences and persistently applying to work for the Reindeer Research Program until he got hired.

Although Aguiar had never seen a reindeer (“except on TV”) he quickly learned they were very suitable livestock for Alaska. He credits RRP manager, Greg Finstad, his supervisor and advisor, with teaching him an enormous amount about reindeer.

The more Aguiar worked with the animals the more determined he became to raise his own. Due to the Reindeer Act of 1937, this was harder than it first appeared. Only Alaska Natives can own Alaska reindeer so Aguiar and a friend tackled it another way; they went to Canada. Aguiar’s buddy took care of the truck and trailer and Aguiar signed up for the paperwork. “The more I investigated the harder it seemed to be,” he said. He wrote, called and e-mailed the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. There were permits and health certificates and vaccines to take care of. After a nearly endless nightmare of bureaucratic entanglements, the time finally arrived in August 2009 when the two men drove to British Columbia to pick up 11 deer.

Things went smoothly until they got to the checkpoint to re-enter Alaska. After driving 20 hours the guys were anxious to get home and let the animals out of the trailer, but the border guard at Northway had other ideas.

“I was cool and confident,” Aguiar recalled. “I had done all the paperwork.”

Told they could not bring animals into the country without representation by a customs broker, the fledgling reindeer producers had to backtrack down the road a bit and spend all night faxing paperwork to a total stranger. Just when they were considering giving up and perhaps even slaughtering the animals to try to recoup some of their investment, the process finally clicked and they got home.

Aguiar had built an eight-foot enclosure for his six reindeer on his Goldstream Valley property but he was a nervous wreck that they might run off or stray dogs

Photo by Nancy Tarnai. 
Three of George Aguiar’s reindeer convene at the feeding trough on a cold winter day. Reindeer are so well adapted to the harsh Alaska environment that they eat half the amount of food in the winter that they do in the summer, unlike traditional livestock who must increase their caloric intake to deal with the cold.

would attack them so he spent the first few days nearly camped out in the pens.

As for the agonizing trip, Aguiar said he doesn’t think he could do it again but he’s glad he made the effort that one time. “I’ll work with what I have,” he said. Two calves were born this year and he is looking forward to more next spring. His one regret about the Canada trip was that he wishes he’d bought more animals while he was there.

Eventually Aguiar hopes to build up his ranchette of four acres to be able to sell breeding stock and “crank out meat animals.” He would also like to get a little piece of the agritourism business.

Aguiar enjoys reindeer meat, especially when it is thinly sliced and cooked in butter with salt and pepper. “It’s just simple,” he said. “Hot and fast is the way I like it.” He touts the research that reindeer meat is high in protein and low in fat, but cautions that chefs should not overcook it.

In addition to his reindeer herd, Aguiar raises rabbits, chickens and turkeys. “There’s something about raising animals and being connected to your food source,” Aguiar said. “There is something fulfilling in that.”

One of his greatest challenges is the high cost of animal feed. He purchases locally grown brome hay, a pelleted mixed ration feed, barley and oats. In the summer the reindeer diet is supplemented with fireweed and willow that Aguiar gathers from roadsides. The deer eat twice as much in the summer as they do in winter, a key factor in their near-perfect adaptation to Alaska’s harsh environment. “Traditional livestock generally eat more to cope with cold,” Aguiar said.

Someday Aguiar hopes more farmers will raise reindeer. “It’s no more different than caring for a cow or horse or pig,” he said. “You just feed and water them, vaccinate them and treat for parasites.” He finds his reindeer are mostly mild mannered and calm. “A lot of it has to do with how they are handled,” he said. “Minimize the stress and keep their basic needs met.”

In his job Aguiar worked for two years with 4-H students, teaching them to raise and care for reindeer. This project led to the first market reindeer shown at a fair in the country.

His advice for wannabes? “Don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do it if you really want to do it. You must have the proper infrastructure. Make sure you are educated in nutritional requirements and husbandry.

“And make sure you have enough money for feed.”

This column is provided as a service by the UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences and the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. Nancy Tarnai is the school and station’s public information officer. She can be reached at ntarnai@alaska.edu.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rats Off Highlights UAF

Rats Off, a blog that has been mentioned on both the Today Show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, recently featured the photo Todd Paris took of a sundog from UAF's campus that we featured in an earlier post. Just another example of UAF making national headlines, this time for our stunning location.

