Category: Features

March 28, 2017 Brenda Craig
Evan Withrow shows off the catch of the day on one of his many fishing adventures around the state. Withrow hopes his degree program will allow him to travel the world on fly fishing expeditions. Photo credit: Evan Withrow

Born and raised in Alaska, Evan Withrow, mechanical engineering major, was exposed to fishing at a young age when his father was a guide on the Kenai River for King Salmon. Withrow has been fishing most of his life. However, he found a love for fly fishing about three years ago in South Dakota, where he was previously working towards a degree in mechanical engineering before moving back to Alaska.

“One summer, I was about to head back to South Dakota and I asked my dad if I could take his old fly rods with me down there. One of my good buddies knew his way around the water so he helped teach me the ins and outs of it,” Withrow said. “Little did I know, the Black Hills of South Dakota was a little gold mine for fly fisherman.”

Withrow’s love for fly fishing continued and allowed him to travel to places he may have never been exposed to if it wasn’t for fly fishing.

“Fly fishing has taken me to some of the coolest places I have ever been,” Withrow said. “The pursuit of big or small fish in rivers and streams that most people never get to see is why fishing is a passion of mine.”

Fishing can be known as a great time to be independent and gather thoughts. While being alone can be soothing, Withrow also cherishes moments spent with friends fishing and sharing the rewarding feeling of a catch.

“Sometimes when I fish, it’s about the solitude and being alone out there, it’s relaxing. It’s a quick escape from reality, but sometimes when I fish, I want to be on the water with my friends,” Withrow said. “There’s something pretty special about one of your best friends netting one of your biggest fish and celebrating with you.”

One of Withrow’s favorite moments in his fishing experience is when he stopped in Wyoming with a friend on his drive from South Dakota to Alaska to attend UAA.

“We fished a stretch of water known as The Wind River, which is just the small portion of the Bighorn River that’s located on the Indian Reservation. It’s a stretch of water that parallels a highway through one of the coolest canyons anyone can ever be in,” Withrow said. “The water is fast, kind of tricky to get down to, and not easy to fish. We must have timed the fish correctly cause these fish were crushing everything and every fish was a quality one. Between my friend and I, we landed well over 75 fish; brown trout and rainbow trout and almost every single fish was over 20 inches.”

Withrow spends a great amount of time fishing in the summer time but also continues to fish throughout all seasons of the year.

“In the spring, summer and fall I fish as many days as possible. Last summer, I fished every day for about 75 straight days. It helped that I worked a full-time job inside of the campground where I fished,” Withrow said. “In the wintertime, I try to sneak out on weekends that are ‘less cold.’”

Because fishing is such a big part of Withrow’s life, he claims that he will continue fishing until he needs a walker, but even then he will still be found on the water. Currently, Withrow is focusing on his degree and hopes to finish school within the next year. With his degree, Withrow plans to use it for a job that will allow him to fish in exotic places.

“My goal in life with my degree is to make enough money that I can take all of the exotic fishing trips that I want without having to stress too much about it,” Withrow said. “I want to go to Iceland, New Zealand, Christmas Island and even Russia.”

Although a great fisherman never gives up his secret spots, Withrow recommends individuals to give fishing a shot. He explains that fly fishing can be tricky at first, but, after a while, it’ll be easier to get the hang of, like all hobbies. Those who love to travel and spend time on the water, fishing might be a relaxing yet exciting activity like it is for Withrow.

March 28, 2017 Cheyenne Mathews


As she was driving down Minnesota Drive, Audrey Taylor, an avid bird lover, saw a cute family of ducks. However, right as Taylor prepared to turn off at the airport exit, she watched the mother duck lead her little ducklings over a sewer grate. Taylor watched the ducklings fall, wondering how the little ducklings were going to do to get free.

Taylor ran over to the sewer grate and was able to rescue one of the ducklings, but the other two were out of reach. She called the Anchorage Police Department, and together they reunited the fallen ducklings with their mother, who was swimming in a nearby pond, searching for her lost ducklings.

Taylor, UAA assistant professor of environmental studies, saves birds. It’s just what she does. Before the ducklings, there was a snowy owl in Barrow that had gotten stuck in burlap landscaping material. Taylor’s research has gone a long way in providing safety for more than just a family of ducklings or a starving snowy owl. Her Ph.D. research on bird distribution around the North slope actually led to the Bureau of Land Management categorizing some of the more important bird habitats as off limits or low priority for oil and gas development.

Her research on shore birds has led her all around the world, and she has even been able to follow a bird she first found in Barrow to French Guiana. The environment has always been important to Taylor, and in high school, she started an environmental club that cleaned rivers and streams. In fact, her yearbook superlative was ‘Student most likely to save the Earth.’

Taylor had her first experience with surveying birds when she was at Colorado State University for her M.S. in Wildlife Biology. She was sent out to the Great Plains with just a Jeep, map and binoculars, and she was told to survey shore birds.

“I would be driving across this spring flooded landscape, and I swear I got the Jeep stuck so many millions of times. I’d be driving trying to miss potholes and mud, and I’d look behind me and this little group of birds would have flown in from some place, like the Gulf of Mexico or Argentina or something like that,” Taylor said. “They’d land there and I’d be like, ‘That little group of birds, I have no idea where they came from. They could have just flown like 3,000 miles.’”

That sense of wonder with her work led her to become more interested in shore birds, and so she decided to attend UAF for her Ph.D. For her dissertation, Taylor researched shore birds across the North Slope. It was during this research, while in Barrow, that Taylor discovered one of her favorite flying creatures.

“I had hired this plane to take [a field crew] out [of Icy Cape], and the plane went down to check out the runway, and they got stuck, and they were like, ‘No way. We’re not going in there again.’ So I was desperate,” Taylor said. “I was like, ‘Who am I going to get to fly these people out?’ I called this air taxi in Deadhorse and ended up getting who is now my husband on the phone, and he was like, ‘Oh yeah I’ll come take your people out for you.’… But he came right then and it was like my knight in shining airplane.”

Taylor has made a life with things that fly. Not only does she love birds but she has her own pilot’s license and a husband who flies.

“I like birds, my husband likes airplanes,” Taylor said. “We are hoping our daughter will like both.”

For Taylor, her passion for birds has best been channeled through teaching. Her father was a teacher, her grandmother a teacher, and her younger sister is also a professor at University of Connecticut. Teaching has helped Taylor answer the question of “why?”

“Because [shore birds] are these little ambassadors to different parts of the world,” Taylor said. “They go from Alaska to, birds that I’ve banded, turn up in Japan, China. They go to Panama and Peru. I had a bird from Barrow end up in French Guiana, and I now have a project that I am working on in French Guiana. They are these little winged ambassadors that kind of make you work across these geographic boundaries for conservation. It makes you think beyond your own country, which I think is good.”

Outside of shore birds, Taylor loves trail running, skiing, mountain biking, kayaking and gardening. In the future, she hopes to do more with citizen science by having cruise-ship passengers in the Arctic and Antarctica help document changes in bird distributions.

March 28, 2017 Madison Mcenaney
An original piece designed by Cleo Anderson for her business Molly & Bella, started in fall of 2016. Photo credit: Cleo Anderson

Aside from working towards her business degree at UAA, taking photos and practicing makeup, Cleo Anderson can be found in her apartment creating jewelry for her business, Molly & Bella.

Anderson learned to make jewelry when she was a child from her mom and went on to manage a local boutique and bead shop in Anchorage. With her background and experience with beading, jewelry and customer service skills, Anderson then decided to officially start up Molly & Bella last fall.

“Working at the bead store really helped me learn not only how to make jewelry, but how to sell it too. I’ve been making jewelry for a long time on my own, so it’s great to have an official business to show customers now,” Anderson said.

Anderson sells all types of jewelry, from necklaces and bracelets to crowns and headpieces. Much of her work incorporates rocks and gems which she buys from local bead stores in Anchorage. Once the materials are purchased, Anderson cuts the wire and begins her process of stringing the beads and creating the jewelry. Depending on what she is making, Anderson will spend anywhere from 5 to 10 hours on one piece until it is finished and ready to be sold.

“I always keep in mind what people in Alaska are actually going to wear on a daily basis when it comes to jewelry. Natural stones, versatile pieces that can be layered, things like that. Right now what I make looks clean and nature based, and it’s stuff that I really think anyone could incorporate into their style,” Anderson said.

All of Anderson’s jewelry can be purchased online, where she has pieces for sale. She also takes requests for custom orders. Anderson brings her business to local trunk shows and craft fairs to sell around Anchorage.

“My favorite thing I’m making right now are the crowns. I’ve done some for weddings, events like that. These are pieces I like to make more unique and personal to the person that’s buying it, so I take my time making sure the crown fits their head perfectly. We figure out what stones they want their crown made of, the shape of it, etc. I love the idea that my jewelry can make someone feel good about themselves, and I think the crowns do that well,” Anderson said.

While Molly & Bella is not currently being sold anywhere in stores, Anderson hopes to begin selling her pieces in local shops soon and grow her business through social media outreach.

March 28, 2017 Brenda Craig
The small off-road vehicle was created by UAA Baja team for the SAE Competition at the end of April. The team's vehicle will be tested through a variety of terrain tests. Photo credit: UAA Baja team

Since the fall semester of 2016, the UAA Baja team has been designing, building and preparing for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Baja competition taking place in Gorman, California on April 27-30. Baja is one of the SAE’s colligate design competitions that challenges senior engineering students to design, plan and construct a micro baja car. The purpose of this competition is to allow students to use what they’ve learned in engineering courses and apply it to a real-world engineering challenge. The competition consists of various events to test teams from all over the United States on their engineering capability. Some of the events will include acceleration, hill climb, maneuverability and suspension. These students will be competing for awards and scholarships based on their vehicles performances and efficiency.

A majority of the UAA Baja team members are participating in the SAE Baja competition as their senior design project for their capstone credit. Dustin Cook and Logan Sutton, mechanical engineering majors and co-captains of the UAA Baja team, have put in countless hours and hard work into the off-road vehicle along with the rest of the team.

“My favorite part was also probably my least favorite part because I am the only one on the team capable of the welding that needs to take place. I do enjoy welding and fabricating and that’s why I was chosen as kind of the fabrication half captain,” Sutton said. “So, I enjoy the hands-on welding and grinding and making something from nothing, but with that, I’m also the only one who really does a lot of the welding, so there have been a couple late nights where it’s just been required that I had to get it done, so it’s a double edge sword.”

There are a few underclassmen on the team volunteering with the development of the project, like Zachary Lestenkof, civil engineering major, who will help in their senior capstone project in the future.

