Recent Submissions

  • Legacy junk: MFA thesis exhibition

    Juneau, Allison; Mollett, David; Jones, Zoe; Mehner, Da-ka-xeen (2020-12)
    I recently purchased a tract of raw land with the intention of building a cabin, and wasn't terribly surprised to find the land came with some impressive piles of junk. I was frankly enamored of these objects, abandoned but not destroyed by the previous owner. They had a potentially useful quality that resonated with other aspects of the Fairbanks community; transfer sites, the airplane graveyard behind the airport, old couches and tables and wooden spools that littered the yards of countless homes. This rural detritus represents a confluence of natural and cultural forces that Alaskans experience every day. I wish to investigate this transitional territory by abstracting and amplifying the fine line between usefulness and decay. I believe that in this modern life, it is all too easy to assume that the world of nature and the world of human culture are totally separate. For me, this assumption was repeatedly challenged after experiencing the destructive power of nature during my childhood in Tornado Alley, and more recently, the subzero temperatures of Interior Alaska. I typically draw inspiration from daily observations of my environment, and as a result my imagery changed dramatically after I moved to the far North. Despite the change of landscape, the core concept of investigating intersections of nature and culture remains the same. This is a fascinating task in the Alaskan Interior, as these intersections are clearly exposed. This community has a unique relationship to nature, as modern homes and businesses coexist with virtually untouched wilderness. These experiences have instilled in me a deep respect for the vast web of life that both supports and threatens my community, and motivates me to seek out and emphasize places where natural and artificial worlds collide using the malleable language of art and oil painting.
  • VITAS: A Visual Exhibit

    Walter, Ilisa A.; Croskrey, Wendy E.; Jones, Zoë M. (2020-12)
    VITAS is a visual exhibition that addresses the idea of a posthumous legacy. The substance of a person’s life is composed of what they’ve done, and what they become after death is determined by that substance. This exhibition is composed of 25 carved animal skulls and sculptures inspired by the concept of vitas, treating life as an opportunity to advance the next generation through life’s work. VITAS studies the idea of what happens after the passing of a being by applying embellishment, adornment, pigments, and carvings onto the skeletal remains of animals. By applying human influence to natural material, the animal’s experience becomes a vital part of the artwork. Bone density, size, condition, and abnormalities are all determined by how the animal lived. These factors are a major consideration in design and aesthetic choices in each unique piece.
  • Creating safety policy and procedures in an active shooter event

    Nash, Mechelle L.; Taylor, Karen; DeCaro, Peter; Hum, Richard; Heckman, Daniel (2020-12)
    School and workplace active shootings are on the rise and seem to be the norm today and there is not a working policy in place to train for an active shooter event in our organization, Golden Valley Electric Association. The purpose of this project was to develop a workable policy and procedure for the employees and to enhance the safety culture within our organization. To achieve this goal, a training presentation was created using the ALICE Training Institute’s protocol to train the workforce. The ALICE acronym stands for A=Alert, L=Lockdown, I=Inform, C=Counter, E=Evacuate. Over the course of research for this project, research indicated that a crisis management plan (CMP) and crisis management team (CMT) would be a better option for training the organization, not policies and procedures. A sample crisis management plan and outline for the crisis management team were created. The crisis management team would deal with the policies and procedures and ensure the success of training the workforce and enhancing the safety culture of the organization. The recommendations are for the organization to select the CMT, review the CMP created, and implement and maintain the plan. Following and implementing these recommendations into practice would ensure the workforce was trained and would strengthen the safety culture of the organization.
  • The Ranch(er)