To see the whole post on Rats Off, click here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Movie Magic

Every year my family and I make a holiday movie to send out to our friends and family. Because I consider you prospective Nanooks my friends, and because there is a lot of Fairbanks scenery, I thought I'd share. Keep your eye out for the shots of campus (including reindeer!) and if you can tell the difference between scenes shot at 11 degrees above zero and those shot at -20.

The Kreta's 2010 Holiday Movie from Mary Kreta on Vimeo.

If you have any questions about locations or some of my amazing dance moves, send me an email at mary.kreta@alaska.edu

I hope you all have a productive end of semester and safe winter break.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sun Dogs!

Photo of yesterday's sun dog by Todd Paris, UAF Marketing and Communications

There are three things about a Fairbanks winter that make me all aflutter: 1) the Aurora Borealis, which I fawned over in a previous post; 2) the ice and snow that cover every twig on every branch on every tree, every day, all winter, which I am certain to wax poetic about sometime soon; and 3) the sun dogs, the topic of today's post.

Yesterday felt like the first day of real winter and the thermometer hung out around -20 degrees. I gave a campus tour and, as we walked around campus, the man I was with had ice on his eyelashes. Yesterday also gave us the first great sun dog of the season.

Ned Rozell, with the help of UAF's atmospheric scientist Ken Sassen, explain the sun dog phenomenon as, "plate-like ice crystals" that reflect "sunlight from their flat sides and create columns of light that extend from the sun to the ground." Sassen adds that "the two colored bands are there because light gets refracted." To read the entire article, which contains a more detailed explanation, click here.

I think I love sun dogs so much because they are so unique to the arctic and they can't see them anywhere else. It just goes to show, we really are defined by our location.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Earn 3 credits in 2 weeks!

January 3-14, 2011
WINTERmester is an excellent opportunity to take a three-credit course before Spring Semester 2011 begins.

WINTERmester credit courses are intensive, meeting five days a week, January 3-14. Many credit courses require reading to be completed prior to the start of class. Check for the course syllabi link on this page and get your textbooks at the campus bookstore before leaving for break.
Registration for WINTERmester is available at uaonline.alaska.edu or at the Summer Sessions and Lifelong Learning secure registration form or by using the In-Person Registration Form for students as follows:
  • November 8 - Online registration available for continuing UAF students.
  • November 10 - Registration open for all students.
WINTERmester payment must be completed by January 3. Students with guaranteed financial aid for spring semester will have payment applied to their account on January 10 without late fee.
Registering for a 100 or 200 level WINTERmester course requires a 2.5 gpa.
Dorm housing is available. Contact Residence Life for information and reservations at 907-474-7247  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Exactly is Broomball?

Broomball is one of UAF's most popular - and fun - intramural sports, but many students arrive on campus with no idea what it is or how to play it. UAF's student newspaper, the Sun Star, came to the rescue when they recently ran this piece covering the Broomball basics.

Late Night Sweeping

By JR Ancheta
Sun Star Reporter

Looking for something to do at night? Broomball is a late night activity that is growing in popularity. Envisioning athletes running after a ball with a normal heavy-duty broom is a reasonable concept, but often is inaccurate. “It’s basically just like hockey,” said Matt Anderson, a junior. “Except there’s no puck, no hockey sticks, and [no] skates.” Broomball is played on the ice rink at the Patty Center in the evenings from 10:30-12:30.

Davida Isaacs from Southeast Alaska, Prince of Wales Island runs accross the ice Monday Nov-8. "I've never been on ice before and I like to run" Isaacs said. JR Ancheta / UAF Sun Star

Broomball is a mélange of different sports such as lacrosse and soccer, but hockey remains its most predominant influence. Each team has six players, which includes a goalie, on the ice at a time but has the option to rotate players any time. Helmets are the only mandatory gear, but shin and knee protection are encouraged. Unlike hockey, slipping and falling are very common.

“All you need is experience,” said Matt Nyholm, a junior. “The more you play the better you get.” He said that having some soccer experience is an advantage in passing the ball. “Dexterity, coordination, and especially balance sure helps,” Nyholm said.

Whether it is the opportunity to meet new people or to try something new, broomball lures many to create teams and compete. “I’ve never been on ice before and I like to run,” said David Isaacs, a freshman from a remote Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska.

Tamara “T” Dale, an exchange student from England, said she took up the sport, “because I’m only here for a semester and I wanted to try everything that was unique to have fun.”