“This project doesn’t give me any credit as an underclassmen. However, this has been a great learning experience for me and has helped provide me for knowledge that I can use when I do this for my senior design project,” Lestenkof said. “It has been extremely fun and has been a great use of my spare time. Another awesome thing about this project is its ability to teach someone how to work effectively under pressure, which is a valuable tool for an engineering student to have.”

The upside of participating in the SAE Baja competition is the learning experience gained from the project development. Sometimes, it is difficult to gain experience throughout college courses and this competition gives a way for engineering students to learn the full process of being an engineer.

“Whatever you’re building, you make it tangible. You make it alive instead of just in the computer, it’s now in front of you and you can see how it works based on what you design, so that huge for any engineer because a lot of us just don’t get the experience and that’s why Baja is really good for that,” Cook said.

Designing and building the car is a major part of the competition. However, there are many different aspects that come into play in the development of the off-road vehicle such as documentation, finance and other paperwork that does not involve building.

“It’s not just for people who are gearheads that are into cars because there’s so much else involved with design reports and logistics and things you wouldn’t think would be in it into building a go-kart,” Sutton said. “So, if somebody was curious about the other side of any sort of project, this shows every aspect of a project, not just how to build a car and compete with it.”

With designing and building a micro baja car, there are bound to be problems that occur. Although a problem might be difficult to fix, in the end, there is no greater feeling than overcoming an issue.

“When you’re working through something for hours or sometimes days trying to get it to work the way you wanted and being able to finally figure it out and have all that spent energy be worth it feels amazing,” Lestenkof said.

This project has not only helped engineering students gain experience but find a calling through their school and future career.

“One of my biggest passions in life is cars. I’m currently a civil engineering major but this project confirmed something I was on the fence about; switching my major to mechanical engineering,” Lestenkof said. “When I got to drive the car for the first time it was definitely a rewarding experience, and I now look forward to participating in Baja in the coming years. It’s also been nice to collaborate and work with other engineering students around me because I feel like working with your peers is a highly educational experience.”

With the competition coming up in April, the UAA Baja team are now working on their final touches and repairs, but most importantly, fundraising for shipping of the off road vehicle, airfare for the team, transportation and other traveling expenses. The UAA Baja team is looking for sponsors to help bring them down to California and show what the UAA engineering students in Alaska have to offer.

March 28, 2017 Victoria Petersen

this is an image

This versatile recipe is perfect for pizza parties, date night or an easy meal for any day of the week. The dough can be saved for about four days in a sealed bag or container, making it a perfect last minute dinner. Get creative with toppings and sauce. Whether it be ranch and chicken, or royal icing and Captain Crunch. This pizza pie crust can be as fancy, simple or decadent as you want it to be.


1 package active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups flour


1. In a large bowl, place yeast and sugar with 1 cup of warm water. Let sit until small bubbles form, roughly ten minutes.

2. Mix in salt and olive oil.

3. Add the flour gradually. Once a dough begins to from, knead it on a floured flat surface. Knead for about five minutes.

4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it. Leave it for one or one and a half hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

5. Punch down the dough and divide into two balls. Let them relax for 15 minutes.

6. Roll each dough ball out to desired length and thickness is reached. Let it sit for 10 minutes before adding toppings and other ingredients.

March 28, 2017 Cheyenne Mathews
As a freshman in the mechanical engineering program, Daniel Schliesing release Breadcrumbs, an app that allows users to leave messages for for other users based on their location, last month. Photo credit: Young Kim

Freshman mechanical engineering major, Daniel Schliesing, released a social networking app called BreadCrumbs Social last month. The app is described by Schliesing as digital posters, where users can leave virtual messages in specific locations. BreadCrumb’s users can write and message anywhere they are standing, and any user who walks within 100 feet of the location will be able to see that message, just like posters. Schliesing has been using the UAA campus and its students as a testing ground for his app, and his user base is predominantly UAA students at the moment.

Schliesing has been developing the app for a year, and since its release in February, the app has been updated to allow users to post photos.

“Since most people are using it for memes, and that type of thing, I’m thinking about making that kind of the main purpose,” Schliesing said. “There’s other things you could do with it, [like] Geocaching. I could go into Yik Yak space and compete with them since they are not doing really well right now.”

Schliesing says BreadCrumbs is still very new, but that he is happy with its development so far. He currently has around 50 users, 20 of whom are actively posting. Schliesing chose the name BreadCrumbs because of the similarities he saw between his idea and the tale of Hansel and Gretel.

“I never really thought of another name,” Schliesing said. “It just kind of fit because you leave breadcrumbs for other people to find. I really like the Hansel and Gretel theme.”

BreadCrumbs is free on the App Store for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch users with iOS 10.2 or later.

March 20, 2017 Brenda Craig
Students are encouraged to seek an advocate for STAR if they are in need. STAR is located on the first floor of Rasmusen Hall. Photo credit: Young Kim

Standing Together Against Rape advocates are the newest addition to Rasmuson Hall. Located in room 118 within the Student Health and Counseling Center open to students, faculty and staff, STAR is a confidential community-based resource to contact with any questions about power-based violence, such as sexual assault and abuse, dating violence, sexual harassment, improper conduct and more. They provide various crisis intervention support services along with long-term support for victims of sexual assault.

“STAR is a community-based social service agency that does not have the same requirements for reporting to University officials as many resources on campus mandate,” Keeley Olson, program director at STAR, said. “If an adult over the age of 18 wants to discuss any dynamic related to these issues, they will find a safe, confidential, outlet through STAR. STAR can provide resources, both on and off campus, and options of which many may be unaware.”

At the end of 2016, STAR entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the university about the type of services they can provide and was invited to have an office at UAA by Chancellor Tom Case.

“STAR has been open to providing services on campus for some time, but, as with any service, there has to be a readiness on the part of the University. Nationally, there has been a lot of recent focus on campus sexual assault, thanks in large part to the Obama Administration’s efforts to increase the understanding and effectiveness of Title IX,” Olson said. “Along with that heightened awareness, the President’s ‘Dear Colleague’ letter and Title IX compliance investigations, more and more colleges and universities are recognizing they can partner with community-based services to provide more options for their students, faculty and staff. As a result, the University of Alaska Anchorage reached out to STAR in 2016 to begin the process of bringing its services to campus.”

On campus, STAR advocates will be rotating weekly with various backgrounds and connections to multidisciplinary associates to help anyone without discrimination.

“They come from human services, social work, criminal justice and other educational and career backgrounds. They enjoy close relationships with STAR’s multidisciplinary partners, such as Forensic Nursing Services of Providence, the Anchorage Police Department and the Department of Law,” Olson said. “STAR Advocates recognize that power-based violence does not discriminate. People of all ages, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual preferences and socio-economic backgrounds may need assistance. Students, faculty and staff will find STAR welcoming of all forms of diversity and eager to help.”

Although STAR provides many services outside of campus, having a STAR advocate on campus will provide a direct resource. There are various systems of support that will be provided by STAR, such as helping organize a report or having a professional to talk to about concerns.

“STAR can provide confidential individual support and resource referral, reporting options on and off campus, safety planning, referrals to Title IX officers, support through the process of reporting, assistance with obtaining protective orders, criminal and civil legal advocacy, access to survivor support groups, individual trauma counseling and can be a sounding board for those concerned about a friend or family member they suspect is dealing with an issue related to power-based violence or oppression,” Olson said.

Laura Hill, direct services manager at STAR and one of the advocates that will be rotating on campus, believes this will help students, faculty and staff feel comfortable talking to an advocate and get the support they need.

“I hope that having an advocate on campus will help bring awareness to the high rate of sexual assault and domestic violence our state faces,” Hill said. “It isn’t something that people often talk about, which can make it even harder for someone to reach out for help when needed, but by having an advocate on-campus in a location that students are familiar with may make it easier for them to reach out for support when it’s needed, especially if the student walks or takes the bus. They don’t have to go out of their way to talk to someone; they can drop by after classes or schedule an appointment around a time that works for them.”

STAR not only provides a support system but also helps those looking how to be supportive to their friends and family. There are also ways students, faculty and staff can be involved with STAR through volunteering.

“We know that the incidence of sexual violence is extremely high in Anchorage and in our State, we can each help to change this. Most of us know someone who experiences or has experienced sexual violence or misconduct and we can be a good friend by learning how to be supportive of those in need,” Bridget Dooley, Title IX coordinator at UAA, said. “I would challenge everyone on campus to stop by STAR’s campus office and speak with the advocate about how to help or invite them to come to your group and speak about how to be a supportive friend. One more thing, STAR has volunteer opportunities, ask the advocate about ways you can help.”

The STAR office encourages anyone to come and talk to an advocate whether or not they need support services.

“You don’t have to be a survivor of sexual assault or domestic violence to stop by our office either. If a student just wants to drop in to learn more about resources, come in to get information on how they can help a friend, ask questions or find out about volunteer or internship opportunities we’d be happy to talk to them anytime,” Hill said.

The STAR office is located in Rasmuson Hall, room 118. The office is currently open and ready to provide support to students, faculty and staff. If there is not an advocate in the office, STAR has a 24-hour crisis line at (907) 276-7278 or 1 (800) 478-8999 to make an appointment or, if urgent, have an advocate dispatched to the office to meet them immediately.

March 20, 2017 Brenda Craig

One stereotype that comes with being a college student is the partying and binge drinking. Every four years, there is a Core Alcohol and Drug Survey conducted on campus to assess the perceptions and use of alcohol and other drugs by UAA students.

In 2014, the survey was sent electronically to 3,800 students, which was completed by 454 UAA students who were required to be over the age of 18 and enrolled with three credits or more. They found that 85 percent of students believe that the average student uses alcohol once a week or more, while only 56 percent of students consumed on average one or more drinks per week.

The UAA Core Alcohol and Drug Survey was conducted by the Office of Student Affairs, Dean of Students Office and co-sponsored by Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol. UAA has used the Core Survey in previous years with the most recent one in 2014.

“It’s a positive social norming campaign, we did it this way so people can see even though most people think UAA students are getting wasted, actually we have a pretty healthy student body and this is the actual percentage and perceptions can be deceiving,” Amanda Kookesh, UAA’s Alcohol, Drug and Wellness Educator, said. “I think being in college and being a college student that you’re expected to maybe party and partake in binge drinking, I think that’s kind of the norm coming in whereas really you’re not, but we’re hoping that perception does not influence them.”

Whitney Brown, the assessment and strategic projects director at the Office of Student Affairs, had a huge role in conducting the survey from survey assessment standpoint of the methodology, administering the survey, data analysis and sharing the findings and results.

