Icicle gives for a second time

Students interested in pursuing a business career in the fishing industry can look forward to more funding from Icicle Seafoods, Inc. A donation of $200,000 was announced in February from Icicle Seafoods, most of which will go directly to UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research. The rest of the funding will be divvied up among other UA campuses, including UAS, UAF and several other smaller campuses.
UAA’s ISER will receive $115,000 to help fund internships in fishery economic research. UAS will receive $25,000 to use toward their Community Connections for Careers program, scholarships funds and microscopes for their Fisheries Technologies program. Kenai Peninsula Colleges and Kodiak College will all receive approximately $20,000. UAF will receive $15,000 for scholarships and new lab equipment.
“Like any contributor to the University, [Icicle Seafoods] can designate (within certain broad guidelines) how they wish their contribution to be used,” UAA professor of economics, Gunnar Knapp, wrote in e-mail.
Knapp said that this donation will help fund programs within ISER such as his Introduction to Fisheries Economics and Markets distance education course. Knapp said he created this particular course with the first generous gift Icicle Seafoods gave UAA last year. He said he thinks the course creates a great opportunity for Alaskans interested in fisheries programs to participate on a statewide level. Icicle Seafoods made the donation to ISER in an attempt to encourage studies and work in the department such as Knapp’s since he has been tracking economics in the fisheries market for a long time. It was Knapp’s decision, however, to use the funding toward the distance education course.
“Our primary goal for the second Icicle grant will be to support active involvement of students in research about Alaska’s fishing industry and seafood markets,” Knapp said.
Last fall, Knapp’s course involved 15 students with a variety of experience in the fishing industry. Knapp said half of the students enrolled were from communities in Southeast Alaska.
Established in 1961, UAA’s ISER’s goal is to teach and emphasize research within the state. According to ISER’s mission statement, the program continues to pursue ideals such as focusing attention on critical economic and social issues in Alaska. They also strive to engage in basic and applied research, which leads to better understanding of those issues.
Distance education programs are a large reason why Icicle Seafoods chose to donate so much of the overall gift to ISER.
“[Knapp’s course] is a distance delivery class which really appeals to us because that way it doesn’t matter where you are in the state. You can hook into that,” said Kris Norosz, Icicle Seafoods government affairs director in Petersburg.
Norosz said the big challenge in Alaska is that communities across the state are very spread out. She said that Icicle Seafoods wants to help create opportunities that will be available to more people. By spreading their donation to UA’s many campuses, Icicle Seafoods is helping multiple programs and students at the same time.
For many companies, donating to the state university system also means tax credits. While UAA receives a helpful contribution, the state of Alaska gives companies a significant tax credit in return.
Norosz said she believed a tax credit incentive helps encourage people to make sizeable donations to the university.
“Last year was our first donation to the university and we decided to repeat it this year,” Norosz said. “We’re excited about the idea of helping spark some interest in people to consider working in or around the seafood industry.”