    Connelley, Wendy; Brashear, James; Mehner, Da-ka-xeen; Croskrey, Wendy Ernst; Jones, Zoë Marie (2020-12)
    THE RANCH(ER) is a thesis project to fulfill the requirements of an MFA degree in visual fine-arts. This project focused on exploring my connection between the land, the ranch and its tools, and generations of ancestors living and working a small family ranch. I give voice to the seldom-vocal rancher and the isolation, hardships, and tenderness of ranch life. I have chosen as subjects for this exhibition objects that are utilitarian and are items woven into the cultural fabric of ranchers and their families. They are icons of generational identity. Rather than creating purely traditional functional objects such as cups and bowls, I’ve created conceptual pieces that emphasize the intangible connection between utilitarian objects and their users, as well as the objects’ roles in its customary position. By removing the items from their original context, I point to the context of function and utility: a life of use and work. Clay is the primary material used to create this installation to tell a universal story. The ceramic and sculptural pieces were exhibited to the public as an installation in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Fine Arts Gallery in the Fine Art Complex, Room 312, from November 2-20, 2020. The artist’s public presentation was given through an open Zoom meeting on Friday, November 13, 2020. The project report summarizes the examination and investigations involved in the development of the project.
  • Navigating ambiguous regulations: an artist's perspective on indigenous art materials and resource management in Alaska

    Woldstad, Theresa M.; Mehner, Da-ka-xeen; Croskrey, Wendy Ernst; Mason, Charles; Jones, Zoe Marie; Simpson, Glen (2020-03)
    Alaska Native art is legally defined as art created by a member of a state or federally-recognized tribe of Alaska Natives or a certified non-member artisan (Indian Arts and Crafts Act). Yet this legal definition does not reference the cultural expression and application of creative skill that makes Alaska Native Art a strategic expressive resource. Alaska Native Art is a cultural resource that impacts indigenous economies, cultural social networks, natural resource utilization, and political engagement. Through the creation of native art, an individual not only expresses their culture but also becomes engaged in the natural resource utilization and management in Alaska. However, the link between natural resource management and customary material harvest and utilization has been historically underappreciated primarily due to regulatory ambiguity and broad nature of artistic creation. The harvest and use of these customary materials are governed by multiple state and federal laws across diverse management agencies. State and federal natural resource management agencies possess different interpretations for who may harvest natural resources for art, definitions of significant modifications of natural materials to create art, and priorities governing urban and rural access. Each agency applies different administrative codes to determine proper permitting for both personal artistic creation and the manufacture of marketplace authentic Alaska Native Handicrafts. However, this ambiguous labyrinth of regulation is constantly changing and adapting to new federal and state laws, treaties, and court rules. It is the responsibility of the native artist to navigate this complicated mosaic of regulatory authority to harvest natural materials for art. Yet the foundation from which an artist begins navigating regulatory authority is often inadequately defined. It is the purpose of this MFA thesis is to provide an artist’s perspective on native art materials and resource management in Alaska
  • King on ice: history of the Alaska Gold Kings and the transformation of Fairbanks into a hockeytown

    Urban, Samuel Fox; Ehrlander, Mary F.; Boylan, Brandon M.; Speight, Jeremy S. (2020-05)
    Wanting a higher level of hockey for local youth to aspire to, city hockey officials created the semi-professional Teamsters hockey team in 1975. The team was initially comprised of the best local recreational players, many of whom relocated to Fairbanks to work on the TransAlaska Pipeline from the upper Midwest and Seattle. Two years later the team took on the name Fairbanks Gold Kings (later changed to the Alaska Gold Kings), and quickly began proving itself against teams from Anchorage and the Pacific Northwest. From 1975 to 1995 the Gold Kings were an amateur senior men’s team, and from 1995-1997 they spent their last two Fairbanks years in the professional minor league West Coast Hockey League. Between its inception in 1975 as the Teamsters, and in spite of its relocation to Colorado Springs in 1998 as the Alaska Gold Kings, Fairbanks’ team was a huge success. The Gold Kings won five national championships, played 16 different international and Olympic teams, played overseas in Asia and Europe on multiple occasions, and laid the foundation for the level of hockey found in Fairbanks today.
  • 'I am the last frontier': idealized Alaskan themes through media and their influence on culture, tourism, and policy