“We have pretty concise methodology, so we administered the survey to a representative sample of students, they needed to be 18 years or older to participate, so we filtered out anyone under 18 years old and they needed to be taking three credits on the anchorage campus during fall of 2014 when we administered the survey,” Brown said. “We administered to a wide net to ensure that the response rate that we get is able to be generalized to the population, so we had 454 students respond to the survey and then that was conducted over a three week period of time in November of 2014.”

To properly handle the data received by students, it was important to have several people evaluate the data.

“The way we do survey analysis is we bring in multiple people to analyze the data to ensure we have diverse perspectives as we’re looking at the data and remain unbiased when analyzing the data and also for data clarity to see if this makes sense, if we should further analyze additional aspects, stuff like that,” Brown said.

Not only was there a survey conducted on alcohol, but the use of tobacco and marijuana. In the tobacco findings, 67 percent of students believed their peers were using tobacco once a week or more. However, it was found that only 13 percent of students were partaking in tobacco use once a week or more. In the marijuana survey, 62 percent of students believed their peers used marijuana once a week or more, whereas only eight percent were. With these findings, time makes a difference in the results and the planning of exposing the facts.

“The campaign started off with alcohol so we wanted to make sure that came out before spring break, that ran for two weeks, and starting Monday [March 20], tobacco will run for two weeks and then the last piece will be marijuana and that will go with 4/20,” Kookesh said.

Over time trends and fads are likely to take place. This is the reason why the Core Alcohol and Drug Survey takes place every four years. Within these findings, there were other positive trends found in the data.

“There are some highlights in the data that I just think were interesting for me as I was analyzing them particularly when we look at trends over time, that’s why we do it every four years, to see what changes there are amongst our demographic. Two that stood out to me were driving under the influence of alcohol and that has significantly decreased from 20 percent in 2010 reporting to 13 percent in 2014 reporting that they’ve driven under the influence,” Brown said. “That’s a really positive change, and then also the increase in social non-acceptance of smoking tobacco, and that there is a significant decrease in regular use from 24 percent regularly use in 2010, to only 15 percent regular use of tobacco in 2014.”

It is unknown if the high rate of alcoholism in Alaska is what influenced students to believe that their peers were drinking more than they actually were. The survey is important because of the high rate of alcoholism to see what the perceptions were and the reality.

A lot of the time when there are surveys conducted like the Core Alcohol and Drug Survey many people don’t believe the results or they are exposed in a way that seems unbelievable. It was important to expose these findings in a way to encourage the positive environment at UAA.

The result of the survey baffles some students because of how often they witness their peers out drinking at the bars or on social media.

“I find the results shocking because when I go downtown I see a majority of the students that go to UAA in the bars or Snapchats of friends that go to UAA drinking,” Jordan McGee, radiology tech major, said. “I am proud to be a part of a school that is working hard towards their academic goals instead of spending their time drinking.”

Since studies at UAA have shown that only 56 percent of students drink at least once or more a week, some students find it comforting to know that their peers don’t follow the average stereotype.

“If the statistics hold true, it is very comforting to know that not everyone immediately turns to alcohol for recreational use or as a coping mechanism,” Annalisa Haywood, medical lab science major, said. “It’s good to see that many college students are breaking the stereotype of consuming alcohol on a regular basis, although I do believe that the true statistic should be a little higher than 56 percent.”

As of now, there is a recovery group on campus specific for college students, which takes place every Thursday from 12 – 2 p.m. in the Eugene Short Hall. This is going on throughout this semester and is hoping to continue through the summer and fall depending on availability of student staff.

The UAA Core Alcohol and Drug Survey can be found on the UAA website under the Dean of Students reports. The next survey will take place in 2018 to research the current use of alcohol and drugs.

March 20, 2017 Brenda Craig


Figure skating is filled with beautiful techniques, the graceful gliding across the ice and the countless spin moves captivates its audience. The beauty of figure skating performances makes many forget about the difficulties of executing each trick to get a perfect landing on ice. It’s refreshing to see the figure skaters at Dimond Mall when taking a break from shopping. Along with those figure skaters, is Jennassy Regal, early childhood education major, flowing across the ice doing a variation of spins on her skates.

Regal started figure skating at the age of seven after being inspired by her family friend at the Dimond Mall who was taking beginner ice skating lessons.

“Her mom encouraged me to try it because she knew I never skated, so I tried it and I ended up loving it,” Regal said. “I thought it was so much fun and I wanted to keep doing it, so that same day when I got home I asked my mom if I could start taking lessons. She said yes and signed me up that next week.”

In Alaska, Regal participated in competitions until the age of 16 and traveled two to three times a year for figure skating competitions and skate camps. After participating in competitions over the years, Regal decided that competition skating was not for her.

“As much I loved skating, learning new skills and traveling, I absolutely hated competing. It wasn’t my thing,” Regal said. “I don’t know if it’s because I started competing at a very young age, and I trained a lot in elementary and middle school. [However], I found it very stressful and after doing it [for] so many years, I got burned out of competitions, but I still participated in skating shows sometimes just for fun.”

Like most team activities, there is a lot of bonding time with teammates, which is Regal’s favorite thing about ice skating.

“My favorite thing about figure skating was the traveling with the skating team. Even though we spend most of our time skating, we made time for team dinners, sleepovers and doing touristy things,” Regal said.

Although Regal hardly participates in figure skating competitions, she still makes time to skate a few times a week and is teaching skate lessons at Ben Boeke in their Learn to Skate Program.

“Every Saturday during the Learn to Skate weeks, I would teach usually beginners and some experienced skaters,” Regal said. “I taught them the basics such as falling down and getting up, then marching and after that, gliding. My favorite was the toddler class. It was definitely a lot of work, but I had so much fun teaching them.”

Currently, Regal is working on getting insured so she can start teaching private skate lessons. Teaching children is something Regal is passionate about, not only in skating. In the future, she wants to become a special education teacher.

March 20, 2017 Cheyenne Mathews

On March 6, UAA Students United hosted From the Front Lines. Featuring Israeli Defense Forces Major Abdallah at the event. Abdallah, whose full name has not been released for security reasons, is a Druze Combat and Elite Combat soldier who searches for terror tunnels.

Maria Lilly, president of UAA’s Students United, said the event aligned with Students United’s Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestinian human rights mission. Lilly worked with the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, or CAMERA, to bring Abdallah to UAA.

“[CAMERA has] an on-campus program that sponsors speakers from Israel to come to the United States and speak…” Lilly said. “The goal there is to advocate for Israel and bring attention to the plight of Palestinians in the Middle East because a lot of what we hear in the media is not accurate. A lot of it is biased. It is a very complicated situation… [and] part of our goal is just to bring that to campus, some perspective and to build a community where Christians, Jews, Muslims and even people who aren’t of a particular faith can come together and brainstorm about an issue that’s close to a lot of people and that’s probably one of the most complicated conflicts of our time.”

Abdallah’s lecture was question oriented and members of the community, as well as, UAA students, asked questions about politics between Israel and the United States, terrorism, media reporting on Israel and the West Bank settlements. When asked about media reporting of Israel, Major Abdallah said part of why he does these talks is to give his perspective of what is going on in Israel.

“I don’t really follow the media in the states, [so I don’t] really know what they report…,” Major Abdallah said. “As I said before, meeting with people I can tell the story from my eyes. Sometimes they [are] reporting… We spoke about the [terrorist] tunnels here and that’s not the reality on the ground.”

Abdallah is a Druze which is a small religious sect in the Middle East, Israel in particular, that integrated into the army after Druze leadership decided to be a part of Israel, Abdallah said.

The majority of his question and answer period discussed his role as an engineering combat officer and battalion commander who has destroyed 19 terrorist tunnels. Abdallah’s first language is a Druze dialect, but he also speaks Arabic, Hebrew and, as of three years ago, he learned English in order to talk more about the way he sees the two-state solution reported in the United States.

Eric Tauriainen attended the event and asked Abdallah about the political relationship between the United States and Israel.

“My brother served in the military here, and I think it’s interesting to hear what’s going on. I’m not sure exactly what our media is telling us,” Tauriainen said. “I wanted to find out first hand what this [man] can tell us and what he can’t.”

Students United has hosted several other speakers on campus in the past, including Holocaust survivor Irving Roth, photojournalist Gil Cohen-Magen and Israel’s first Bedouin diplomat Ishmael Khaldi.

March 20, 2017 Victoria Petersen

Spice up your life with this homemade hot sauce recipe. Made to be flavorful, but also pack heat, this hot sauce is easy and simple to make.


1 jalapeno pepper

4 serrano peppers

1 tablespoon of salt

1 cup of vinegar


1. In a sealable container, add diced peppers, salt and vinegar.

2. Seal the container and put in a cool dry play for four days to age.

3. After four days, remove ingredients and place in a blender or food processor and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.

4. Place back in container or in a new container to store.

March 5, 2017 Brenda Craig
Arielle Neithercoat performs an FS boardslide at a terrain park in Alaska. Photo credit: Arielle Neithercoat

Once winter hits, many can’t wait to hit the slopes on their skis or snowboard. Freeriding down the mountain can give a feeling unlike any other, but for Arielle Neithercoat, biology major, locking into a rail on her snowboard gives her the ultimate bliss. Neithercoat has been snowboarding for 18 years and around the age of 12 she gained the courage to hit her first box at Hilltop Ski Area and has been hooked ever since.

“I just love how it makes me feel, I love that I don’t have to think about anything else when I’m snowboarding and when I get on a feature and lock in and it feels amazing,” Neithercoat said.

After carving down the mountain repetitively, Neithercoat grew bored with the idea of snowboarding the same lines, which influenced her to experiment.

“At some point, I guess I just got bored of groomers and wanted to try something more,” Neithercoat said. “I’m not sure really, maybe I was just trying to scare the crap out of my parents. My mom still hates the idea of me throwing myself at metal objects.”

Although Neithercoat has jibbed many terrain parks and street spots, she appreciates originality when it comes to snowboard features and tricks.

“Favorite obstacle? I’m a simple girl really, there’s nothing like a nice long mellow down bar to get me all giddy,” Neithercoat said. “Favorite trick hands down will always be a solid between the feet front board. I will do those all day, every day on every hit in the park, and be happy as a clam.”

Neithercoat’s love for snowboarding is not the only thing that has grown over the years, but her love for the people it has exposed her to. While gaining meaningful relationships, snowboarding has also been a stress reliever.

