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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.

If you are interested in a research internship through the University of Alaska Fairbanks, we have identified the following projects for which different professors there are looking for assistance:

Students interested in research projects with Dr. Amy Lauren Lovecraft, Professor, Department of Political Science and Director, Center for Arctic Policy Studies, University of Alaska Fairbanks, are welcome to look at the Center for Arctic Policy Studies website, and choose any of the themes there that may be of interest. Specific example research topics for Summer 2023 include (but are not limited to):

  1. Questions of justice and equity across different groups in the Arctic. For example: questions about Indigenous participation in governance from local to Arctic Council scales; or they could address the nature of Alaska as an Oil State. Or they could think through how climate change affects different groups differently and often unfairly. 
  2. Political economy - how does the State of Alaska operate in different ways from other states? This could be a federalism question but focused on our economy which is boom-bust with annual seasonal changes. Fish, oil, tourism, if any aspects of this interest the student we can use Alaska as an example of how we might (or might not) be able to create stable/sustainable economies in Alaska and the Arctic. 
  3. Federalism but from a government perspective - how is Alaska governed as a periphery from its Southern Core (both U.S. and AK)? This could compare Alaska at a state to state/national level. But, we can also compare Alaska from an Arctic perspective...
  4. U.S. Arctic policy - any subject related to how AK makes the U.S. an "Arctic nation" and what the interests of the U.S. are. 
  5. Strategic foresight - any business majors or others interested in the future of Alaska and the Arctic across any policy domains. 

Dr. Brandon Boylan and Dr. Jeremy Speight – "[An intern will] help us move a white paper we have on the relationship between the expanded Nome port project and security to a publication."

Dr. Leslie McCartney – “This work can be done remotely. I am working with several collaborators on a project called 'Arctic Passion.' The project as a whole is a very large circumpolar project but the small part that I am involved with is with (Tero Mustonen) in Finland and with the Gwich'in Tribal Council in the Northwest Territories in Canada. Here's a short article that was published about the overall project as it has more details. The part I am working on is going through transcripts of Gwich'in Elders oral history interviews that were conducted several years ago and picking out sections where they talk about changes in the climate and environment and placing the quotes into a timeline I have created in a spreadsheet. There are probably hundreds of transcripts to read through. When I saw this call I wondered if a student would be interested in reading through the materials and pulling out the sections that relate to climate and environmental changes. Tero has also indicated he is interested in other types of information which I could relate to the student, such as mentions of spiritual components with the land, stories of when animals and humans could change form and beliefs in hunting on the land for example. This type of work is time consuming and at times tedious but very important so attention to detail is very important.”

Dr. Chanda Meek – “I'd like help with a project relating to Alaska's 2022 Congressional election advertisements. The student would contact campaign managers and radio stations to find radio advertisements and compile them into a dataset. The fellow would assist with other research tasks as well, including a sampling of newspaper advertisements.”

Dr. Robin Shoaps - “’Precarity as a Mode of Communication’ Stance-taking and resource advocacy in public deliberation." Life in Alaska in the coming decades will be shaped by volatility in oil prices, political battles over pfd distribution, demographic shifts as well as climate change and its compounding effects on ongoing food security pressures and on tourism and leisure activities. These specific conditions combine to increase the sense of precarity experienced by communities throughout the state. This project examines how precarity is evident in public, civic deliberation on issues where access to and possible or perceived loss of resources are at stake in some of the following contexts: testimony and public comments on land use and public works projects, state agency's policy-making regarding limits to hunting and fishing and decisions whether or not to cancel or reroute iconic winter tourist attractions and sporting events (dog mushing races). The project is in its initial phases and depending on interests and qualifications, the intern would track down archival sources, collect publicly available recordings of meetings, conduct interviews or engage in discourse analysis. The research would take place primarily in Fairbanks, but depending on interest, there could be an opportunity to travel to Anchorage.”

Dr. Philip Wight – “I'll be working on a chapter on the ‘Electrification of Alaska’ for a forthcoming ACEP book with UA Press. I'll need the intern's help finding relevant archival and historical material.”

Applicants should clearly indicate on the M-Compass application which 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 research internship positions will receive up to $2,000 in Arctic Internship Fellowship funding.