The UAF Intramural Broomball Rules state: “no sliding will be allowed during game play.” This rule was recently enforced and disappointed many broomball players. “[Sliding] made it fun because you could travel a lot faster…[and] had more control…so you could do some stunts that [are] pretty awesome,” Jonathan McMahon said. “Basically, they’ve taken most of the fun out of the game.”

Ruth Olsen, Director of Intramural Sports and the Student Recreation Center said that the “no sliding” rule came into effect numerous years ago due to injuries from the sport Olsen became aware that the rule was not being enforced during a recent captains meeting. It is now enforced for safety and liability issues. “You can go to your knees, they just can’t run five feet, slide in their knees and then hit [the ball] because they have no control,” Olsen said.

Approximately 180 participants in 21 teams are playing this season and Olsen predicts it will continue to be a popular intramural sport. Sliding or not, students continue to be attracted to the sport called broomball.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Last week a student from the Outside (which is what Alaskans call everywhere except Alaska) was sitting in my office and we were chatting about UAF, Fairbanks, and the adventure that awaits her up here. I mentioned the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, to which she responded with a blank stare. I pulled up micrometeorologist's youtube page because trying to explain the Aurora is futile. It is, quite simply, impossible to do them justice.

We both sat transfixed. I've seen the Northern Lights more often than I can count, but my stomach still flip-flops every time I look to find them dancing above me.

Micrometeorologist is really Taro Nakai, a postdoctoral fellow at UAF's International Arctic Research Center. In his spare time he creates phenomenal youtube videos that communicates the overwhelming beauty of the arctic.

This next one is my favorite. In fact, I've watched it a couple of times (okay, 4) while preparing this blog post to, you know, make sure it really was my favorite. It emphatically is.

This final one is another of my favorites because it communicates how vital and exhilarating the winter sun is.

Music student selected for exclusive conducting workshop

From: http://www.uafnews.com/tag/students

Music student selected for exclusive conducting workshop

Emerson Eads
Emerson Eads

University of Alaska Fairbanks music student Emerson Eads is one of 10 people nationwide selected to participate in the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra Conducting Workshop next month.

“This workshop is a terrific opportunity for me, not just because of the teacher, but because of the professional orchestra,” said Emerson, a senior in the music program. “The ability to have podium time with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra is a terrific opportunity. Also, the players vote on who will be selected to return and conduct the orchestra in a performance during the first week of January, so that’s an exciting opportunity.”

He will conduct at a concert Sunday, Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. in the Davis Concert Hall at UAF. The concert will feature the world premiere of his composition, “The Red Balloon Suite,” and a performance of Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 9 ‘Jeunehomme.’” Donations for admission will be accepted at the door.
Son of pianist and composer Emerson Eads Sr., Emerson has been surrounded with music his whole life. He grew up in Delta Junction, where his high school music teacher introduced him to vocal studies, music theory, sight singing, conducting and orchestration. After high school, Emerson earned a bachelor’s degree in history education with a minor in music from Covenant Life College. He taught choir and band at Whitestone High School in Delta Junction for six years before coming to UAF in 2009. During his time in Delta Junction, Emerson also directed the Whitestone Community Choir and the Delta Community Choir.

In addition to his work conducting, Emerson is a vocalist and composer. His resume includes the composition of a seven-minute work, “Homeland,” celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Alaska’s Statehood, which was performed by Opera Fairbanks. He studies with music department faculty members Jaunelle Celaire and Eduard Zilberkant.

“Composition and conducting are both equal passions of mine,” he said. “I love singing and, as much as I’d love to do it all, there aren’t enough hours in the day to devote to it all. I am so grateful to the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Department of Music and the faculty members, who have gone out of their way to foster my musical upbringing in so many ways.”

The Baltimore Chamber Orchestra Conducting Workshop is an acclaimed and highly competitive workshop. Participants work under the supervision of Baltimore Chamber Orchestra music director Markand Thakar to conduct the orchestra in works by Elgar, Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven. Participants range from young professional to advanced pre-professional conductors. Thakar is the co-director of the graduate conducting program at the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where Emerson plans to get his master’s degree.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Life in Fairbanks, by Ben Abbott, Biology and Wildlife graduate student

What follows is a blog entry written by Ben Abbott, a current Biology and Wildlife graduate student which was posted at http://www.bw.uaf.edu/graduates/life-in-fairbanks.php. I think Ben really captures what life is like here in Fairbanks and while it's long, I think it's completely worth the read.