“I love the people it’s [snowboarding] introduced me to over the years, I’ve met a lot of really interesting people, and made some top notch friends,” Neithercoat said. “I met my boyfriend of seven and a half years from snowboarding at hilltop when we were tweens. I love the direction it took me in life, I think it helped me gain confidence, and it’s a good outlet for stress because when I’m snowboarding, that’s all I’m thinking about.”

Hitting the terrain park can be nerve-racking, Neithercoat encourages girls wanting to experiment with snowboard obstacles to go for it and embrace and learn from falling.

“For girls wanting to learn to jib, you have to just be prepared to fall and fall a lot, it’s inevitable. You’re not going to get good unless you just keep on getting back up. Learning to jib is scary as hell, I know, it still scares me, but it’s totally worth it,” Neithercoat said.”

Besides work, school and snowboarding, Neithercoat is working on exciting research that will allow her to present her findings and travel in the near future.

“I do bat research here at UAA, so I go out in the summer and catch bats and we take data on them. I left some data loggers over in the Copper River area and I just picked those up and right now I’m doing the data analysis on them,” Neithercoat said. “I head to Madagascar in a couple months to work on lemur research in the jungle over there.”

Neithercoat is looking forward to her trip to Madagascar doing lemur research, which is similar to her plans after college.

“I plan on being a primatologist and living in the jungle with lemurs once I’m finally done with school. In the meantime, I’m probably just going to keep on snowboarding, and see where it goes,” Neithercoat said.

Like many snowboarders, Neithercoat plans on snowboarding until her body gives out. Look out for any snowboard video parts and research conducted on bats by Neithercoat in the near future.

March 5, 2017 Brenda Craig
Provided by the Alaska Workplace Breastfeeding Support Project, the first lactation pod in the state is an alternative to bathrooms for mothers who would like to nurse in private. Photo credit: Young Kim

UAA has announced the first lactation pod in Alaska open to any mother that is nursing. The lactation pod is located downstairs in the Student Union, easily accessible due to its centralized location. This pod was provided by the Alaska Workplace Breastfeeding Support Project, which is a grant through the State of Alaska under the section of Women’s Children’s Family Health.

Corrie Whitmore, assistant professor of health sciences, lead the team that wrote the application for the grant.

“The goal of the Alaska Workplace Breastfeeding Support program was to just help Alaska employers in the workplace improve their accommodations for lactation, so for moms who are breastfeeding or pumping especially for their children,” Whitmore said.

According to the Affordable Care Act amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards, employers are required to provide breaks to employees to express breast milk for her child for one year after the birth of the child. This also requires employers to provide a place other than a bathroom that is private from coworkers and the public for mothers to nurse during the workday. Not only does UAA have a large number of employees, but also students and the general public that spend their majority of time on campus.

“One of the things that I think made our application strong was that UAA is an employer that has many employees, but we also have students who are parents that need a place to breastfeed and pump and this is a space that is open to the community so it also provides that option for our community members who find themselves here to participate in an event, take a class, or here for sports, so it’s a good option that will get a lot of use here,” Whitmore said.

In the past, the Professional Studies Building had two lactation rooms available for use. However, they are now being turned into a new pharmacy. There are other places on campus besides the lactation pod where individuals can go for breastfeeding needs.

“The other place people can pump on campus is in the study rooms in the library, so they are private rooms and they’ll give you tape and a piece of paper to put on the window in the door, so that’s one option,” Whitmore said.

The lactation pod has been stirring up excitement in the UAA community. Some students believe this is another step in creating an accepting presence on campus.

“I think it’ll be very beneficial just for the general population because, it just sets a presence that we’re a welcoming and diverse in general, not just for different ethnicities and orientations, but also for gender equality and I think it’s great,” Sarah Johnson, bachelor’s degree in human services and pursing an occupational endorsement certificate in children’s behavioral and health, said.

Without a lactation pod, many mothers resort to using a restroom to pump or feed their child, which not only limits their space but is also unsanitary.

“Personally, I don’t want to eat in the bathroom, so I don’t want to pump or feed my son there, but I also don’t want to use the bathroom in a way that limits other people’s ability to use the bathroom and inconveniences other people. When there’s something like this [lactation pod] it’s not inconveniencing other people,” Whitmore said.

Breastfeeding has become more acceptable in public, but nonetheless, pumping takes more effort, space and resources.

“I’ve fed my kid everywhere, there’s actually less stigma around that than there used to be and one of the ways we normalize breastfeeding is by treating breastfeeding like it’s normal,” Whitmore said. “It’s just hard to do that with pumping because pumping is something that you need an electrical outlet, a table and a place to sit. So you need more specific things.”

Not only is the lactation pod the first at UAA, but in the state of Alaska. Hopefully, in the near future this will open opportunities to provide more lactation pods around the state.

“The Student Union is a central location for campus, open 99 hours each week, easy for students, faculty, staff and guests to access,” Annie Route, Student Life and Leadership director, said. “[I am] so happy women will have a clean, private space to pump or breastfeed and not have to use a bathroom stall. It was no fun doing that when I was a young UAA mom. Thanks to Dr. Corrie Whitmore and the staff of UAA Facilities for their dedication to bringing the pod to our campus community.”

On March 24, there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate Alaska’s first lactation pod at 2:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Student Union which is open to employees, students and campus visitors. The Provost and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Bruce Shultz, and other campus leaders will be showing their support by attending the ribbon cutting. Also, the state will be giving away 50 onesies with an “Eat Local” design for mothers and babies who attend. Stop by the Student Union and check out the new exciting edition to UAA.

March 5, 2017 Brenda Craig
Anchorage residents sprawl out on the floors at Williwaw for their Yoga and Beer event. The yoga class, hosted by AIR Anchorage Aerial Fitness is free, with discounted beer, bloody Mary's and mimosas. Photo credit: Leandra Murray

For the next eight weeks, Williwaw will be hosting Yoga and Beer every Saturday from 2-4 p.m. This event is a joint effort between MIX 103.1, AIR Anchorage Aerial Fitness and Williwaw along with many other local sponsors. There is a free yoga lesson instructed by AIR Anchorage Aerial Fitness along with discounted beer, and for those non-beer drinkers, there is a bloody Mary and mimosa bar.

Monica Gomez, Yoga and Beer event lead, works for radio stations KWHL 106.5, MIX 103.1 and KFOD. She is responsible for putting together the Yoga and Beer event, which has had a positive turnout. Gomez was inspired for the idea when she was in San Francisco and has been pushing for this event for nine months.

“I kept telling Williwaw that we should do Yoga and Beer, then they bought it and the turnout has been amazing,” Gomez said. “It goes on for eight weeks, we had over 62 people the first week, male and female. It’s just getting bigger each week.”

The yoga lesson starts at 3 p.m. but many people are showing up earlier to enjoy a drink and mingle before the lesson.

“Basically you get there from 2 through 3 [p.m.], setting up your mat and mingling, putting your name in for a drawing that we have, you can get some healthy snacks, but it’s been filling up so much that people are coming in early to save their spot, and then yoga starts at 3,” Gomez said.

Not only is there free yoga every Saturday, but a chance to win a raffle at the end of the eight weeks.

“The more weeks you come the more chances you’ll win and at the end of the eight weeks we’re giving out a whole year of beauty from Escape Salon and Spa and we’re also giving out a whole year of yoga from AIR Anchorage Aerial fitness,” Gomez said.

Leandra Murray, Anchorage resident, has attended all the Yoga and Beer events and plans on keeping that streak.

“My experience at Williwaw’s Yoga and Beer has been such a fun experience, it’s a great way to kick off my Saturday and it’s something I look forward to each week,” Murray said. “It’s a nice way to get your sweat on and let loose.”

For those who have always wanted to attend a yoga class, this is a great way to check out the friendly environment.

“The best thing about it is that it’s a free class, so if you’ve never done yoga before either it’s a good way see it and no one is better than anyone and that’s what makes it fun,” Gomez said. “It’s a healthy loving atmosphere, I just encourage anyone to come and try it and I’m just so happy I put this whole thing together for anchorage and I just love seeing our anchorage community come together.”

The Yoga and Beer event has been picking up each week and even if things get a bit cramped, more people are encouraged to attend.

“I recommend these classes to everyone, they are so fun and what is a better way to start your weekend than burning some calories, meeting new people and did I say bloody Mary bar? Can’t top that for a Saturday afternoon,” Murray said.

Yoga and beer is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and subtly meet new people. Especially for those new to town or just looking for something to get out of the house, this can be a great people meeting opportunity.

“People like me that’s new in town and hate the idea of going to a bar because of anxiety, I like beer and fitness and I like to meet new people,” Kyle Dickerson, Anchorage resident, said. “In my opinion, it was the best event I’ve gone to here. For a guy, it can be tough going into a yoga room and seeing you’re the only guy there, this event guarantees that more than one guy will show up.”

Look out for updates on the Williwaw Facebook page for further details on upcoming Yoga and Beer events. Make sure to go early to secure a spot, grab a drink and mingle with the community. Remember to bring your own mat.

March 5, 2017 Cheyenne Mathews
Yunzhe "Karen" Liu, Weiyang "Cynthia" Diao, Jiyu "Tracy" Wang and Tracy Kalytiak pose for a group photo. Kalytiak interviewed the Chinese professors, who visited UAA from Jilin University of Finance, for the Green and Gold News. Photo credit: Tracy Kalytiak

If you’ve ever read the Green and Gold News, you know that UAA has some very talented professors, students and departments. What you wouldn’t know, is that the faces behind the Green and Gold also have their own incredible stories.

Kristin DeSmith, assistant vice chancellor for University Relations, is the team leader. DeSmith describes Green and Gold as the library for all of University Relation’s stories.

“The website is basically where we house all of the stories, regardless of which platform we use to send them,” DeSmith said. “One week we may produce three stories. One might go in the Alumni electronic newsletter, one might be our syndicated story that we send out to media, one may our social media story, and one may be a front page story. Those are specific places they’d be placed but they are all housed on Green and Gold.”

Some recent Green and Gold articles include stories about UAA Greek Life, profiles on international students and features about UAA construction management winning a national competition.

“[Green and Gold] is driven by amazing stories, whereas newspapers are driven, not necessarily by showcasing the amazing things that are happening, but [by] what stories they think the public wants to read,” DeSmith said. “We try to balance both of those.”

Joey Besl and Tracy Kalytiak are two of the writers behind Green and Gold, but outside of writing, both run. Besl is an intermittent marathoner, and Kalytiak likes to hike and run long distance. According to her colleagues, you can find her running up the Bodenburg Butte near Palmer multiple times a day.

Besl is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio but he moved to Alaska three years ago for his current position. Before coming to Alaska, Besl was employed with the study abroad program, Semester at Sea, where he was able to write stories about the program while traveling from Florida to California the long way.

