Alaska Teachers Strengthen Science Education with Help from Alaska Sea Grant


Alaska Sea Grant helped sponsor a workshop for teachers in the Alaska capital in June as part of its mission to promote marine literacy.

Ten teachers from Juneau and Cordova gathered at Lena Point where the University of Alaska Fairbanks fisheries facility is located. They were there for a curriculum-writing workshop led by Marilyn Sigman and Peggy Cowan. An associate professor at UAF’s College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, Sigman also serves as Alaska Sea Grant’s marine education specialist. Cowan is a former director of Alaska Sea Grant’s “Sea Week” program and former superintendent of the Juneau School District.

The workshop goal was to write lesson plans for Alaska Sea Grant’s Alaska Seas and Watersheds curriculum. The K–8 curriculum was developed by Alaska teachers to provide teaching resources with high-quality content focused on marine science topics.

“This curriculum was last revised by teachers in 2009 to be aligned with Alaska’s state science standards and to be available online. The task this time was to align with new national standards for science that include technology and engineering, and new state standards for math, English and language arts. In addition, we asked teachers to emphasize place-based content, including connections to local Alaska Native cultures,” Sigman said.

The lesson plans developed at the workshop are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, a national effort to improve content and the way science is taught in K–12 classrooms. In addition to learning about current marine research and writing lesson plans, the teachers piloted field-trip teaching activities at low tide on a Juneau beach on the last day of the workshop.

The field trip lessons will be used in Juneau and Cordova during Sea Week, the popular marine literacy program for K-8 students that originated in Juneau more than 40 years ago and evolved into the statewide Alaska Seas and Watersheds program. Beginning in the 1980s, Alaska Sea Grant expanded Juneau’s tradition statewide, continuing to emphasize field trips along with the use and celebration of the local environment and community partnerships to teach science and other subjects.

Four of seven Juneau School District teachers who participated in the June workshop were “second-generation” Sea Week-ers, having grown up doing Sea Week field trips every year during elementary school in Juneau, Hoonah, or Angoon. Three of the four teachers were Alaska Natives, members of the Tlingit tribe.

Hans Chester, who works as an Indian studies specialist, was among them. Chester emphasized the importance of integrating culture into education.

“Designing lesson plans that incorporate the cultural backgrounds of Alaska students is a powerful way to engage and teach them. Culture is everything we have, think and do as members of a society,” Chester said.

Other workshop participants included educators from community partners—a Douglas Island Pink and Chum hatchery in Juneau and the Prince William Sound Science Center in Cordova—who sponsor and provide Sea Week field trips.

The final lesson plans will be integrated into curricula in Juneau and Cordova school districts. The lessons will also be made available to teachers statewide through the Alaska Seas and Watersheds website and through professional development workshops that Alaska Sea Grant holds throughout the state.

Source: Alaska Sea Grant July Fishlines Newsletter

UA Board of Regents Approves Joint UAS-UAF Fisheries Degree

Students at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) in Juneau will now be able to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Fisheries and Ocean Sciences in light of action by the UA Board of Regents in June 2017.

The new degree is expected to increase the number of Southeast Alaska students who earn an undergraduate fisheries degree and are prepared to work in fisheries development, management, and research.

The new degree is a joint offering of UAS and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). It is a direct outcome of the university’s Strategic Pathways process–expanding opportunities for students through collaboration between UAS and UAF faculty.  Fisheries graduates frequently go to work with state and federal fisheries agencies like ADF&G and NOAA, and in private sector industry jobs. Others enroll in graduate programs in fisheries and ocean sciences.

UAS expects to see a steadily increasing number of fisheries students on its Auke Lake Campus as the program gets underway. The hope is that many of those will go on into UAF graduate programs.

The new degree will emphasize marine fisheries biology, assessment and management of fish and invertebrate populations, and physical, chemical, geological, and biological dynamics of marine and freshwater environments. UAS recently hired a new fisheries faculty member, Dr. Michael Navarro, who will help coordinate the program.