"Please turn off your electronic devices, we are approaching Seattle."
It was mid January and I was moving from Utah to Alaska. James, a guy from Seattle I'd been chatting with, leaned across the aisle. "Just remember to keep your face covered. I went through Fairbanks once in February. Snow was so dry it froze my eyes open."

Until I moved to Fairbanks, I never imagined what life would be like just two degrees shy of the Arctic Circle. Fairbanks sits in the heart of Alaska's interior, combining the comforts of civilization with more than a taste of legitimate frontier living for those who seek it. Though my eyes haven't been flash frozen open by the cold, there's been so much going on that I have hardly closed them since getting here.
Blueberries are plentiful throughout Denali National Park. Photo credit: Todd Paris

What is Fairbanks like?
Search "Fairbanks Alaska" on YouTube and you'll find clips of the northern lights, the midnight sun, "moose walking in back yard" and the obligatory "coffee freezing in MID AIR" trick. A few novelties and eccentricities aside, day to day life isn't as different as you might expect from many other college towns in the U.S.

Fairbanks is the second largest city in Alaska, and the largest city in the interior of Alaska. There are 100,000 people in the metropolitan area (which includes Fairbanks, the city of North Pole, Fox, Ester and the surrounding areas). Downtown Fairbanks boasts a variety of small shops, cafes and restaurants. Ubiquitous store chains like WalMart, Barnes and Noble, Safeway, and Home Depot round out the commercial scene. Though you don't have the same variety you would in a larger city, you can basically find anything you need right here in town.

The Alaska Range makes up the southern view from Fairbanks. Denali (the highest peak in North America) is visible on a clear day from campus. A series of prominent hills (called domes by the locals) surround Fairbanks to the north, east and west. The Tanana River flows along the south side of town, and the Chena River meanders right through the city. Farther to the north the Brooks Range separates the interior from the North Slope and Arctic Ocean. Fairbanks is only at 440 feet above sea level.


Fairbanks is hard to beat as far as outdoor recreation is concerned. In the summertime many residents go berry picking, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, road biking, four wheeling, and trail running. All of these activities are accessible right in town or nearby-no driving required. Basically anything you can do outside anywhere you can do here. The only difference is, with constant light, you can do it 24 hours a day.

Spring and fall bring bird migrations. Creamer's Field, the site of a historic dairy between the university and downtown, is the stopping point for thousands of Sandhill Cranes, Canada Geese and other migrating birds.
In the winter you can go cross country skiing, snow shoeing, dog sledding, skijoring, ice climbing, snow machining, snow biking, swimming (indoors or at Chena Hot Springs), running or check out the ice sculptures around town.

If you're looking to get out of town, Denali National Park, Gates of the Arctic National Park, and many state parks are within driving distance from Fairbanks. For both summer and winter activities there are quite a few community organizations planning expeditions, events, and adventures. The Outdoor Adventures program located in the Wood Center at UAF organizes trips and activities throughout the year.

Cultural scene

Living in Fairbanks, you have access to some of the most breathtaking and pristine wilderness in the world. That said, Fairbanks is more than just a base camp for expedition; it's also a nice place to live.
For a town this size, Fairbanks boasts an impressive portfolio of restaurants, cafés and dining establishments. Plenty of American, Mexican, Italian, Korean, Japanese and Chinese diners along with a whopping seven Thai restaurants populate the Fairbanks culinary scene. It's also worth visiting the "northernmost" Denny's, Pizza Hut, McDonalds etc.

Perhaps partially due to the long winters and frenetic summers, the Fairbanks community is very active, with frequent festivals, parties, lectures, races and other events. Every Wednesday and Saturday through the summer the Tanana Valley Farmer's Market brings together local artisans, craftspeople, growers and performers. Fairbanks has an active music and theater scene, which includes the Fairbanks Concert Association, Opera Fairbanks, several dance companies, the world's "northernmost" Shakespearian company and an excellent symphony orchestra. Part of Fairbank's charm is the mix of tuxedos, dresses, and Carhartts you'll see at any of these events. If there is a dress code in town it appears to be overalls, down jackets, and Xtratuffs.

Besides providing a stage for homegrown talent, local venues, including the Blue Loon and Pioneer Park attract a wide range of national and international artists. In the last few years alone Fairbanks has seen Elton John, Snoop Dogg, Cake, and the Wailin Jennys to name a few.


