Health Corner: Grief and Healing

For the UAS Whalesong

As a member of the UAS Community, you may have been impacted by tragic news of recent deaths and loss. Our most recent passing of student, Reed McWilliams, who suddenly passed away last weekend, can bring a host of grief and loss feelings including, shock and disbelief, sadness, anger, fear, physical symptoms and even guilt. This is an important time to take care of yourself while you begin the healing process.

Recovering from grief and loss is a normal process and important in dealing with the thoughts and feelings you experience when someone you love and care about dies. It is a necessary, although painful, part of the grief process. Continue reading “Health Corner: Grief and Healing”

My Friend Reed: An Essay In Memoriam

For the UAS Whalesong

The moment I came around Douglas Island headed home from fishing September 14, 2016 my phone exploded. As I quickly checked it, I saw everyone’s posts about the bad news. I still can’t fully comprehend it. The posts were a group of shared messages from the Student Conservation Association, accompanied with the re-posters’ opinions. People I didn’t even know were sharing some of the most emotionally charged condolences. The original post was a photo of my good friend Reed, with his “traditionally Reed” long blond hair and large radiant smile. The accompanying note read:

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of SCA New Hampshire AmeriCorps member Reed McWilliams, 21, of Bethel, Alaska. On Tuesday, September 13th while off-duty, Reed drowned while swimming in the Connecticut River in Cornish, NH. Earlier in the day, he and his SCA corps mates had been working to restore a section of nearby Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site.

Reed’s deep love of the outdoors, his determination to give back, and his joyful spirit will be greatly missed.

Our thoughts and hearts are with Reed’s family, his loved ones and all those affected by this terrible loss.” Continue reading “My Friend Reed: An Essay In Memoriam”

From the Vaults: “Zombies Invade UAS”

For the UAS Whalesong
Dated April 23, 2012

Zombies have taken over campus! Well, just for a week in early April as part of Humans versus Zombies (HvZ), a nationwide game that fosters student engagement.

The University of Alaska Southeast held its own zombie takeover during the week of April 9. The event was put on by the Student Activities Board, and proved to be a major success – with students reporting stress relief, exercise, and new friendships made. Most importantly, everyone had a ton of fun. Continue reading “From the Vaults: “Zombies Invade UAS””

Stress isn’t Actually That Bad For You

For the UAS Whalesong

As students, we all experience some degree of stress. How often and how severe the stress is can change, and is different from individual to individual, but it is still there nonetheless. Since it is still very early in the semester you might not be feeling it now. However, this time could be a key for you. By staying ahead with the readings and homework for your classes, you may be able to stay ahead of stress. Having a well established routine can impact how well you function when the going gets rough (as in your first round of midterms and eventually finals). Continue reading “Stress isn’t Actually That Bad For You”

The Zika Virus

For the UAS Whalesong

Mosquito-borne viruses, while not such a big deal for us here in Alaska, are a very real threat for people living in warmer climates. Surprisingly, there are quite a few viruses that mosquitoes can carry. Some of the ones that are more commonly known are malaria, West Nile virus, yellow fever, and more recently the zika virus (ZIKV). The zika virus was first recorded in 1947 in Uganda. However, since it was rare and the symptoms believed to be mild, there was not much thought given to it after that. It was the outbreak in Brazil in 2015, with the high number of microcephaly cases, that really brought ZIKV to the light. The link with microcephaly, a birth defect where the baby’s head is smaller than should be expected for its sex and age, is a comparatively new one. When the virus was first being described, it was noted that there was a potential for the virus to infect brain cells in mice. Continue reading “The Zika Virus”

Rats are Cool

For the UAS Whalesong

From a scientific standpoint, behavior can be difficult to classify and record. Naturally, the difficultly level can vary depending on the organism under observation. Behavior can be classified into different categories that are based on who benefits from a particular action. The main groups are altruistic, cooperative, spiteful, and selfish. The main one that this article will focus on is altruistic. Altruism, simply put, are the actions or behavior of an individual that somehow benefit another at some cost to itself. There are many branches and degrees of altruism. More often than not, when you talk about an altruistic behavior it has to do with an individual’s behavior towards another individual or group that is related to itself. However, this is not always the case. Continue reading “Rats are Cool”

Accessing E-mail: Google Apps

For the UAS Whalesong

Welcome new students! You may have noticed that all students, staff, and faculty have a Google Apps account. You can access your university assigned email by selecting the email/calendar link at the top of any UAS page. Please set your email forwarding by logging into ELMO ( and updating your email destination. University assigned emails are

Those of you returning to UAS may have noticed a change from the legacy email server to Google Apps for email. The University of Alaska is working towards universalizing the UA campuses. In the past UAS emails were set up through Outlook Exchange. To streamline communications and calendaring, all UA campuses are now using Google Apps! Continue reading “Accessing E-mail: Google Apps”

From the Chancellor’s Office: UAS Juneau Campus Shuttle Improves Safety and Access for Students

For the UAS Whalesong

A new Juneau campus shuttle program has launched this semester, providing services between the Auke Lake campus, Anderson Building, Student Housing, and Recreation Center.  The shuttle service is designed to improve safety for students, while also improving the ability to move between classes during a short passing period and access to campus services.  Continue reading “From the Chancellor’s Office: UAS Juneau Campus Shuttle Improves Safety and Access for Students”

A Note on the Aurora

For the UAS Whalesong

Over the last week, many have noticed that the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, have been very active. The aurora occurs when charged particles from the sun strike atoms that are in the Earth’s atmosphere. Those charged particles cause the electrons there to more into a higher-energy state. So, when electrons move to a higher energy state it means that the cloud of electrons circling the nucleus move further way from way from the nucleus. When the electrons can no longer remain in that state they drop back down and that releases a photon. A photon is a particle of light.

There are a few different ways that the aurora can appear, such as curtains, arcs, and spirals. For the most part we usually see green, but other colors such as red, white, violet and pink are also possible in very strong displays. The colors are produced by oxygen and nitrogen, with different colors being produced by the molecules at different altitudes.

Unfortunately, living here in southeast Alaska, we don’t get too many clear nights. However, if you are looking for a way to check out what the aurora is going to be like, the University of Alaska Fairbanks has a great website (

Spike and Friends Off Endangered Species List

For the UAS Whalesong

In 1970, humpback whales were listed as endangered due to prior heavy commercial whaling efforts. On September 6, 2016 they were taken off that list. This is an exciting move also because this is the first time since 1994 (when gray whales were removed) that a whale species has been taken off of the endangered species list. Continue reading “Spike and Friends Off Endangered Species List”