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Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity


2012 Award Recipients and Project Abstracts

Carrie Comstock, Humpback Whale Photographic Data Chelsie Harris, Cup Library Joel Mundy, Canvas, Large-Format Photo Show
Julienne Pacheco, Metabolic Rates of Starry Flounder Crystal Rogers, Tlingit Language Apprenticeship Izabela Thorne, Muddy Hands, Happy Heart

Carrie Comstock

Humpback Whale Photographic Data. Mentor: Andy Szabo ($2500) I propose to increase the amount of validated photographic data available on humpback whales in Southeast Alaska through a significant outreach effort to educate Alaska residents, tourists, and companies involved in the tourism industry (specifically fishing, sightseeing, and whale watching charters). To demonstrate clear “thought leadership” by developing innovative ways to collect scientific data that will significantly enhance the ability of scientists in Juneau and around the world to learn about whale behavior in Southeast Alaska and elsewhere.

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Chelsie Harris

Cup Library. Mentor: Jeremy Kane ($2245) The objective of this project is to bring an interactive learning experience to art students on our campus. My project will be to compile a cup library that will be a permanent collection for the UAS Art Department. I have found that, as a ceramic artist, the best learning tool is getting the chance to handle ceramic art pieces. It allows me to understand the balance, texture, and presence of the piece. I would like to use this research grant to give back to the university that has provided so much for my education. This “library” will consist of fifty different cups made by contemporary ceramic artists that have influenced me during my undergraduate career. I will invite fifty ceramic artists that represent a wide variety of aesthetics and techniques to contribute one of their cups to this library. I will then design and build a high quality, locking display cabinet that will house the fifty art pieces. By utilizing this cup library, students will be exposed to the diversity of contemporary ceramic art.

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Joel Mundy

Canvas, Large-Format Photo Show. Mentor: Ben Huff ($2190) A 2012 URECA Award would allow me to pursue my dream of becoming a working artist and photographer - an outcome consistent with the UAS goal of fostering the creative pursuits of its students and faculty. This exhibition would be the culmination of significant artistic effort - the creation of 10 images printed on large-format canvases for a gallery show. The award would directly fund the purchase (printing and shipping) of the 10 canvases. The specific outcome of this project is a gallery show to take place no later than September 30, 2012. Many hours were spent creating and editing these images, and my passion for art photography is demonstrated in this work. The work will be exhibited (and for sale) at one or multiple locations. Any proceeds will be donated to the UAS Photography club. Unsold works will be donated to be hung in the UAS Auke Bay campus laptop lounge.

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Julienne Pacheco

Metabolic Rates of Starry Flounder, Mentor: Caroline Bergstrom ($1400) I would like to conduct a study on the metabolic rates of the two different morphotypes of Platichthys stellatus, more commonly known as the starry flounder. Polymorphism, or the presence of more than one morphotype, is rarely seen in flatfishes. Typically, species of this order exhibit only a single phenotype, being either the dextral (‘right-sided’) type or the sinistral (‘left-sided’) type. The objective of my study is to quantify the metabolic rates of both morphotypes of P. stellatus before and after exercise to determine if there is a difference in swimming effort and hydrodynamic efficiency. Evidence of this would provide a very rare example of significant physiological consequences to the expression of a marine polymorphism. The University of Alaska Southeast campus lacks some of the equipment necessary, such as the respirometry chamber for juvenile flatfish. Any awarded sum would be applied towards purchase of necessary equipment, lab gear, equipment maintenance, and field collection expenses.

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Crystal Rogers

Tlingit Language Apprenticeship. Mentor: Lance Twitchell ($2500) My proposed research project is to become a language immersion apprentice. I would assist in the development of a language immersion class to take place in August of 2012, and I would do research before then that would allow me to learn about successful indigenous language revitalization models, and to consider adapting them to the Tlingit community. In the months leading up to the camp, I will research successful models of language revitalization, including language “triage,” or finding out what are the most important steps in preserving indigenous languages while building a community of speakers. The language immersion class will be available to UAS students who are studying the Tlingit language. The direct outcome will be the language immersion camp itself, along with a possible model for language revitalization available to the Tlingit community to use.

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Izabela Thorne

Muddy Hands, Happy Heart, Mentor: Elizabeth Zacher ($1802) What I propose is a community outreach project with the aim to provide one-on-one ceramics instruction and materials to individuals who are in need and could benefit the most from bringing art-making into their lives. The goal of the project is to provide these individuals with a life tool that they can use to find their answers and bring them joy so they can be fully engaged and contributing members of their families and communities. I call the project “Muddy Hands, Happy Heart.” My goal would be to recruit a group of three to five people of varying ages and challenges that I can meet with weekly over a two-month period to teach basic hand-building ceramic techniques (i.e., pinch pots, slab and coil building) that can be made without the need of a wheel. They would be provided with all materials and tools and lessons could be conducted in their homes (especially for the elderly) or potentially at the UAS ceramic studio.

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