The first thing I thought of when thinking about moving to Alaska was the climate. Never having experienced anything colder that a few degrees below zero, -30°F sounded menacing and -50°F sounded impossible. Now that I've been through a few winters I can say, yes it does get cold and dark here, and yes life does go on in the winter.

While things do get cold in Fairbanks (it usually hits -50°F at least once each winter), the town's low elevation and far inland location make for calm and dry conditions. The snow comes gradually. There are usually only a few storms a year that drop more than a couple inches of snow. Fairbanks is a land of extreme temperatures but surprisingly mild weather. Staying active through the winter is key to staying happy and healthy.

By May things have usually thawed out. Summer brings long days, warm temperatures, and an incredible burst of activity and growth. For most of the summer (June-August) the sun is only below the horizon for a few hours and even then things never get completely dark. Summer temperatures are typically in the 50-80°F range and commonly sustain around 70°F for weeks on end.
The Alaska Range looms over Fairbanks on a frigid January afternoon. Photo credit: Todd Paris


Due largely to high shipping costs and a long heating season, the cost of living in Fairbanks is 16.5% above the U.S. average . For a place with running water, you can expect to pay $800-1,200 a month. Campus housing is convenient and competitively priced, with utilities and internet-access included. There are single and family housing options available.

If you choose to live off campus, this is one of the few places where, along with "How much is rent?", you should ask, "Does it have water?" Dry cabins (small units without running water) are a common option for UAF students and can typically be found in the $500-800 a month price range. Housesitting notices are frequently advertised through the Biology and Wildlife list serve and can be a great way to save money and get a place near campus.


Fairbanks, like much of Alaska, is truck-country. Cars and trucks are the most common form of transportation. There is also a well-developed bus and shuttle system, particularly around campus and downtown and you definitely can manage without a car. One thing you'll notice around Fairbanks is the number of bicycles. Cycling is a popular transportation alternative and there is a large cycling community. While the Fairbank's cycling infrastructure isn't perfect, it is growing. Campus and community clubs and organizations give workshops on bike maintenance, winter riding, and other subjects. With a pair of studded tires, year-round cycling is totally manageable and many students (including yours truly) use biking as their primary form of transportation.

Monday, November 15, 2010

UAF Fight Song

In the world of admissions and outreach we meet with a variety of students thinking about college. This afternoon the admissions team met with 60 5th graders from Ladd Elementary School (a local Fairbanks School). It is always so much fun to present to enthusiastic kiddos and this was no exception. Led by Joe Alloway, the 5th graders helped us with a resounding rendition of the UAF Fight Song. Here are the words in case you don't know them...

Fight for Alaska
Win the victory!
Fight for the blue and gold

Hail to our banner
As it waives so free
Over the victor's gold!

Fight for the Polar Bear
Mighty Nooks are we!
Onward to honor and fam

We're going to FIGHT
For our Alma Mater
Fight for Alaska's name!


Here's a video of Matt Anderson leading the fight song on the bus ride down to Anchorage for the Governor's Cup:  http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=483645111557

Thursday, November 11, 2010

UAF News and Events » Blog Archive » Alaskan has close encounter with comet Hartley 2

UAF faculty member, Don Hartman, of the physics department was recently recognized for his role in capturing this beautiful photograph of a the comet Hartley 2. Who wouldn't want to learn from this guy?!

UAF News and Events » Blog Archive » Alaskan has close encounter with comet Hartley 2

An image of comet Hartley 2 from NASA's EPOXI mission. The image was taken as the spacecraft flew by the comet on November 4, 2010. According to NASA, the Hartley 2 comet is 1.4-miles-long and is composed of water ice, carbon dioxide ice and silicate dust. The name "EPOXI" is a combination of the names Extrasolar Planet Observations and Characterization (EPOCh) and Deep Impact Extended Investigation (DIXI).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

UA Scholar Reception a Success!

UAF celebrated this year's UA Scholars on Friday night with a reception and program that featured University of Alaska President Patrick Gamble, UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers, and current UA Scholar and UAF student Shaun Nesheim. The UA Scholars program recognizes and gives scholarships to the top 10% of the graduating class of every high school in the State of Alaska.

Shaun Nesheim, UA Scholar and UAF student, gave a lively and personable speech about the great opportunities at UAF, including International Study Abroad, the flexibility of his schedule to take the classes he wants, and the ample scholarships available at UAF.