Kalytiak currently lives in Palmer. She moved to Alaska in 1997 and has worked at UAA for over three years. She’s written for publications like Alaska Magazine, Detroit News and Atlanta Journal and Constitution. Out of all the stories she’s written for University Relations, her piece called, “UAA DNP alumna: ‘Vivitrol’s the path to an opioid-free life…it gets you clean’” was her favorite.

Kalytiak had first heard about Vivitrol, the drug, on a hike with a friend whose daughter is a heroin addict. The Vivitrol article showcased a UAA student who was doing research on the effect Vivitrol had on heroin addicts who were taking it while in jail versus being treated after they were released.

“That was really exciting to write about because it’s so relevant, especially now with opioid addiction being such a huge problem for Alaska,” Kalytiak said. “It’s great to see UAA doing things like this, so relevant, not up on a hill somewhere, really out in the community.”

Another important member of the University Relations team is Public Relations and Marketing Manager, Kirstin Olmstead. Originally from a fruit and vegetable farm in Michigan, Olmstead moved to Alaska five years ago and has been part of DeSmith’s team for about six months. Olmstead said she likes the impact UAA students and faculty have on the greater community, and that one of her favorite projects was getting Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholar Linda Chamberlain on Alaska News Nightly to talk about her work on childhood trauma and healing. Both DeSmith and Olmstead said the mission of the stories they produce, is to convince prospective to enroll at UAA.

“We have quite a few students who will inquire about coming here through the private messaging set up on Facebook,” Olmstead said. “That is part of the goal behind the stories, to help students envision themselves here.”

DeSmith added that stories her team writes are read by numerous different audiences and that those stories have prompted people to volunteer or donate money based on what they’ve read.

“One of the things that makes me really proud, is that I get to do what I love every day. I have an M.F.A. in creative writing, I lead a creative team here, and I get to use my experience every day. I love to be able to see how it impacts our community,” DeSmith said. “You make a difference in this place, and you make a difference with an M.F.A. in creative writing, where most places would not think that.”

Amazing stories are being written every day at UAA, and some amazing people are writing those stories.

March 5, 2017 Sarah Tangog

sprang break.png

Spring break marks the lull moment in the hectic semester, and for many, it means vacation time. However, those staying in Anchorage can have a vacation of their own. There are quite a few new events kick-starting this month and will still be available even long after the break has ended.

Thursdays mark Anchorage’s weekly boxing fights at the Egan Center. Each night features seven fights in an arena setting. All ages are more than welcome to attend, though children must be supervised by parents or guardians. Admission starts at $17 for general seating and $36.25 for ringside seats.

“You can purchase tickets at the Sullivan Arena, or here at the Egan Center when doors open at 6:30,” Leesha Smith, from the Egan Center, said.

The actual fights start at 7:30 p.m. The fighting season opens March 9 and ends March 30.

Also happening on Thursdays are the Anchorage Distillery tours. Tours start at 6 p.m. at the Anchorage Distillery. Admission is free, though restricted to persons age 21 and above.

“We grind everything on site,” Jacindra Franks from the Anchorage Distillery, said. An official tasting takes place before and after the tour. The tours run from March 9 to Dec 28.

Friday evenings welcome Friday Night at the Boulder. From 7-9 p.m., participants can come inside the Alaska Rock Gym and hang out on the second floor. Anyone and everyone is welcome.

“It’s a fairly casual event,” Elliot Stutzer from the Alaska Rock Gym said. Participants can ask Rock Gym employees for climbing advice, mingle with other climbers, or ignore everyone altogether and just climb. Though there is no fee for instruction, an $18 day-pass is required for entry. Children under the age of 14 must have adult supervision. Friday Night at the Boulder runs from March 10 to Oct. 20.

Though a trip away from home can bring an exciting break, trying something new can bring the same fun. This spring break, Anchorage definitely has a few new adventures to bring to the table.

March 5, 2017 Victoria Petersen

As the oldest libation in the world, mead is a sweet and delicious form of alcohol that’s fairly easy to make yourself.

Also known as honey wine, mead is simply fermented honey, water and yeast. Add flavors to your mead like oranges, vanilla, cinnamon or anything your heart desires. Once fruit has been added to the mead, it is known as a melomel.

All of the equipment needed for this can be found in town at Arctic Brewing Supply, or online.

This recipe fills about two growlers. If you don’t have a growler, you can get one at the brewing supply, from any brewery in town or from Fred Meyer.

You will need two rubber stoppers and two plastic airlocks to go on your growler. These are cheap and can be bought at Arctic Brewing Supply. You’ll also need a thermometer, funnel, brewing sanitizer and a stock pot.


1/2 a gallon non-chlorinated water

2-3 pounds of honey — Arctic Brewing Supply has a few different kinds of honey on tap

Berries or fruit of any kind, fresh or frozen, about a cup

One orange

A handful of raisins

One package of champagne yeast (found at Arctic Brewing Supply)


1. Follow the instructions on the brewing sanitizer (I used one step) and use it to disinfect everything that you will be using, including your funnel, pot, jugs, airlocks, rubber stoppers and stir spoon. This makes sure that bacteria won’t contaminate your mead while it’s fermenting.

2. In your pot, heat the water until it gets warm but is not boiling. Once the water is warm, add the honey and stir it in until it dissolves. Take off heat.

3. Take your flavorings and put them into your growlers.

4. Carefully pour the honey water mixture into the growlers using a funnel. You’ll want to leave at least five inches of head space.

5. Once the mixture is in the growler, cap it and shake it up for several minutes.

6. Now you have what is called “must.” This is the mead mixture before the yeast is added. Once your must is shaken and ready, you’ll want to make sure the temperature of it is under 90 degrees. Anything over this will kill the yeast.

7. Once the must is at an appropriate temperature, you can add the yeast. Distribute the packet evenly between the two growlers and shake them for several minutes to combine the yeast.

8. Put a little bit of water into the airlock and stick into the rubber stopper. Then stick the rubber stopper into the mouth of the growler until sealed. The airlock allows gasses from fermentation to escape.

9. You’ll want to keep your growlers in a dark place with a consistent temperature. A closet would work well. Within the first 12-24 hours you will start to see the yeast do its job and the mead will be bubbly.

10. After about six weeks of fermenting the mead is ready to be bottled or aged. Mead, like wine, can be aged. If you’re ready to drink your mead, it’s wise to bottle a little bit of it and store for a longer period of time to see how aging affects it.

March 5, 2017 Cheyenne Mathews


“I flunked out of college and have an Ivy League Ph.D.,” David Bowie said. No, not the English singer-songwriter, but David Bowie, pronounced Boo-ee, one of the associate professors in the English department. Bowie, wearing his signature bow tie, has lived the majority of his life sharing his name with the more famous David Bowie.

“My parents swear that they had no idea who he was,” Bowie said. “I went to a semi-rural southern high school, and sharing the name of a bisexual glam rock star was not really comfortable. I promised myself, the moment I turned 18, I was changing my name, but for all that starting college was academically an issue. I discovered that socially, my name was an asset. I stopped signing my name with my middle initial. I was like, ‘I’m going to own this.'”

For Bowie, college was academically an issue because the expectations were different than what he had learned in high school. In high school, Bowie was a self-described smart slacker type. It took getting kicked out of Carnegie Mellon for having below a 1.75 GPA for two consecutive semesters as a freshman for Bowie to realize he needed to change.

“Sometimes, you just have to get woken up,” Bowie said. “Flunking out of college, this was something that I had never experienced anything like that before. All of a sudden, I realized I actually had to work at it.”

After flunking out of college, Bowie attended Prince George’s Community College and earned his associate’s degree before applying to college at University of Maryland College Park. There, he found his future academic calling, but by accident.

Without realizing the future impact it would have, Bowie became a part of the linguistics department, solely because he wanted to be in one of the smaller departments. At University of Maryland College Park, he enrolled in several linguistics classes. At this point in his college career, Bowie had learned that reading the beginning of his textbooks was an effective strategy for succeeding in new classes. One of the textbooks introduced linguistics with the idea that language is fluid, and that idea resonated with Bowie.

“[The textbook said] the only place that the English language exists, is in the brains of its speakers,” Bowie said. “We’ve all basically come to an unspoken agreement that this is how we speak English… English is bigger than we tend to think. I grew up border Southern, I grew up being told all my life that I was talking wrong, and it kind of annoyed me. No, this is the way I talk, and so I was fascinated. There are actually people out there who think about language the same way I do.”

Bowie became very invested in the subject, eventually applying and attending University of Pennsylvania for his Ph.D. He was hired straight out of graduate school to be an assistant professor at Brigham Young University for four years before moving to University of Central Florida for six years. In 2009, Bowie was hired as an assistant professor at UAA, and he’s been in Alaska ever since.

Sharing the name David Bowie with a famous singer-songwriter has presented some interesting situations for Bowie, but the oddest moment of all occurred at the Anchorage International Airport, right after the singer had died.

“You’ve not lived until you’ve come in on a really rough landing, come up, really late, the flight was delayed, the airport was deserted, you walk into a deserted airport terminal and you see on the CNN airport news thing, ‘BREAKING NEWS: Your name, dies,’” Bowie said. “That’ll make you pause for a second until you realize, whether you believe in an afterlife or not, you have to agree that whatever one’s conception of an afterlife would be, it is not the Delta terminal at Anchorage International Airport.”

As a student of both a community college and an Ivy League University, Bowie said he can be empathetic of his student’s struggles while also realizing that an F isn’t the end of the world.

“[My own experiences] makes it easier to not draw generalizations about the students themselves from what I see in class. Perhaps on the less comforting to students’ side, it also taught me, if you flunk a class, it’s not the end of the world. It’s painful. And can be expensive, but it’s not the end of the world as long as you pick yourself up and deal with it,” Bowie said.

For the future, Bowie wants to continue studying the role of an individual in a society at large, he looks forward to raising his four daughters and he hopes to one day have contributed research for an atlas of regional varieties of English in Alaska. He is specifically interested in seeing how regional varieties of indigenous languages and varieties of English in Alaska interact.

February 27, 2017 Cheyenne Mathews

professor (1).png

If you had asked a high-school aged Chad Farrell what his future looked like, it probably involved a career at a factory and a life in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. But instead of following his parent’s footsteps in blue collar occupations, Farrell found himself not just with a college degree, but a Ph.D. in sociology. As a first generation college student, Farrell has now made university his career by becoming a UAA professor and the Chair of the Department of Sociology.

