Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company Renews $300,000 Investment in UAS Mine Training

Juneau, Alaska – Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company has pledged to renew a $300,000 commitment to the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Center for Mine Training for their “Pathways to Mining Careers” program beginning in Fall 2017. This brings the company’s total investment in local mine training to more than $900,000 since 2011.

The program is a unique collaboration between UAS and Hecla Greens Creek instructors to prepare students for mining careers by offering introductory high school dual enrollment courses at UAS, short­-term occupational endorsements in Mine Mechanics and the Associate’s degree in Power Technology/Diesel Mechanics. The program also offers job shadowing opportunities with Hecla Greens Creek mentors. The “Pathways to Mining Careers” culminates in an opportunity for a six­ month term of probationary employment with the mine and a chance at full employment.

Read the full article here.

Source: Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company Renews $300,000 Investment in UAS Mine Training | Alaska Native News

Governor Walker Holds Bill Signing and Cabinet Meeting in Bethel

BETHEL — Governor Bill Walker signed legislation to help build a Stronger Alaska, and convened his cabinet in Bethel to discuss rural access and support issues. Governor Walker, Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, and the Cabinet also hosted a community reception for Bethel residents.

“I’m very pleased Lt. Governor Mallott, our commissioners, and I had the chance to engage with students in Bethel today and hear residents’ concerns,” Governor Walker said. “Convening the Cabinet in Bethel has been a goal of mine, and I thank the community for the warm reception. Hearing from Alaskans across the state keeps us all engaged and grounded, and equips us to continue pulling together for our state.”

House Bill 141, sponsored by Representative Zach Fansler (D-Bethel), authorizes the Alaska Workforce Investment Board to continue making allocations to the Alaska Technical and Vocational Education Program (TVEP) through June 30, 2020. In 2016, ten institutions serving over 10,000 Alaskans received TVEP funding. TVEP programs enhance the accessibility and quality of job training available to Alaskans statewide, and align the training with regional workforce demands.

Read the full article here.

Source: Governor Walker Holds Bill Signing and Cabinet Meeting in Bethel – Office of the Governor

Valley Couple Establishes New Mat-Su College Scholarship

Future students of the Matanuska-Susitna College recently became the beneficiaries of a new scholarship established by Valley residents Bob and Charilyn Cardwell, according to campus director Dr. Talis Colberg.

While the Cardwells wanted to keep the exact amount of their donation discreet, Colberg said, “it is substantial enough that it will mean thousands of dollars in annual scholarships to provide financial assistance for tuition and other related expenses to vocational education students at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Matanuska-Susitna College.” He added that in addition, the already large scholarship endowment is likely to grow significantly because it also involves a charitable rollover from the Cardwells IRA and another gift planned in their will.

Bob Cardwell is a retired local school principal, and according to Colberg, the genesis of the scholarship idea came in part from Bob’s experiences as a student.

According to Colberg, Cardwell had been a student at Shoreline Community College in Washington state many decades ago. One day he and five other students were called into the office of the college director, who announced to them that an anonymous donor had asked the director to select six students in order to pay their tuition as an “achievement scholarship” — with no strings attached.   

“Mr. Cardwell never forgot that gesture,” Colberg said. “Both he and his wife have grown to appreciate this college and this community and decided to set up their own ‘achievement scholarship’ to benefit students at Matanuska-Susitna College.”

“This is the seventh major new scholarship established at Matanuska-Susitna College in seven years,” Colberg added. “The new scholarship funds have been endowed by local people for the benefit of local students.  Even as the college has reduced staff in a period of new fiscal realities it is re-assuring and uplifting to see thoughtful individuals, like Mr. and Mrs. Cardwell, step forward and offer their hard earned personal savings to support educational opportunities at the Matanuska-Susitna College. It is exciting news and we are happy to be the beneficiaries of their generosity.”

Source: Valley Couple Establishes New Mat-Su College Scholarship | Valley Life | frontiersman.com

NSF Grant Aims to Support STEM Teacher Preparation in Alaska

A University of Alaska faculty team will develop a new scholarship program to support Alaskans who want to become secondary science, technology, engineering and math teachers.

A $74,000 National Science Foundation grant will allow the team to build the plan for a Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program at the University of Alaska. The program will provide full scholarships to support Alaska STEM majors as they earn their teaching certificates.

“Students tell us over and over again that they need financial support for enrolling in a full-time teacher education program,” said Ute Kaden, one of the project leads and chair of the University of Alaska Fairbanks secondary education program. “Currently there are little to no funds available to support students who want to become teachers in Alaska.”

The state has a large number of small rural schools that grapple with high teacher turnover and an increasing demand for STEM instructors. Rural schools often have only one teacher responsible for teaching all the STEM subjects across multiple grade levels.

“This collaborative approach built on the expertise and resources of all three UA campuses will be sustainable and attractive,” Kaden said. “It has the potential to increase the number of Alaska-educated STEM teachers in a fiscally responsible, non-disruptive way.”

Other project leads include Steffi Ickert-Bond from the University of Alaska Museum of the North and Deborah Lo and Virgil Fredenberg from the University of Alaska Southeast.

The team will study successful programs at other universities, such as the UTeach program at the University of Texas at Austin. The model started in 1997 as a student-focused way to recruit STEM majors and prepare them to become teachers. Now in its 20th year, Ickert-Bond said, UTeach has been implemented at 44 universities in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

Source: NSF grant aims to support STEM teacher preparation in Alaska – Alaska Business Monthly

Coeur Alaska Inc. Donates $40,000 to UAS Scholarship Fund

Coeur Award - Avery Stewart

Juneau, Alaska – Coeur Alaska Inc. has donated $40,000 to the UAS Coeur Alaska-Kensington Gold Mine Environmental Science Award this academic year. This brings a total donation of $126,500 to the University of Alaska Southeast since 2010 with $100,000 going to awards for students studying environmental science.

“Coeur Alaska – Kensington Mine values our partnership with the University of Alaska Southeast and our shared desire to train the next generation of Alaskans in the field of Environmental Science,” says Wayne Zigarlick, VP and General Manager. “We are pleased to make this contribution to the scholarship endowment fund to help students who share our dedication toward preserving and protecting the environment.”

Avery Stewart is just one of these students. A Coeur Alaska – Kensington Gold Mine Environmental Science Award recipient and a senior at UAS, Stewart is set to graduate this May with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. He has made the Dean’s Honor List and enrolled in the UAS honors program and researched hydrology while participating in the UAS International Student Exchange program in Hungary in 2015. He plans to continue his education researching biotechnology and renewable energy and use his skills to help Alaska’s economy.

“Our state has relied heavily on our natural gas reserves, for which profits have dwindled over the last decade, but it has incredible potential for wind and hydro power that has been largely untouched.” Stewart says. “I think in the future we will have no choice but to invest in alternative energy. I’m actually really hopeful for the country and for the state.”

For more information about the University of Alaska Southeast, visit www.uas.alaska.edu or call 907-796-6100.

Source: UAS Press Release – March 21, 2017 (Photo Credit: Seanna O’Sullivan)