    Lawhorne, Rebecca; Hum, Rich; O’Donoghue, Brian; McDermott, Tori (2020-05)
    A large body of literature suggests that in media history there exists prominent narrative themes about the State of Alaska. These themes affect both resident and visitor perceptions and judgements about what life is and should be in Alaska and subsequently, create values that ultimately influence how the state operates. The evolution of these themes are understood in a modern capacity in the Alaska reality television phenomenon of the early 2000’s. This study concludes that the effect of these forms of media may create conflict and ultimately, may not work in the state’s best interests. The researcher believes that the state has new tools to use in its image management. She recommends that new forms of media be cultivated Alaskan residents, tourism industry leaders and special interest groups as a means of alleviating the misrepresentations, expanding communication representation and developing positive visitor experiences for younger visitors who utilize new forms of media. Communication Theory, interviews and content analysis are used to present a study on Alaskan culture, its presence in media and the influence mass media has on this unique environment.
  • Engineering communicators: agenda setting impacts on perceptions of communication for engineering students

    Heaney, Lindsey; Taylor, Karen; Hum, Richard; Trochim, Erin (2020-05)
    What is effective communication? Within the job industry, communication is a sought after and valued skill when it comes to hiring employees. The engineering field is no different with communication skills being an important component of the discipline through project management and working with others from a variety of backgrounds. However, there is a gap between what the engineering profession is expecting and what is being produced from college institute engineering programs regarding communication skills. To better understand this phenomenon, message constructs regarding communication in course materials and perceptions from engineering students were examined through anonymous surveys and curriculum analysis. Through the lens of agenda-setting theory, clear themes between course materials and the surveys center around emphasis on the end result and the use of god-terms when referring to communication. Furthermore, communication by example with faculty and staff play a key role in the way students perceive and understand communication’s role within the profession.
  • Communication in the face of diversity: towards a training model for U.S. Army cadets

    Lasiter, Nolan O.; Taylor, Karen; Richey, Jean; Sager, Kevin; DeCaro, Peter (2011-12)
    The purpose of this study was to explore the need for a communication and cultural diversity training program in a Northwestern university Reserve officer Training Corps (ROTC) department. A needs assessment was conducted identifying the need for a training program in both culture and communication. Research questions explored the need for a training program in communication and cultural diversity. Quantitative methods assessed the overall outcomes from the communication and cultural diversity workshops. Hypotheses predicted that Cadet's scores would increase from pretest to posttest as a result of the communication and cultural diversity workshop. Senior level cadets at a Northwestern university ROTC program volunteered to participate in the study. A pilot training program was administered in the spring semester in order generate feedback and improve the design. The final training design was implemented in the fall and assessed using the communication competency measurement and cultural competency instrument. Results showed that there was an overall significant increase of scores from pretest to posttest, suggesting that the workshops improved cadets abilities in communication and cultural diversity.
  • Letters as literature: semantic and discursive features of irony in "Letters to Howard"

    Cook, Corinna Jo; Schneider, William; Koester, David; Ruppert, James (2011-12)
    This thesis examines the literary features of the Letters to Howard, a series of letters to the editor of the Alaskan newspaper, the Tundra Times. Published over the course of several months in 1973, the letters were signed by two semi-fictional characters: an old Eskimo man, Naugga Ciunerput, and a lost VISTA volunteer, Wally Morton, the two lone inhabitants of the imagined Land's End Village, Alaska. Naugga and Wally had a pointed agenda: they were addressing editor Howard Rock and his readership with their concerns regarding the newly-passed Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, or ANCSA. In truth, Naugga and Wally's letters were written by two graduate students, Fred Bigjim (an Inupiaq from Nome studying education) and James Ito-Adler (a law student who had switched to anthropology). The use of irony in these letters is the subject of my analysis here; I focus first on the semantic layers of irony and second on its discursive dimensions. This thesis' ultimate goal is to illuminate the ways in which these letters contest history, frame the nature and distribution of power, and examine the myriad tensions at play between Native peoples' historic, cultural, and political ties to the land.
  • Archaeology at Teklanika West (HEA-001): an upland archaeological site, central Alaska