Farrell could have led a very different life if it wasn’t for some friends of his who pressured him into attending college together at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

“I think that’s a big issue with students: what are your horizons,” Farrell said. “I think my parents wanted me to [go to college], but they didn’t necessarily know how to get me there because they hadn’t gone through the experience themselves. I think a lot of first generation students have similar experiences, where their parents may have aspirations for them, but it’s difficult finding your way through that whole process. I think I had limited horizons for myself because I didn’t really have a sense of what’s possible.”

Part of why college wasn’t on Farrell’s radar was because he describes his high school self as ‘lost’ and that it really took his experiences in college to help him see different possibilities for his future. With a dad who worked at a factory and a mom who worked as a secretary, Farrell saw his horizon limited to blue collar occupations.

“I grew up in a working-class family, and I identified with that. I had pride that my parents worked hard,” Farrell said. “I kind of embraced the idea of working hard, playing hard, that rough sort of background.”

His desire to work hard helped him get his B.A. in sociology, and with the encouragement of some good professors, he applied to graduate school at Pennsylvania State University. His preliminary visit to Penn State was Farrell’s first time on a plane, but certainly not his last. With an M.A. in sociology, Farrell was able to teach on base in Japan after his wife, who was in the Air Force, was stationed there.

Farrell grew up in a place he says is not known for being that diverse, but Farrell himself has gained some national recognition for his work on diversity and urban inequality. The research that showed that Anchorage had some of the most diverse schools in the nation, was actually conducted by Farrell, along with research assessing the changing racial and ethnic contours of American society.

“There have been a couple cases where students have actually cited my research back to me. ‘Dr. Farrell, do you know we have some of the most diverse schools?’ Which is great, I love it,” Farrell said. “Usually I just say, ‘Yeah, I have heard that.’”

The project Farrell is working on is research done in conjunction with people from Cornell and Penn State, and it was funded by a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health. Going into the research, Farrell didn’t expect his work to become so popular.

“I never anticipated that this would catch fire like [it did],” Farrell said. “When you’re doing an analysis of tens of thousands of communities or thousands of communities and tens of thousands of neighborhoods, over multiple decades, there’s a tendency to get lost in the data a little bit. I think that’s why some of this took me by surprise, plus as a demographer, it wasn’t particularly shocking to me that there’s a lot of diversity here. I just never anticipated that it would be such a big deal to other people.”

His interest in residential segregation and diversity began in his hometown of Sheboygan, because he saw how Hmong populations, refugees from the Vietnam War, were treated differently. At the time, Farrell didn’t know what sociology was, but he still asked questions about the inequality he saw.

“[Sheboygan’s] not a very diverse place,” Farrell said. “When I was growing up, we saw a growing Hmong population in our community, and that’s actually common in Wisconsin… Some of those experiences earlier on, and some of the struggles I saw with my Hmong classmates… started getting me to ask questions of why? Why are people treating this group so poorly? Those were the first inklings of not only diversity but inequality and discrimination. I think that helped inform some of my pursuits later on when I got into an academic career.”

Before going to college, Farrell said he didn’t imagine he would do much beyond Sheboygan. But ever since he enrolled, his horizons have expanded from his hometown to the east coast, to Japan and now to Anchorage. His working class upbringing may have made him less confident in pursuing academia early in life, but the work ethic that upbringing instilled in him, helped him become Chair of his department, a member of the Board of Directors for the Alaska Institute for Justice, and a commonly referenced researcher. For the future, Farrell aims to retain a high-quality department despite the difficult fiscal challenges the state and the university currently face.

February 27, 2017 Brenda Craig
Eva Ulukivaiola volunteering at the USUAA Thanksgiving Feast. When Ulukivaiola was a senator in USUAA Student Government, she accumulated 50 hours of community service planning events for students, including the homecoming dance and the Thanksgiving Feast. Photo credit: Eva Ulukivaiola

Hobbies come in all forms, shapes and sizes. What makes a radical recreation is the passion behind it. Eva Ulukivaiola, economics major, has a unique pastime that she has spent over 600 hours doing throughout her life. Many would be confused hearing that volunteering is a hobby, but Ulukivaiola loves spending her time helping others and considers it her favorite activity.

“I consider volunteering my hobby because I started at such a young age and just continued with it until it became my passion, and I just look forward to giving back at any chance I have,” Ulukivaiola said.

Ulukivaiola is 21 years old and began participating in volunteer work around the age of 7. It started when her parents took her to Spenard Recreation Center to help plant trees around the building, which led her to join the Educational Talent Search (ETS) nonprofit, that helps low-income and first generation college students attend school.

“When I was younger, my parents told me that others were not fortunate enough to have a warm home, food and clothes to wear. That really put things in perspective for me because I had everything I needed with my family,” Ulukivaiola said. “The reason why I still volunteer to this day because of the strong value my family has instilled in me about giving back and that makes me want to continue with being active in the community.”

Most of Ulukivaiola’s volunteer hours come from her time with ETS. Through ETS, she was able to have many opportunities to volunteer in the community for things like Thanksgiving Feast, Toys For Tots, Food Bank of Alaska and more.

“My senior year of high school I had counted over 400 hours of community service for my scholarship portfolio. Now, I am a senior in college and my total is about 605 hours,” Ulukivaiola said. “The majority of hours I have accumulated were generated when I was in a program called TRIO Educational Talent Search throughout my middle school and college career.”

Unfortunately, ETS closed the program last December, but now Ulukivaiola has been volunteering for a sister program to ETS called TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) that serves low-income and first-generation college student who need assistance with scholarships, finding internships and provide academic workshops.

“SSS is the program that I have generated at least 50 hours volunteering with… At UAA, SSS is actually the last TRIO program left and I really am so thankful to have been in ETS and now SSS,” Ulukivaiola said.

Recently, Ulukivaiola joined a sorority to surround herself with others with the same interest.

“Last semester, I decided to join a sorority because I wanted to be around a positive group of ladies who loves giving back and who maintain high GPAs. Even though this is my second semester in Alpha Sigma Alpha, I have already accumulated over 55 hours through volunteering with Covenant House, Special Olympics and more,” Ulukivaiola said.

Ulukivaiola has also gained many hours through volunteer work when she was a senator in USUAA Student Government and accumulated 50 hours of community service planning events for students like the homecoming dance and the Thanksgiving feast.

“After I graduate with my B.A., I would like to return to UAA to pursue my masters in education,” Ulukivaiola said. “Before that happens, I plan on looking into an internship with the Anchorage School District, teaching either high school or middle school students.”

When Ulukivaiola is not volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, maintaining a high GPA and snowboarding, but volunteering is still her favorite hobby. Being passionate about volunteering is what makes Ulukivaiola’s hobby so unique from others.

February 27, 2017 Cheyenne Mathews
this is an image
High schoolers from all over Alaska gathered Thursday through Saturday at UAA for the 35th annual Model United Nations Conference. Photo credit: Young Kim

The 35th annual Model United Nations Conference was held over the weekend at UAA in the Wendy Williamson Auditorium and in Rasmuson Hall. Kimberly Pace is the Faculty Director of Model United Nations of Alaska, and Pace said that the conference was the largest conference to date.

“Our topic is ‘Global security: Fight, flight and human rights,’” Pace said. “I think that now, more than ever, this is a very topical topic. A lot of people are interested in refugees, and what’s going on in the world, and cyber security.”

Pace said that high schoolers from all over Alaska are attending the conference and that members of the Model United Nations, MUN, class at UAA are helping run the conference. One of the MUN students, who has helped organize the conference, is political science and economics major, Jacob Shercliffe. Shercliffe first got involved with MUN his senior year of high school and he’s carried on with the activity throughout college.

“The style of learning that MUN teaches you was really good for me,” Shercliffe said. “I think this is sort of that perfect balance of research you do on your own, and then using it and applying it into something. The great thing about MUN is you have this simulation, and you’re talking about current events, and you get to embody the different designations. I worry a lot that our school systems and education process far too much focus on how well you can pass a test, but this engages people. People get passionate. It’s a lot of fun to watch that growth cycle. The first time I was participating, I remember how fun it was to learn all these new things and see how these procedures work.”

Shercliffe said one of the best things about the annual MUN conference is that it makes students passionate about international current events.

“Last year, I had kids come up to me and say, ‘I can’t wait to someday be an ambassador.’ That is this process, not only getting people passionate about learning, but learning the substance and getting involved with it beyond some score or grade they might get,” Shercliffe said.

At UAA, the MUN course counts for three upper division credits throughout a six or seven week period, with the conference culminating the course.

“I think it gives students the opportunity to really delve into the international issues,” Pace said. “Students are either assigned as a delegate for a country, they are assigned as an [non-governmental organization], or as a member of the World Bank. They really get an opportunity to look at things in a really deep way. If you are assigned as a delegate, you’re also assigned to a committee. We try to make it as realistic as possible.”

Moira Pyhala, political science major, is a first-year member of MUN, and she said she likes how the class takes serious issues and engages with them in a less serious environment.

“I think the biggest takeaway, is that you read what’s happening in actual UN, but you don’t actually see what goes into being in the United Nations and it really affects global security and international relations as a whole,” Pyhala said. “It also has opened my eyes on global human injustice, and actually the processes of how those happen and how the United Nations react to certain acts of war or just human injustice as a whole. Actually, gives me a feeling that people are out there trying to actively make the world better, also there are several downfalls to international relations as a whole.”

Pyhala’s main goal for the conference was to get her resolution passed.

“[I’m] the delegate from Israel and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and I’ve submitted a resolution to eliminate sex trafficking by building a wall around Israel. Encompassing the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. I wanted to make Mexico pay for it, but… On that note too, it’s a non-serious way of taking serious issues into the highlight.”

The conference opened on Thursday and concluded on Saturday.

February 27, 2017 Madison Mcenaney

this is an image

It is no longer uncommon to shake someone’s hand and catch a glimpse of writing inked on their arm, or to spot a flower drawn in on their shoulder, peeking out from under a shirt. As time passes, tattoos are becoming more and more normalized, and people’s demand for them is going up. Tattoo shops are found frequently in Anchorage, filled with artists who are eager to tattoo anyone who walks in.

Evan Creasap, 28, is a tattoo artist currently working at Body Piercing Unlimited, a business in Anchorage with multiple locations that offers both tattoos and piercings. The downtown shop, located on West Fifth Avenue, hosts multiple different tattoo artists including Creasap. He has been working at the shop for nearly four years now, tattooing both regulars and people he hasn’t worked on before.

“I’ve been interested in being a tattoo artist since I was a teenager. The culture and the art always intrigued me. Once I found my knack for drawing and thought about how I could incorporate that into a certain style of tattoo work, I started thinking about the idea more seriously,” Creasap said.

