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University of Alaska Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Arctic and Northern Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program for the study of problems and policy issues specific to the North.

Topics covered by Arctic and Northern Studies include (but certainly aren't limited to!)...

  • northern history
  • environmental politics and policy
  • arctic policy
  • individualized topics
    • climate change
    • well-being
    • psychology
    • fetal alcohol syndrome
    • northern arts and culture
    • tourist industry

At the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), Arctic and Northern Studies students benefit from the extensive northern expertise and research activities of UAF faculty. Arctic and Northern Studies faculty have won major awards for excellence in teaching, research, and public service. Arctic and Northern Studies include faculty from: Political Science, History, Art, English, Alaska Native Studies, Geography, Music, and Anthropology.

The following University of Alaska Fairbanks faculty are accepting applications from undergraduate University of Michigan students for 6-8 week virtual research internships for summer 2021:

Dr. Amy Lovecraft, Professor of Political Science

Two options for the University of Michigan students to consider:

(1) Related to Economics: I'd like an intern to work with me to collect and organize current literature and thinking on the Arctic economy as a whole and in relation to Alaska specifically. The goal is to consider multiple possible future pathways of economic development from the mundane (business as usual) to the radical (permitting Indigenous sovereignty over a wider array of policies in their homelands such as marine mammal harvests, sales of currently restricted products) and what's in between. I would need a student who had at least a basic understanding of micro and macro economics. 

(2) Related to politics and policy and law: I'd like an intern to work with me to collect and organize literature and thinking tied to Alaska Native and Canadian Indigenous participation in elections as well as to survey and understand the number and roles of Arctic Indigenous peoples from the two countries. This is connected to concepts of sovereignty and Indigenous-led decision-making. One goal would be to determine the extent to which there is participation in electoral processes compared to governance processes. This is a more focused project and probably needs a student who is a political science major or simply a numbers and elections focused person. 

In both cases, the outputs can be high quality videos as well as written output. If students are interested in the former that's great but they will have to bring their own video/media skills. 

Dr. Phil Wight, Term Assistant Professor of History

“History of U.S. Arctic Policy, 1867-1984”

This project investigates the long history of federal policies in and towards the Arctic, with a special focus on Alaskan energy and environmental issues. Intern will assist with Alaska-based archival research, primary source analysis, and literature reviews. Ability to work independently is a must, as are excellent writing skills and ability to synthesize/ summarize historical documents.

Dr. Tyler Kirk, Assistant Professor of History and Assistant Director of Arctic & Northern Studies

“Memory and Landscape: Remembering Stalinist Repression in the Far North, 1987-2020”

As those who bore the brunt of Stalinist violence and survived, Gulag returnees’ life stories served as the basis of a powerful, alternate version of Soviet history. What made this alternate history so powerful was that it was based on the details of the individual lives of thousands of ordinary Soviet citizens. Drawing from the expansive coverage of political repression in newspapers published in Russia’s Komi Republic from the 1980s to 2000s, letters, artworks, and memoirs, this history examines the ways in which Gulag returnees and those who had not been repressed came to terms with the past. Ultimately, this book argues that what transpired in the Russian Far North is emblematic of processes that unfolded throughout the former Soviet space as the system collapsed.

Research assistants will need reading knowledge of Russian and the ability to compile and summarize collections of primary sources including letters, memoirs, and newspaper articles. 

Dr. Brandon Boylan, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Arctic & Northern Studies

“Reconceptualizing Security in Alaska’s Arctic and Understanding Opportunities and Challenges for Nome’s Expanded Port Project”

Dr. Jeremy Speight and I are working on a co-authored project together in which we reconceptualizing security in Alaska’s Arctic to include national, military, homeland, human, food, climate, and other forms of security. We then apply this conceptualization to the case of the expanded port project in Nome, Alaska to consider the ways in which the project contributes to as well as jeopardizes security in the region. An intern on this project should have strong research and writing skills.

Applicants should clearly indicate on the MCompass application which virtual research internship position at the University of Alaska Fairbanks they intend to pursue and their statement of purpose should align with the potential research internship projects listed. Students selected for these virtual research internship positions will receive up to $2,000 in Arctic Internship Fellowship funding.