Mike Sfraga, our amiable Vice Chancellor for Students, shows a new crop of potential students that UAF is not only serious about academics, but we're also fun!

Several of our Student Ambassadors were on hand to chat with students and parents about what it's really like to attend UAF.

It was a busy night in the Great Hall with over 200 in attendance and all of our schools and colleges represented.

Student Ambassadors Victoria and Heather enjoyed the evening and hanging out.

Interim Dean of the College of Natural Science and Mathematics Paul Layer talks with a UA Scholar about the many opportunities they offer.

If you're interested in challenging yourself academically, consider applying for the Honors Program at UAF!

Monday, November 8, 2010

So...You Wanna Chat?

Last week we debuted a new chat feature on our admissions page in an effort to make the process of deciding on, applying to, and enrolling in UAF as seamless as possible. We are happy to report that is has been a tremendous success. Students and those of us in the Office of Admissions and the Registrar are excited about the ease of navigation and the ability to have an immediate and productive interaction.

Here’s how it works: an incredible student who looks very similar to you is perusing UAF’s Admissions website looking for the answer to a burning question about anything to do with UAF. They don’t see the answer right away, so they click on the orange chat button at the bottom of the page and ask their question. Within moments, an Admissions representative provides an answer, which prompts more questions, answers, and conversation. The next thing you know the student happily exits the chat with the information they sought and a personal connection with UAF.

If you’re checking out our page in the middle of the night or at another time when we’re offline, just click on the same orange chat button to leave a message. It will be sent to one of us and we’ll respond to you via email within a short time.

What are you waiting for? Head over to the Admissions page and give it a try! You can give us some feedback while you’re at it. Do you love it? See a way we can improve it? Let us know.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Alaska Nanooks mascot legacy is full of fun and sweat

I stumbled upon this article in the local paper, The Fairbanks Newsminer this morning and thought it was worth sharing. In summary, it's the true story of our amazing Alaska Nanook mascot and the people behind the costume.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Alaska Nanooks mascot legacy is full of fun and sweat


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

CollegeWeekLive This Week!

CollegeWeekLive FALL
November 3rd & 4th, 9 AM - 10 PM Eastern

Meet the University of Alaska Fairbanks online at CollegeWeekLive FALL on November 3rd and 4th from 9 AM to 10 PM Eastern.

Sign Up Today!

Visit our virtual booth to chat live with University of Alaska Fairbanks admissions reps about topics such as admissions, financial aid, campus life, and more!

Ashley and Mayanna talk about applying for UAF Scholarships and Financial Aid by February 15

Yesterday I shared a list of scholarships with instructions on how to apply. Today, Mayanna Bean and Ashley Munro from the UAF Financial Aid Office offer their insights on how to apply for UAF Scholarships.

Applying for Scholarships Step 1: Apply for Admission!

Applying for Scholarships Step 2: Watch the video below...

Leave your comments and questions for Ashley and Mayanna and they will respond in our next segment of Applying for UAF Scholarships and Financial Aid.

Money, money, money, money..... MONEY!

Monday, November 1, 2010


The number one lesson I have learned about scholarships is that you can't get any if you don't actually put forth the effort to apply. It's a hard lesson to learn, especially when there are so many great scholarships out there that go unused each year. Even if it's not a huge chunk of money, every little bit helps to offset the costs of your education, which includes tuition and fees, books, travel, housing, and food. 

Below is a short list of scholarships I've recently heard about with upcoming deadlines. The deadlines for many of the scholarships listed below are fast approaching. For UAF's privately funded scholarships and UA's Foundation scholarships, the deadline is February 15th. The UAF and UA scholarships deadline is still a few months away, but it will come quickly, so apply early and get your essays done soon! 

For a quick tutorial on applying for scholarships through UA and/or UAF click here


Alaska Association of Environmental Professionals (AAEP) Scholarship
To provide scholarships for full-time undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program in at the area of environmental (or natural) sciences, environmental technology, or environmental policy. 