Following the Board of Regents action, UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield observed that “Southeast Alaska is highly dependent on the fisheries industry and this program will produce local graduates who know our fisheries and our communities. I’m grateful to Southeast fishing industry representatives and fisheries managers who expressed support for this. I’m also grateful to our faculty, to UA President Jim Johnsen, and to UAF colleagues for recognizing the importance of growing our own local fisheries graduates.”

Admission of new students into the program will begin following a review of the degree by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). That review is expected to be completed by late summer 2017.

Source: SitNews: UA Board of Regents approves joint UAS-UAF Fisheries degree

Workforce Wednesday: Heavy Diesel Technology

Heavy diesel technology is a profession that keeps boats, bulldozers, semi trucks and cranes running year-round.

Diesel mechanics begin earning $18 to $30 an hour to well over $100,000 a year, depending on experience.

Mechanics should have clean driving records, be able to pass a drug test and be willing to learn as technology continues to grow.

The University of Alaska Anchorage has a diesel power technology program that offers a one-year undergraduate certificate and a two-year associate degree. Jeff Libby, the director of the division, says it’s a field with a lot of potential for growth.

“We have jobs in the maritime industry, with the seafood processing industry, and construction, mining, trucking industry is pretty supportive of us,” he said. “And our program is NATEF accredited, the National Automotive Technology Education Foundation, the only one in Alaska that has the accreditation. It’s a big deal.”

Libby says they’ve seen a 20 percent increase in enrollment in the past two years, due to the job demand and pay.

To find out who’s hiring, watch the video above or contact the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium on its website.

Source: Workforce Wednesday: Heavy Diesel Technology » KTVA 11

Bristol Bay Students Explore Marine Biology Careers at ANSEP Camp

At the end of June, Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program hosted a camp in Anchorage for students from around the state to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Tyson Olsen from Koliganek is one of three students from Bristol Bay who was selected to participate in ANSEP’s marine biology career exploration camp. He and 51 middle school students from around the state stayed five days at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus learning first-hand about marine biology research. For Olsen, the highlight was a field trip to Jakolof Bay in Homer.

“The tide was low so we saw all the stuff that was living in between the low and high tide. There were fish that were able to stay out of water for a while. Also at that bay there were people digging for clams,” says Olsen.

Another activity that Olsen enjoyed was performing a necropsy on an otter.

“The people there with the otters studied how they died,” says Olsen. “They did that with us, so they studied the outside. Then we dissected them. The liver was a little blackish inside.”

ANSEP exists to provide education opportunities and financial support for Alaska Native students in science and engineering. The aim of this camp was to give their youngest set of students a vision for careers in marine biology.

“The whole idea behind it was to just expose them to the different things that someone could do in marine biology,” says Yosty Storms, a regional director for ANSEP. “We want to serve those that have been historically underserved or underrepresented and get them involved.”

Olsen is not sure he’ll set his sights on a marine biology career just yet, but he does have an interest in STEM.

“I just try to make this as good as possible so when I choose what I want to do I’ll have a high chance of getting it. It will probably be something in science, technology, math or engineering. It’s just my best subjects,” says Olsen.

Two other students from the Bristol Bay area also attended ANSEP’s career exploration camp. Newhalen’s Aileen Lester and Gabriel Olympic from Iliamna also participated.

Source: Bristol Bay Students Explore Marine Biology Careers at ANSEP Camp – The Bristol Bay Times

Workforce Wednesday: Marine Coating

Marine coating is a profession that protects Alaska’s ships from corrosion, marine growth and more.

Mike Ritz, a co-owner of Alaska Marine Coatings, says there is a lot of surface preparation which means it’s a very physical occupation. He added that includes sandblasting, spraying, brushing, painting numbers and other job duties.

Because of Alaska’s vast amounts of coastline, Ritz said job seekers can find a lot of opportunities in marine coating within the state. He says jobs can found from the North Slope to the Kenai Peninsula.

People can expect to make anywhere from $25 to $35 an hour, depending on experience. The other co-owner of Alaska Marine Coatings, Tiffany Ritz, added there is a lot of opportunity for growth, depending on the certifications people acquire.

To find out how to get started, or just more information, visit the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium website. For more on Alaska Marine Coatings, head to their Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

To watch the full Workforce Wednesday segment, click here.

Source: Workforce Wednesday: Marine Coating » KTVA 11