Creasap began as a tattoo apprentice in 2009, starting at the midtown Body Piercing Unlimited location in Anchorage. He went through his apprenticeship, and after it was completed, worked at a few other shops before finding his more permanent home that he tattoos at now. Creasap tattooed at Body Piercing Unlimited locations in Palmer and Sitka for several years before he came back to Anchorage to tattoo.

“Before I even started my apprenticeship, I worked as a behind the counter guy at BPU, just helping customers and doing that side of it. After getting my foot in the door that way, I was able to start learning and begin my apprenticeship,” Creasap said.

Since he began tattooing, Creasap has focused on his style in American traditional work. This style of tattooing features bold black outlines with very bright colors, and is popular among many of his clients. American traditional is the style that Creasap feels most comfortable in, but he is willing to tattoo anything that people want outside of that style as well.

“That’s probably my favorite part about being a tattoo artist, just being able to tattoo a little bit of everything, a little bit of everybody. Anchorage is a really awesome city to be able to do that in, I plan to work here so long as people keep walking through that door,” Creasap said.

Creasap plans to stay tattooing in Anchorage for as long as he has customers who want to be tattooed by him, and will continue to improve and expand his styles and techniques.

February 27, 2017 Victoria Petersen
this is an image
Photo credit: Victoria Petersen

I’ve been challenging myself to make things I’d only ever thought I’d buy. I couldn’t have imagined myself ever making cheese, but I decided to go for it. After a quick trip to Arctic Brewing Supply for some rennet and citric acid, I was ready to for this culinary adventure. The rennet and citric acid cost me around $12, but it comes with enough to make about 60 batches.

This recipe was easier than I thought and anyone with the right kitchen utensils can make this, even in a dorm room. You’ll need a slotted spoon, a large pot, cheesecloth, a colander, a microwave safe bowl and a thermometer.


1 gallon whole milk

1 and 1/2 teaspoon citric acid

1/4 teaspoon rennet

1 and 1/4 cups of water

1 teaspoon salt


1. Pour whole milk into large pot and heat on medium heat until it reaches 85 degrees, stir regularly.

2. In a small bowl, dissolve citric acid in a cup of water, and pour into the 85-degree milk.

3. Once the milk reaches 100 degrees, dissolve rennet in a 1/4 cup of water and stir into milk. Stir continuously. At this point, curds will begin to form.

4. Continue heating the milk until it reaches 105 degrees. Once it reaches this temperature. Remove from the heat, cover the pot and let it rest undisturbed for 10 minutes.

5. Once curds have formed completely, use a slotted spoon to transfer all the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander. Let the curds drain in the colander. Squeeze out as much of the liquid whey into the colander.

6. Transfer the curds to the microwave and cook for 75 seconds. Use a metal spoon to stir the curds until they are able to be kneaded by hand.

7. Knead the curds until the cheese reaches a consistency you like. Dunk the cheese into ice water to hold shape. The cheese will last for about four days in the refrigerator.

February 27, 2017 Brenda Craig
Lake Moraine at Banff National Park, the setting for the Banff Mountain Film Festival.
Lake Moraine at Banff National Park serves as part the setting for many of the films in the BANFF Mountain Film Festival. Photo credit: Florian Fuchs

One of UAA’s biggest events is approaching this weekend on March 3 and 4 starting at 7 p.m. in the Wendy Williamson Auditorium. Every year, UAA hosts the BANFF Mountain Film Festival, which is an international film competition that selects from over 300 films to be presented at the festival. These films are short film and documentary style that are about outdoor cultures and ranges from extreme sports, culture and environment.

In the past, BANFF Mountain Film Festival has been very successful and sells out all the seats in the Wendy Williamson Auditorium, bringing in many students and Anchorage residents.

“I never knew about BANFF until I started attending UAA and I plan to keep going once I graduate,” Jocelyn Humble, finance major, said. “The crowd it attracts is always so involved and pumped up, I plan on going this year and I love seeing all the crazy stuff people are doing around the world.”

What makes these films so enjoyable is being able to experience the individuals in the films’ accomplishments and struggles throughout their journey.

“I have been to BANFF twice and I love it, there is something so cool about watching people do what they love and experiencing their adventures,” Savana Hartley, marketing major and student activities programming manager, said. “You will honestly never see so many smiling faces and Patagonia and North Face apparel.”

Besides taking home the experience of the adventures in the films, there will be other opportunities to take home prizes.

“I like it a lot because it sells out every year and it attracts a lot of outdoor enthusiast on and off campus,” Juan Cielo, elementary education major and Student Activities gallery manager, said. “Minus the films, there’s also a raffle where there’s a bunch of cool free stuff that people can get.”

After watching these influential films, you’ll be wanting more and plotting your next adventure.

“When it ends, I feel like I should start training at the rock gym to just casually free climb around Alaska some day. Definitely go if you can,” Humble said.

Although BANFF sells out every year, there are still seats available to be purchased on as of now. If you have not attended BANFF in the past, here is your chance to sit down and experience people’s journeys from all over the world alongside your fellow Alaskans.

Films that will be showing at this years BANFF Mountain Film Festival:

Friday, March 3
Young Guns
Iran: A Skier’s Journey
Dog Power
Packing It Out
The Accord
Trail Dog
Super Salmon

Saturday, March 4
Max Your Days
Ruin and Rose
Elk River
Ace and the Desert Dog
For The Love
Four Mums in a Boat
Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out

February 20, 2017 Madison Mcenaney

Localize it.png

Few places outside of Alaska can say they have the weather conditions and capability for snow sculpting, let alone the talent and hard work that is necessary for the art.

Jesse Mellor serves as a prime example of someone who has taken on this way of creating art, as he has been snow sculpting for eight years now. He has lived in Anchorage since he was a teenager and found his career in welding once he graduated. Mellor’s knack for manipulation of metal is easily applicable to snow sculpting, which is something he did not consider when he first began.

“I had a buddy of mine call me one weekend saying that he signed us up for the Fur Rondy snow sculptures, and I was going to be helping him out all weekend with that. At that point I had never even thought into this had no idea what snow sculpting really was. This was eight years ago so I’ve learned a lot since then,” Mellor said.

Nearly all of Mellor’s sculpting time happens during Fur Rondy season in Anchorage, when the festival holds a competition for the sculptors. Here, they have one week to carve something out of a huge block of snow to be judged and also paid visits by crowds during Fur Rondy. People can enter as singles or in teams of three, and the winner gets sent to the national snow-sculpting competition in Wisconsin. The ones who enter in this competition take it very seriously, and they put in extremely long hours and effort into their sculptures.

“During the week of sculpting, my team and I put in between 150 and 200 hours of work on the sculpture. It depends a lot on how the weather cooperates but we all are willing to put in as much time as we need to finish at the end of the week,” Mellor said.

There is no specific theme that the Fur Rondy snow sculptures must oblige to, which gives the artists freedom to create whatever they want. In the past, Mellor has taken a more mythical route with his sculptures, creating minotaurs, phoenixes, krakens and other creatures. This year, the team has decided to take a different route and create a more Alaskan piece.

“This year, we’re doing a Native American themed piece that centers around the raven and its importance to so many different cultures in Native Alaskan history. There will be someone performing a traditional Native Alaskan dance about the raven also, we thought a sculpture themed similarly would tie in well,” Mellor said.

It can be difficult for the sculptors to create when the weather does not cooperate, but this year’s snowfall and temperatures seem to leave the sculptors feeling positive about how the sculpting will go. The most challenging part of snow sculpting is often the weather because no one can truly change or alter it to benefit them, so this year’s conditions should only help to create even an even better outcome.

“The most challenging part of snow sculpting is hoping the weather is on your side. As for everything else, it goes pretty smoothly. The people down there are awesome. Everyone is willing to share information, tools, and anything really that would help someone out. I learn something new from these people every year,” Mellor said.

Once Fur Rondy begins, Mellor’s sculpture plus many others will be displayed for anyone to walk through and experience.

February 20, 2017 Cheyenne Mathews
professor (1).png
Photo credit: Jian Bautista

For most people, choosing a college means looking at variables like acceptance or cost. For Toby Widdicombe, a UAA English professor, choosing Cambridge University was part of being the rebellious child.

“I went to Cambridge University for my BA and an MA, and I did that for what I think is a funny reason looking back on it,” said Widdicombe. “I come from a very academic family, and so my father was an academic, my mother was an academic, my two brothers were academics, and they went to Oxford University. I was the rebel in the family, so when it came to university… it was rebellious [to chose Cambridge] even though it’s only ninety miles down the road from Oxford. But the real reason I did it is the funny reason, that one of my brothers failed to get into Cambridge. I thought I would show him who’s the smarter member of the family, and he’s sort of forgiven me for that.”

For Widdicombe, coming from an academic family had its advantages and disadvantages. An advantage was that his parents would take him to exciting locations, like Shakespeare’s birthplace to see his plays, but having academic parents meant Widdicombe was very particular in choosing his field.

“I studied English because I didn’t want my father to tell me how to do science, and I didn’t want my mother to tell me how to do history. My mother, in particular, would have absolutely told me how to do history,” Widdicombe said.

At the time, Widdicombe says his father was one of the half-dozen best known respiratory physiologists in Europe, as well as a professor at Oxford University. He believes his mother would have taught at Oxford as well if she hadn’t had three kids to look after.

Widdicombe does have a great deal of passion for English, and his plan is to write a good example of every book an academic in his field could write. So far, Widdicombe has authored and coauthored numerous books on Shakespeare, he’s worked on several distinct projects about Utopianism, and he is in the process of getting a contract to write a book about Tolkien.

Widdicombe has a very noticeable English accent, but he’s been in the United States since he attended the University of California for his Ph.D.

“I had always read a lot of American Literature, and I thought it was wonderful, and I thought, so I’ll come to the United States and learn about American Literature, from the Americans, and then go back and teach the English all about American literature. Didn’t quite happen that way, and there’s lots of reasons for that. One of them is, I was so naive. I thought that the American Ph.D. was the same as the British Ph.D. —that it took as long — the British Ph.D. took three years, an American Ph.D. takes six. By the time I kind of realized this little detail, I was like, okay well, I’m kind of enjoying California. I fell in love, and I got married, so it was kind of like, well, why do I want to go back to England?”

Widdicombe went on to teach at the University of Santa Barbara for six years before realizing he wanted to find a professorship position where he could rise through the ranks. To act on this ambition, Widdicombe moved to New York to teach at the New York Institute of Technology.