One scholarship of $1000 will be awarded for the 2010/2011 school year.
Application Procedure:
Complete the Alaska Association of Environmental Professionals Scholarships application, available from academic departments or the UAF Financial Aid Office.  Applications must be received (not postpone) by November 12, 2010 to be considered.
Return completed applications to:
Alaska Association of Environmental Professionals Scholarship
UAF Financial Aid Office
Room107 Eielson Building
PO BOX 757530
Fairbanks, AK 99775
General questions about this scholarship can be addressed to the Scholarship Coordinator (907) 474-6228 or via email scholarships@uaf.edu

The Women's Self Worth Foundation 
The Women's Self Worth Foundation has pledged $250,000 to the American Indian College Fund over the period of four years for 14 scholarships to benefit American Indian women attending college.
The goal of the grant is to empower American Indian women by providing scholarship support to ensure women obtain higher education. The grant will be used to fund seven scholarships at the amount of $4,000 per year for a period of two years for Native women pursuing an associate's degree at a tribal college; four scholarships for $6,000 per year for four years for Native women students pursuing a bachelor's degree at a tribal college; and three scholarships for $8,000 per year for four years for Native women pursuing a bachelor's degree at a mainstream college or university.
Preference will be given to Native women applicants who show academic achievement and involvement in their communities.

About the American Indian College Fund: with its credo "Educating the Mind and Spirit," the Fund is the nation's largest provider of private scholarships for American Indian students, providing 6,000 scholarships annually for students seeking to better their lives and communities through education. For more information about American Indian College Fund please visit www.collegefund.org.
American Indian College Fund
8333 Greenwood Blvd.
Denver, CO 80221 USA
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Intertribal Timber Council Scholarship Announcement
For Native American/Alaskan Natural Resource Students
The Truman D. Picard Scholarship Program is dedicated to the support of Native American students pursuing a higher education in Natural Resources.
Required Materials:
1) Letter of Application
2) Resume
3)Three Letters of Reference
4)Evidence of validated enrollment in a federally recognized tribe or Alaska Native Corporation.
5) Transcripts
All requested information MUST be received by the close of business (5:00 pm) March 18, 2011.  For more information, please visit the website www.itcnet.org. Fax (503) 282-1274 and email itc1@teleport.com

BP Process Tech Scholarship
Note the deadline to receive applications this year is Friday, November 5th at 5:00 PM The BP Process Technology Scholarship is awarded to recipients selected for a two year Process Technology (PRT) Degree Program. The number of students selected is dependent on the allocated level of funding/credit enrolment. The scholarship awards are Level 1 = $3000 (12 + credits/ semester), Level II = $2000 (9 + credits/ semester) and Level III = $1500 (6 + credits). BP and AASSP work collaboratively to identify an interview team who interview prospective applicants. Only required PRT and required Core degree classes are funded. Recipients of the scholarship, once selected, are required to provide verification of enrollment each semester in an accredited Alaska Process Technology degree program, a sealed transcript showing they have maintained at least a 2.5 GPA. For more information or to apply, go to www.alaskaprincipal.org/218610122121916337 or email scholarships@alaskaprincipal.org.

American Indian Services scholarship
upcoming deadline Nov. 15

The Joan Hamilton Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a post-secondary school Alaska student who wishes to pursue a career related to the law in which s/he will advocate for Alaska Native rights, and defend the civil liberties of the peoples of rural Alaska. Your completed Application Forms must be RECEIVED by 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 22, 2010, at the ACLU of Alaska offices.

Doyon Scholarship Renewal for 2011 Spring Semester deadline is November 15, 2010.

Additional ScholarshipsFrom: http://www.uaf.edu/finaid/types/scholarships

The University of Alaska Fairbanks encourages all scholarship applicants to also file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to determine eligibility for federal and state of Alaska aid programs. You may obtain the FAFSA from your school counselor or the Financial Aid Office at UAF.