    Coffman, Samuel C. (2011-12)
    This thesis research involved a reinvestigation of the Teklanika West (HEA-001) archaeological site, central Alaska. It focused on understanding and expanding upon the site formation processes, dating, and characterizing cultural components at the site. Analyses were designed to address the preceding research purposes, while inter-relating research objectives. Twelve and a quarter square meters were excavated within five blocks located across the site. These excavation blocks yielded dateable materials in clear association with chipped-stone technology. Both environmental and cultural data obtained at the site have produced a more complex understanding of the site and surrounding landscape. Multiple components ranging in age from the late Pleistocene through late Holocene are represented at the site. Lithic analyses indicate a wide variety of lithic reduction occurring within components; ranging from biface production to late-stage weapons maintenance. Faunal remains from the oldest components consisted of bison, while the mid-late Holocene components consisted of caribou and sheep, respectively. All these data indicate that the upper Teklanika River valley was deglaciated by the late Pleistocene, allowing humans access to animals, new travel routes, and raw material resources.
  • Animal companionship and identity construction in the middle English "Ywain and Gawain"

    Byers, Robert E. (2011-12)
    As a relatively recent field within literary cultural studies, "animal studies" has the potential to ask sophisticated new questions about the central and privileged place of the humanist "cogito." Through an examination of the human-animal companionship found in the Middle English romance "Ywain and Gawain", this thesis aims to contribute to the project of animal studies by tracing how questions about humanity and animality both construct and deconstruct a subject's identity. In the poem, Ywain, a knight in Arthur's court, is exiled from society and befriends a lion, who travels and fights alongside him. The dynamics of their bond highlight a posthumanist identity which begins to articulate itself within Ywain. The fluid nature of the category "man" is further examined throughan analysis of Ywain's sojourn in the woods as a wild man, and the "what is a man" encounter which occurs at the beginning of the poem. Though normative society is reinstated at the end of the text, the study concludes that the added presence of the lion in court undermines humanism's inherently speciesist imagination and serves as a microcosm of one possible vision of a posthumanist society.
  • You say I can, I think I can: peripheral route persuasion as a contributor to employability self-efficacy for undergraduate students

    Uzzell, Brandon W.; Sager, Kevin; Arundale, Robert; Richey, Jean (2011-05)
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the persuasive communication phenomenon between university students and professors concerning students' post-degree employability. Communicative interactions were examined as originating with the Elaboration likelihood model's peripheral route cues (persuasive messages) and the outcomes of these interactions as student's employability self-efficacy (beliefs about employability). Hypotheses predicted that a positive correlation exists between perceived peripheral route cues and employability self-efficacy of students. Senior level undergraduate students at a Northwestern university voluntarily completed an electronic survey containing need for cognition, peripheral route cues, and employability self-efficacy measures. Analysis indicated that employability self-efficacy could be successfully predicted by peripheral route cues. Results showed an overall significant positive correlation between the predictor and outcome variable. Implications of these results, limitations of the study, and future research directions are discussed.
  • Sense versus sentiment: emergent persuasive strategies of non-profit organizations in dichotomous economic climates

    Miller, Alexis S. (2011-05)
    This study seeks to explore the rhetoric employed by the United Way in contrasting economic contexts. With a theoretical framework of Aristotle's Theory of Rhetoric, this study employs rhetorical criticism. Interpretation of results suggests that pathos is most prevalent in crisis conditions, such as a recession, whereas logos is most prevalent under stable economic circumstances. Initial conclusions drawn from the study highlight the importance of community supportiveness appeals in crisis conditions.
  • And other myths

