Explore Southeast: Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me

Who doesn’t love an old school Grey’s Anatomy reference? In our efforts to help prospective students pick, choose, and love UAS, we’re hosting our first annual EXPLORE SOUTHEAST event on April 1st and 2nd, 2016. This event will bring high school seniors from across the country to UAS to experience life in our little corner of the world. The students will stay overnight in the … Continue reading Explore Southeast: Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me

UAS Students Assist with Killer Whale Necropsy

BY ANNELIESE MOLL For the UAS Whalesong On Thursday, November 13, a killer whale was reported to have stranded near Bridget Cove. Several UAS students (Taylor Stumpf, Apple Aldana, Jonna Vachal, Mathew Stevens, Esteban Rivas, Holly Kelchner) were quick to jump at the opportunity to assist with a necropsy early the following morning. After racing the tide, the whale was moved to the NOAA lab … Continue reading UAS Students Assist with Killer Whale Necropsy

Whalefest 2015

For the UAS Whalesong

On November 5th, a group of students taking a ‘Discussions in Marine Mammalogy’ class went to Sitka, Alaska, to attend the 19th annual Sitka Whalefest. Unlike other years, the symposium was held on the Sheldon Jackson campus rather than the Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Many UAS students left early for the conference because they had volunteered to mentor a student from Kenai Peninsula College. When they arrived on the 5th, the UAS student mentors were introduced to their mentees and promptly set out on a whale watching tour. On this tour students and other passengers with cameras were urged to take as many fluke pictures as possible so that students could have an opportunity to practice identifying them.

At the symposium the students and their mentees attended talks that ranged from harmful algal blooms, sea ice ecology, whalefalls, bioluminescent jellyfish, to glaciers. Each day of the symposium covered a different section of the ocean. Day one was shallow apex, the second was deep edge, and the final was frozen border. Continue reading “Whalefest 2015”

This Sequel is Better: The New Mendenhall Valley Public Library

For the UAS Whalesong
Rarely are sequels better, but in the case of the Valley Public Library take 2, it’s a no-brainer. Having escaped the confines, burnt-pizza-and-pull-tabs ambiance of the Mendenhall Mall, the Valley Library has a new home and, for UAS students, this new venue for studying and hanging out is not to be missed.  It’s the long awaited, recently completed new Mendenhall Valley Library at Dimond Park. That’s right, you can get your swim, soak, sauna on at the Dimond Park pool and then walk next door to the second most beautiful library in Juneau (ok I’m biased because I get to work at Egan Library every day).  Before heading inside, on the walls flanking the entrance be sure to check out the engraved donor bricks.  There are over 800 bricks featuring the names of community members, favorite literary characters and quotations including the bittersweet, “Here lies Dobby, a free elf”.  You’ll also find the names of many UAS alumni and likely those of future UAS students considering the convenient proximity of the facility to Riverbend Elementary and Thunder Mountain High School. Continue reading “This Sequel is Better: The New Mendenhall Valley Public Library”

El Niño and Alaska

For the UAS Whalesong
At some point over the last few months you have most likely heard the name “El Niño” while you were listening to the radio or watching the weather portion of the news. You might have gathered that it has to do with increased amounts of rain or storm frequencies, but there is a bit more to it than just that. Continue reading “El Niño and Alaska”

The UA Board of Regents at UAS

For the UAS Whalesong
As you no doubt have heard, the UA Board of Regents met in Juneau Sept. 17-18, bringing news of future budget changes and tuition adjustments, and to celebrate the naming of the John R. Pugh Residence Hall. I had the opportunity to sit in on both days and observe ongoing discussion on several topics.
UAS was celebrated for outstanding attitudes and new approaches to learning, especially student initiatives and participation in and out of classrooms. I didn’t publicly testify for or against anything but instead listened to several individuals who gave heartfelt testimonies on the topic of tuition, and what increase would be acceptable. Continue reading “The UA Board of Regents at UAS”

Happy Trails

For the UAS Whalesong
Did you know that Juneau has over 200 miles of hiking trails? Some trails meander short distances through the forest or along the beach. Others lead you away from civilization, to the top of mountains or the face of glaciers. You don’t have to be super fit or back country savvy to enjoy Juneau’s trails. You just have to know your limits and choose wisely.
Since I moved to Juneau in 1996, I’ve always had a copy of 90 Short Walks Around Juneau, by Mary Lou King on my bookshelf. You can find this book locally at all bookstores. I crack it open almost every time I go out. It’s rich with information – not just the length and elevation of the trail, but with historical information and notes about wildlife. Continue reading “Happy Trails”


For the UAS Whalesong
As you may know, I was a Student Orientation Leader for the Fall 2015 New Student Orientation. And as you may not know, several of the incoming students I interacted with asked me why I had volunteered to be a student leader. If you’re one of those students and already know my answer to that question, feel free to move on to a different article. If, however, you are not, stick around! But don’t worry. I’m not going to talk about just me. I have a blog for that. This is about you, and this past orientation, and why I think orientation is an overall great process. Continue reading “#orientation”

An Interview with Chancellor Caulfield

For the UAS Whalesong

The UAS Whalesong’s Lexi Cherry had the opportunity to sit down with newly-minted Chancellor Rick Caulfield.

Lexi Cherry: Tell us your story. Who are you? Where did you come from?
Rick Caulfield: I came to Juneau in 1975 on the ferry Columbia, and I ended up moving up to Anchorage and then to Fairbanks. I spent a good part of 2 years in the interior, and then I came back down to Southeast Alaska and I worked here during the summers in the late ‘70s. My wife and I met here and were married in Gustavus in 1979, and then we ended up moving back up into the interior so she could finish her college degree. I got my master’s degree in education at UAF, and then took a job out in western Alaska in Bristol Bay. We lived out in Dillingham for 5 years, and then I decided to go back and work on a doctorate in the UK. …I ended up doing field work in Greenland, focusing on aboriginal subsistence whaling. I finished my PhD in 1993, and then came back to Alaska and worked as a professor and later on as a campus director at UAF. Five years ago, I was offered the position of provost here at UAS, so in 2010, my family and I moved back down to Southeast Alaska. … when the position of chancellor opened up this past year, I applied for and was lucky enough to get it. Continue reading “An Interview with Chancellor Caulfield”

Taking the Plunge for the Glory Hole!


The Polar Plunge is probably one of the most well-known events that happens worldwide annually. Most of the time it is associated with beginning a new year or jumping for a charity fund-raising event. This event has been a tradition at UAS specifically since 1998. For this year’s Polar Plunge, the campus was raising funds and awareness for The Glory Hole. The Glory Hole is a homeless shelter and soup kitchen located here in downtown Juneau. Unfortunately, they just went through a detrimental event; about two months ago a broken pipe ended up flooding the facility. They were just able to reopen on Feb. 5. What’s really awesome though, is what came about after this terrible event.

Continue reading “Taking the Plunge for the Glory Hole!”