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UAS Students Named EPSCoR Fellows

"If we are to learn from our ancestors and benefit from this natural knowledge, we must do it now." - Amanda Bremmer, EPSCoR Grant Recipient

Two UAS undergraduates and one graduate student have been awarded sought after federal grants to research the effect of climate change on the survival of plants and animals and the sustainability of subsistence resources.

“I’m proud of all our students who applied and wrote NSF research proposals,” said UAS advisor and anthropology professor Dan Monteith. “It is a significant commitment to research. The two undergraduate students who will receive funding, Amanda Bremner and Elizabeth Kunibe, competed against other undergraduates in the state. They demonstrate UAS’ commitment to success in teaching and promoting research opportunities for undergraduates. The research projects will promote research and enhance outreach and collaboration in the State. The projects will involve other academics, State and Federal agencies, and local and regional Native stakeholders.”

In her application Amanda Bremner wrote, “I will video record narratives or Traditional Educational Knowledge (TEK) told by elders.” The English major and Tlingit student is recording interviews in Tlingit with elders in her home village of Yakutat about how people and animals are responding to climate change and its relationship to subsistence resources. She is consulting with UAS Alaska Native languages research professor Alice Taff to learn recording, interview, and translation techniques using linguistic acoustic phonetic applications. Bremner is inspired by the narrow window of opportunity learners have to work with birth speakers of Tlingit. “If we are to learn from our ancestors and benefit from this natural knowledge, we must do it now,” she said. The Yakutat Tlingit Tribe is supplying Bremner with video equipment and a work space. Bremner received an $8,000 grant.

Social Science student Elizabeth Kunibe’s research involves summer visits to Southeast communities to learn more about the agricultural life ways of the Tlingit People and past sustainability. The research will help build information on the resource-conserving aspects of local small-scale agriculture that was practiced in these villages. In addition, it will promote discussion of ancestral food production and present food systems. Kunibe will research TEK horticulture and traditional gardening including that of potato varieties. Kunibe received a $5,000 grant.

In the Spring of 2007, UAS M.S. candidate Colin Shanley received a $22,000 EPSCoR graduate fellowship in biology. His research focus is on balancing access and subsistence needs against effective wildlife habitat conservation.

The grants were awarded by Alaska EPSCOR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research), a partnership between the University of Alaska and the National Science Foundation dedicated to growing Alaska’s scientific research capacity. Alaska EPSCoR, which is funded through a 3-year, $9 million NSF grant awarded in July 2007 as well as $3 million in UA matching funds, supports UA undergraduates, grad students, postdocs and faculty members and also conducts an active public outreach program.

 
 

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