“I didn’t like it there, and you can tell one of the reasons I might not like it was because of what the students said the acronym meant. The acronym is NYIT. It stands for Next Year I Transfer. Isn’t that sad?”

Like those students, Widdicombe did find a way to transfer, but as a professor and to UAA. At the time, UAA had advertised for a generalist in literature, and Widdicombe was hired for the job.

Widdicombe said he loves his job as a professor, and he counts his dedication to the occupation as his greatest achievement in life, but outside of academia, one of his greatest passions is running long distance.

“I went through something of a midlife crisis, for whatever reason, and I started to put on a little weight, and I wasn’t totally happy with turning 50,” Widdicombe said. “I thought, well, I’ve got to find a way out of this, and so I started running. I sort of haven’t stopped since.”

Widdicombe, who is almost 62, has run around 30 marathons in 20 different states. He has run the Boston Marathon twice and has qualified for the marathon six times, he’s run numerous ultra-marathons, and he even was a part of putting together a 49K in Anchorage for the 49th state. Running is an enjoyable experience for Widdicombe now, but as a boy he hated running distance.

“I started out saying, I want to run just because that’s a good way to lose weight,” Widdicombe said of the beginning of his running journey at age 50. “The first time I ran was in my neighborhood, and I got halfway through it, and there’s a hill. I’m not totally enjoying myself, because I’m not fit, so I get halfway up the hill and I start walking. Of course, there is an opportunity to say, I’m just going to carry on walking the rest of this, or I am going to start running. So I vividly remember telling myself, and I’m English so there’s this sort of vulgar expression that I use. I said, ‘Bugger this for a lark, I’m going to start running again.'”

Widdicombe translated the phrase to mean, this is stupid, and as a man in an academic profession, stupid things are not things he likes to deal with. So he kept running. He ran his first marathon in 2006, and Widdicombe said he was not prepared for it. Before the marathon, the most he had ever run in one session was eight miles, but he remembers telling friends that, “I’m going to get by on raw talent.”

Widdicombe’s talent might not have been athleticism, but perseverance instead, because ten miles into the marathon, he pulled a muscle behind his knee. With 16 miles to go, he decided to continue, even if he had to walk the rest of the race.

“I get to the end of the race, and I am really happy that I finish, and I say, “That’s the last bloody race I run,”’ Widdicombe said. “Anybody who likes these long distance races is an amnesiac, because five minutes after that I say, ‘OK, I’m going to have to run another one of these. This was too much fun.'”

Widdicombe has a lot to look forward to in the future; he has a book on Shakespeare that’s scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2018, and Widdicombe hopes to run in all 50 states. Sometimes the rebellious child in the family learns to run the distance, and for Widdicombe, that journey has brought him to a tenured position as a professor, the position of author and even as an editor for Utopian Studies.

February 20, 2017 Victoria Petersen
this is an image
Although the cost rent is rising, current management of Title Wave has decided to remain in the same location. The space will undergo renovations soon. Photo credit: Young Kim

Title Wave Bookstore’s lease is up in April and the soon-to-be new owners were unsure if they should stay or if they should go. After weeks of mulling it over, current manager and longtime employee Angela Libal decided to keep the used bookstore in the Spenard Northern Light’s Center strip mall where’s been since 2002.

“Title Wave is an iconic store of Spenard and I think it’s great that they are staying there and staying true to that neighborhood,” Matthew Palmer, a Title Wave customer said.

Libal will be remodeling the store’s 33,000 square feet to utilize space.

“We’ll be remodeling and reworking the space to fit us even better,” Libal said in an email.

Customers are looking forward to the new and improved Title Wave.

“I think that Title Wave made a good choice to stay and preserve a spenardian jewel. I think remodeling is always a good idea for a business and it will probably draw in more customers,” Jacob Reausaw, a frequent shopper at Title Wave books, said.

Store credit and gift certificates will expire on March 15 and the buy-back counter will be temporarily closed for the months of March and April while remodeling takes place. The buy-back counter and store credit will return as soon as the remodel is finished.

February 20, 2017 Brenda Craig
The painting that will be instructed at Paint Night

Student Activities and Commuter Programs have collaborated with Arctic Crown Canvas to host Paint Night to start off Winterfest. Arctic Crown Canvas has been instructing paint nights all over town and Anchorage residents have been loving it. This will be the third paint night hosted at UAA and seats always fill up quickly. This event is $5 for UAA students taking six or more credits with a valid ID and $25 for the general public.

“We decided to host Paint Night again because we have had great feedback from students that they enjoyed the past events and would like to see it more often,” Kris Morse, applied technologies leadership major and Commuter Programs manager, said.

Paint Night is an event where individuals can come in and bond with friends while following an instructor’s step-by-step painting methods.

“It’s a night where you come and learn how to paint an awesome picture, there is a painting teacher who walks you through all the steps,” Madison Gregory, communications and advertising major and Paint Night lead, said. “It’s a social painting night, come out with all your friends.”

The last paint night at UAA had a huge turnout and many students had a fun experience painting with friends and enjoying the refreshments.

“At the UAA paint night, I enjoyed getting together with my friends and messing around with paint. The food was delicious and it was a very family friendly environment,” Melissa Kapelari, fine arts major, said. “The only thing I could suggest is that this class was definitely a beginner class so it was way too simple for what I was looking for in a paint night.”

For this upcoming Paint Night, an instructor will teach attendees how to paint the northern lights and sled dogs inspired by the Iditarod. It may sound complicated but with the help from the instructors, it will be an easy and fun experience for all.

“Paint Night is a fantastic way to get people to come together and have fun. Making art to create anything whether it be a painting or a cardboard tree or a beaded necklaces can be very meditative and rewarding,” Kapelari said. “Painting can easily be done by anyone, and this is a great way to show people just how exciting and easy it can be to make a simple painting look good.”

If you are looking for an excuse to get out of the house and express your creativity, Paint Night is a great way to start. Even with little to no experience, Paint Night will guide you through and teach you techniques that you can use for future personal paintings.

“I enjoyed my experience and suggest other UAA students to go have fun and paint whether it be through UAA, or the Muse or Hard Rock Cafe and depending on what environment you’re looking for, there’s a paint night out there that will suit you,” Kapelari said. “Paint Night is a great creative way to have fun. I’d say they are more geared to beginners who have little to no experience painting but can still be a great way to hang out with friends.”

Seats fill up quickly at Paint Night events, so make sure to show up early and bring your friends. It is always exciting to take something home that you created with your own hands. Also, the painting makes a great home decoration. Channel your inner Bob Ross at Paint Night at UAA’s Student Union cafeteria on Feb. 27 at 6 p.m.

February 20, 2017 Sarah Tangog
The Care Team Book Club holding their weekly Thursday meetings in the Den with a sign behind them that reads "Connecting. Caring. Community." Photo credit: Jay Guzman

Thursdays at the Student Union Den highlights the weekly meeting of The Care Team Book Club, an organization that allows students and staff to be themselves, and to think outside of the box. Run by Care Team coordinator Lisa Terwilliger, the Care Team Book Club is open to everyone and anyone and encourages an atmosphere of comfort and reality.

Terwilliger started the club in 2016, after wanting to create a safe environment in which both students and staff could mingle and meet. Terwilliger, experienced in working as a mental health provider, was hired at UAA in 2013 as a Care Team coordinator. She realized that many students weren’t asking for help when they needed it and wanted to bridge that disconnect of communication.

“Mostly people that were being referred to me mostly were lonely and didn’t have a lot of social systems. They didn’t have friends, and they didn’t have the form to make friends,” Terwilliger said, when asked why she started the club in the first place. “Some of these people are Care Team referrals, some of them are just people who see or are invited by others.”

The book club brings in readers from different ages and backgrounds. The club is open to discussions about the subject material, as well as the members’ opinions and whether or not they disagree with the author.

“It just brings people together, and you can get to know new people, you get to have insights about what other people feel about the books, and — I love to read,” Makenzie Johnson, English major, said.

This semester, the book club is focusing on “The Fighter’s Mind” by Sam Sheridan. It’s a nonfiction collection about the psychological and physical aspects of professional fighting.

“The subject material is also very interesting, particularly this book is something I am especially interested in,” Chris Hoch, a business major, said. “I’ve not just learned stuff out of it, but I’m excited by it.”

Though “The Fighter’s Mind” isn’t greeted with as much enthusiasm by everyone in the club, it still sparks many opinions and evokes many thoughts during the club’s discussions.

“I really wanted students to understand about resiliency and vulnerability,” Terwilliger said. This book, in particular, was referred to Terwilliger by a former book club member.

The Care Team Book Club – though still small compared to many organizations at UAA – packs a big punch. Not only is it an organization that allows others to think and speak up, but it encourages a support system that should be scattered onward throughout the campus.

“If we take the book club and we spread it throughout UAA, we’ll have more of a supportive environment,” Johnson said.

“It has a good atmosphere here, and [it’s] a good place,” Joel Stitt, a UAA guest, said.

Overall, though the book club is a place to read, reflect and discuss, it is also a place to meet, mingle and befriend others – students and staff alike. First and foremost, the club is part of the Care Team.

“Everybody on campus is part of the Care Team, you know? Anybody can refer anybody to get help. We all need to care for each other.” Terwilliger said.

This book club is certainly a good place to start.

February 20, 2017 Victoria Petersen
this is an image
Photo credit: Victoria Petersen

Maria Camila, Daniela and Ana De La Torre celebrate their Colombian heritage through food.

Maria Camila, a management and finance student at UAA, Daniela, a management and marketing student at UAA, both went through UAA’s culinary program where their interest in the food of their homeland grew.

Born and raised in Colombia, the De La Torre sisters moved to Alaska nearly seven years ago when their father’s job placed their family in Anchorage.

For a tasty and easy snack, Maria Camila walks us through the making of pan de yuca (yuca bread).

Traditionally yuca flour is used to make this dish, but tapioca starch works just as well. Locally tapioca starch can be at Red Apple Market in Mountain View.

If you can’t find queso fresco, the De La Torre’s recommended mozzarella as a good substitute.

This bread can be eaten as a snack or an appetizer. Enjoy on its own or serve with honey: a De La Torre recommendation.


1 cup yuca flour/tapioca starch

1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 large eggs

10 ounces queso fresco, crumbled

1 and a half cups of milk


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. In a stand-up mixer or immersion blender mix together the wet ingredients (eggs, milk and cheese).

3. In a separate bowl, mix together starch or flour and baking powder.

4. Slowly incorporate the flour or starch mixture into the wet ingredients, blending or mixing at the same time.

5. Mix until the batter is liquid and pour into muffin tins, filling each about halfway.

6. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.