UA Statewide Briefs

BP becomes museum’s newest corporate partner

FAIRBANKS – BP recently became the University of Alaska Museum of the North’s newest corporate partner with a $25,000 donation to the museum. The North Slope producer will serve as the lead partner for the museum’s annual open house.

“BP is committed to supporting Alaska’s communities,” said Carla Beam, BP Alaska director of community affairs. “The museum’s exhibits and programs enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors. We hope the access to the museum’s research labs during the open house will inspire a new generation of scientists.”

The museum’s annual open house brings visitors into the museum’s research labs and other areas not usually open to the public. The event attracts nearly 1,000 visitors in a typical year, primarily families, and also includes free admission to the museum’s exhibit galleries, hands-on activities in the education center and demonstrations by Alaska Native artists.

Support from corporate partners like BP provides a critical funding source for the museum, which receives less than 25 percent of its funding from the state. In addition to supporting the museum’s research and education programs, corporate partnerships allow the museum to offer free or reduced admission for special events and programs.

“We’re grateful to BP for their generosity,” said museum development director Julie Estey. “Private support is key to the museum’s continued success. Partnerships like this help make the museum more accessible to the community.”

Researchers garner Murdock “Partners in Science” grants

FAIRBANKS – The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has awarded $15,000 grants to two University of Alaska Fairbanks professors as part its Partners in Science Program.

Larry Duffy, a professor with the chemistry and biochemistry department, will partner with Lathrop High School science teacher Wendy Ehnert to conduct research over the next two summers. Their project title is “Effect of Exercise and Diet on Circulating VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor).”

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Gary Laursen, a professor with the biology and wildlife department, will partner with Wayne A. Woodgate, a science teacher at Marshall School in Marshall, Alaska. The title of their research is “Fungal Successional Patterns, Fruiting Response, Ectomycorrhizal Symbioses, and Hydrophytic Status Assessment of Wetland Sitka Spruce.”

The awards also include funds for travel to national Partners in Science conferences, where Ehnert and Woodgate will each share research results.

The grants are awarded through a competitive process in the Partners in Science Program at the Murdock Trust. Applications are accepted from high school teachers and mentors from a five-state region. The program’s primary goal is to provide high school science teachers with opportunities to work at the cutting edge of science, to revitalize their teaching and help them appreciate the use of inquiry-based methods in science teaching.

The Murdock Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. “Jack” Murdock, provides grants in five Pacific Northwest states to organizations that seek to strengthen the region’s educational and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. The Partners in Science Program is one of its many efforts in the region.

UAS to host nuclear awareness conference

JUNEAU – The University of Alaska Southeast is holding a Nuclear Awareness Conference April 18 through April 20. A featured topic is Juneau’s role in Ballistic Missile Defense and the Lena Point Radar.

The conference will include keynote talks by Shigeko Sasamori, a survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima; Mayor James Matayoshi, an activist on behalf of the Marshallese people in the aftermath of the nuclear testing conducted by the U.S.; and Holly Barker, an author and senior adviser to the Marshallese government.

The three-day event is a joint project of the Hiroshima Peace Museum, The Marshall Island Government, Veterans for Peace, Alpha Phi Omega (Alpha Zeta Theta Chapter), The Leighty Foundation, Juneau People for Peace and Justice, Skagway School District and the UAS Chancellor’s office.

Numerous presentations will be conducted by Andrew Himes, founder of Voices in Wartime and members of Veterans for Peace, Juneau Chapter. Performances are scheduled by Skagway and Haines high school drama and debate teams. Other activities include an open Poetry and Prose reading, a documentary film series and an educational workshop for teachers, directed by Andy Himes.

The Nuclear Awareness Conference is the result of a project by Skagway High School English teacher Kent Fielding and students Shelby Surdyk and Erica Harris. Through extensive research into Marshallese culture and history, they developed a passion for the Marshallese people and a desire to educate others about the effects of nuclear proliferation and nuclear testing.

After traveling and performing in the Marshall Islands, Fielding and his students capitalized on an opportunity from the Hiroshima Peace Museum. It was to host Shigeko Sasamouri to speak about her experiences following the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. Fielding and his high school students also arranged to bring Marshall Islands representatives Matayoshi and Barker. Other speakers and presenters will address the issue of nuclear technology and wartime.

The Nuclear Awareness Conference will be held at the University of Alaska Southeast’s Egan Library.