Undergraduate Scholarships of up to $1,000 will be awarded through a competitive process. Scholarships are open to new and continuing undergraduate students majoring in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics (STEM).  Students receiving awards in past competitions may apply and receive awards for subsequent competitions.
These scholarships are awarded to thousands of students annually on a competitive basis nationwide. The amount and length of the scholarships are based on the quality of the applicant. Scholarship awards range from $3,000 to $17,000 annually and may range from two to four years. In addition to tuition, each recipient receives $600 for books and supplies and up to $4,000 in spending money, tax free.
For further information about the Army Scholarship program, eligibility requirements and the application process, contact the UAF Department of Military Science at (907) 474-6852 or e-mail rotc@uaf.edu.
Available to a limited number of first-time freshmen. It will consist of a full or partial waiver of tuition to be used during the first Fall and Spring semesters at UAF following graduation from high school. Go toUAOnline to answer required scholarship questions. Once logged in, choose Scholarships under the Student Services menu. (The UAOnline portion of the scholarship application is required and you cannot be considered for any scholarships if you have not completed it.) Then fill out the online privately funded scholarship application. Contact the UAF Scholarship Coordinator for more information. The application deadline is February 15.
Chugach Gem & Mineral Society Clayton Rasmusson Memorial Earth Science Scholarship
The purpose of this scholarship is to offer financial assistance for tuition and other related educational expenses to University of Alaska Anchorage or University of Alaska Fairbanks students who are admitted in the field of Earth Science.
The Honors Program accepts about 50 talented students each year. First-time entering freshmen with a high school GPA of 3.6 or better and SAT combined scores of at least 1875 or an ACT composite of 29 or higher are encouraged to apply. Contact the UAF Honors Program for more information.
Available to graduating high school students or transfer students with a record of volunteer service to a community, non-profit organization(s) or special interest group as well as a commitment to high academic standards. Go to UAOnline to answer required scholarship questions. Once logged in, choose Scholarships under the Student Services menu. (The UAOnline portion of the scholarship application is required and you cannot be considered for any scholarships if you have not completed it.) Then fill out the online privately funded scholarship application. Contact the UAF Scholarship Coordinator for more information. The application deadline is February 15.
Lawrence Tingook Davis Memorial Scholarships
Available for two qualified students enrolled in the Natural Resources Management undergraduate degree program $1000.00 scholarships for the fall semester. Visit specifics at the School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences Reindeer Research Program.
Native Corporation Scholarships
Some regional and village corporations provide scholarships to shareholders. Contact your local native corporation for details on eligibility and application procedures.
Graduate students who have a 10-20 hour per week research or teaching assistantship during the summer semester may apply for a Summer Research Tuition Scholarship. Students must have been registered for 9 credits (3 of which must be at the graduate level) during the preceding fall and spring semesters and be registered for 6 credits of research or thesis during the summer to eligible for this scholarship. The application is available online. Please see the Graduate School for further information.
Available to graduating high school students or transfer students who have demonstrated talent in the area of music, theater, creative writing or art. A talent sample must be submitted. Go to UAOnline to answer required scholarship questions. Once logged in, choose Scholarships under the Student Services menu. (The UAOnline portion of the scholarship application is required and you cannot be considered for any scholarships if you have not completed it.) Then fill out the online privately funded scholarship application. Contact the UAFScholarship Coordinator for more information. The application deadline is February 15.
UAF Privately Funded Scholarships
The Scholarship Coordinator manages the application process for most privately funded scholarships, and coordinates with academic departments that evaluate applications and select recipients. Some scholarships are available to part-time students. Go to UAOnline to answer required scholarship questions. Once logged in, choose Scholarships under the Student Services menu. (The UAOnline portion of the scholarship application is required and you cannot be considered for any scholarships if you have not completed it.) Then fill out theonline privately funded scholarship application. Contact the UAF Scholarship Coordinator for more information. The application deadline is February 15.
Scholarships are available for students attending any campus in the UA system. Applications are available in the UAF Financial Aid Office or at UA Foundation.
The UA Scholars Award is a four-year scholarship offered to Alaskan high school students in the top 10 percent of their graduating class as determined by qualifying high schools. Determination is based on class standing at the end of the junior year. Contact the UA Scholars Program, (877) AKSCHOL, (877)-257-2465 or (907) 474-5105, e-mail scholars@alaska.edu, visit the University of Alaska Scholars Program, or contact the UAF UA Scholars Coordinator.
The University Women's Association provides scholarships for undergraduate women at UAF. Applications are accepted between January and April for the following school year.


Step 1: Apply for admission to a UAF degree or certificate program by February 15. The admission application can be completed at UAonline.

Step 2: Go to UAOnline to answer required scholarship questions. Once logged in, choose Scholarships under the Student Services menu. The UAOnline portion of the scholarship application is required and you cannot be considered for any scholarships if you have not completed it.

Step 3: Complete the UAF scholarship form at http://www.uaf.edu/finaid/types/scholarships/apply/

Step 4: To receive consideration for need-based scholarships, you must submit a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by February 15 prior to the semester you plan to attend. FAFSA data used to determine scholarship eligibility include financial need, marital status, number of dependents other than spouse, etc. These items are selection criteria for specific scholarships and an important part of your application.