    Kim, Edward (2011-05)
    I do not consider it my job to create meaning; that responsibility lies with the reader. I seek to point in a general direction and allow the reader to bring his/her own experiences to the poem and complete the dialogue between writer and reader. I employ this idea in And Other Myths by use of juxtaposition, by using leaps within a poem to create seams in which a reader may impart or implicate a sense of him/herself. A poem may appear simple but open itself up to complexity with further readings, this is what the poems in And Other Myths strive to do. The poems use myth and subtext/ambiguity to go outside the self and home as a way of looking back and exploring the experience of American culture, of identity. This experience is frequently explored through the scope of my family and Korean heritage, also by creating a myth of the mundane. The mythic form helps to impart a strong sense of legacy and ancestry, but through the lens of a Korean/American upbringing. The sense of the "other" in relation to identity strongly influences my work, not just in a cultural sense, but also in a human sense.
  • Teaching adolescents conflict management skills

    DeLong, Debra M. (2011-05)
    In response to a parents request a workshop to teach a conflict management workshop to high school students was created. A pre-post test design to assess the effectiveness of the workshop was used, with the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument as the measurement. Responses were available for 76 students who were evenly divided between females and males. Overall preferences for using conflict styles did not show a statistically significant change; however, preferences for individual styles did change, with competition showing a statistically significant difference.
  • The low back vowel in mid-coast Maine

    Davidson, Gail (2011-05)
    In mid-coast Maine, the words cod and caught sound like they contain the same vowel phoneme, employing the sound [a], a low back vowel. The word father contains a separate contrasting phoneme, spoken as [a], a low central vowel. This paper attempts to show that this perceived similarity in [a] and difference from [a] is in fact real. Unlike in the area of the Northern Cities Chain Shift, where the sound of the vowels in cod, caught and father all approach [a], the vowel in cod and caught in mid coast Maine remains low and back, occasionally rounded, more often not, while that in father is low and central. Twenty-six current speakers of varying ages, most residents since early childhood, were interviewed to compare these sounds. Each speaker was recorded reading a prepared story and a set of words included in a frame sentence. Formant frequencies for this recorded data were then analyzed. Statistical tests, including t-tests and ANOVAs, were run to compare the vowels and to test the validity of the hypothesis. Normalizing the data for one single vowel sound proved to be unworkable, so men and women were treated separately, as were Narrative and Frame data. The low back vowel was found to be stable in mid-coast Maine, including the same sound in cod and caught, and it was found to contrast with the low central vowel in father. Available historical evidence points to these vowels having been stable in this region for over a hundred years. This contrasts with changes in the vowel sound in the same words in the rest of the United States.
  • A vast tapestry of madness

    Burger, Hans (2011-05)
    "A Vast Tapestry of Madness" is a collection of fictional works exploring the unique conditions of life in Pacific Northwestern America of the early twenty-first century. In three stories and two novellas, it explores the consequences of economic and political upheavals, the cultural complexities of sexuality, and the filters which the media impose on thought and perception, through characters obsessed with the masks they present to the world, yet never quite able to maintain those fronts against the reader or themselves.
  • Counterhistory in the literature of Juárez

    Burger, Hans (2011-05)
    Counterhistory in the Literature of Juárez deals with three novels portraying a series of unsolved murders in the city of Juárez, Mexico, including Stella Pope Duarte's If I Die in Juárez, Alicia Gaspar de Alba's Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders, and Roberto Bolano's 2666. The author argues that each novel creates an alternate historical record of the murders, as well as conditions in the city at large, which counters the understanding of the crimes which has been imposed by hegemonic forces in the Mexican and American governments. Because of their oppositional tactics, the author terms all three novels counterhistories, a word with complex and sometimes contradictory meanings in both literary criticism and metahistorical thought. The author explores various ideas of counterhistory and documents the ways each novel fulfills a counterhistorical purpose, as well as the ways in which the unique qualities of the novelistic form empower the creation of oppositional and polemical meanings.

View more