News Briefs

Oil companies give $7 million to UA

BP and ConocoPhillips announced a donation of $7 million to UA President Mark Hamilton at the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce. BP and ConocoPhillips have donated $29.5 million of charter-agreement gifts since 2000. The annual donations are a result of a charter agreement between the oil companies and the state regarding the BP merger with ARCO in 1990. Part of the charter agreement identifies university education as a top priority for charitable donations. The donations are given to the UA Foundation, a non-profit entity that manages and invests private donations on behalf of UA. The money has allowed UA to hire several postdoctoral researchers to study global climate change as part of the university’s efforts in International Polar Year in March. Donations from BP and ConocoPhillips have provided funding for seven president’s professorships through UA. The professors are able to teach music, Native languages, fisheries and educational technology. Donations have also allowed scholars, physicians, child development experts and Pulitzer-prize winners to visit UA campuses.

Harry Potter mania stirs up pre-book sales at the UAA Bookstore

The highly anticipated and final book of the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” will be released on Saturday, July 21. The UAA Campus Bookstore is now offering a 46 percent discount on the book for $18.89, for a savings of more than $16. The pre-order price for the book on the Borders Web site is $20.99, which is also the same price for Barnes and Noble online. For those who haven’t read the published works, the UAA Bookstore also has the six previous books of the series for sale. There will be a “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” release party Saturday, July 21, at the UAA Bookstore. Last year’s celebration included owls from the Anchorage Zoo, Harry Potter-related refreshments, costumes and more. Rachel Epstein, events coordinator for the bookstore, anticipates more people to attend this year, with more than 300 copies sold during last year’s event.

“We just want everybody to have some fun and think of the bookstore as a place of the community,” she said. To reserve a copy, e-mail your name, phone number and desired quantity to Rachel at anre@uaa.alaska.edu, or visit the UAA Bookstore and fill out an order slip.

Creative writing faculty member awarded prize for poetry

Anne Caston has won the 2006 Cider Press Review Book Award for her second collection of poems, “Judah’s Lion.” Anne Caston is currently serving as the Creative Writing and Literary Arts’ graduate studies program director. “Judah’s Lion” is scheduled for publication through Cider Press Review this September. Caston’s first collection of poems, “Flying Out With The Wounded,” was published in 1997 and was awarded the New York University Press Prize for Poetry. Other awards Caston has received include the Individual Artist’s Grant in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, the International Merit Award in Poetry and the Excellence in Teaching Award from UAF.

UAA students receive IPY research awards

In November 2006, the Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research announced the graduate and undergraduate support awards statewide, totaling $57,658. Several UAA students have received awards for International Polar Year research through a review process in a variety of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration polar issues in physical, biological and social sciences. International Polar Year will officially begin collaborative research in March. CIFAR supports students who are researching areas important to NOAA issues in Alaska. UAA students who received awards include Theresa Rzeczycki, who will be researching the effects of an arctic pollutant on Alaska habitats. Kristin Scheidt is researching climate change and the outer Kenai Peninsula coast and south-central Alaska. Jeff Mayfield and Kalb Stevenson will research the hibernation patterns of arctic vertebrates. Alice Smith is studying cultural identity and behavioral health among Alaska Native students.

UAA nutrition training program expands to Hawaii and Nevada

UAA’s Women Infants and Children Competent Professional Authority program has recently been awarded contracts to expand its model to Hawaii and Nevada. The program has been in effect since 1999 with a partnership between UAA and the state of Alaska. The program will be in distance-learning format, with courses offered in nutrition assessment, infant and early child nutrition, nutrition education and counseling, and the Alaska WIC breastfeeding basics. The distance-learning program will also be able to reach rural communities of Alaska to provide training. The partnership between UAA and the state of Alaska has improved the quality of training for statewide participants for jobs offered in nutrition and children’s services. The adoption of the online program model will provide other states with necessary staff training and address issues relating to child nutrition.