Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Hey everyone!

My name is Skye and I’m a student ambassador who is also part of the ROTC program here at the University of Alaska Fairbanks! So this blog is about what the ROTC program is, what we do, and why it’s one of the best pre-professional programs here at the university. I wasn’t paid to write this so everything that you read here is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

To start off, what is ROTC?
Army ROTC, Reserve Officer Training Course, is a leadership program where you will be able to take 20-30 elective credits throughout your college career resulting in your commission as an Army Officer (Second Lieutenant) upon graduation and a Minor in Military Science. 

Before I go into the typical Frequency Asked Questions, let me tell you what I believe to be the Top Six Benefits of ROTC:

1. Develop Leadership Skills
You’ll get to work with your peers leading a team, squad, or even platoon size element. You get to plan and execute missions, develop enhanced communication skills and get to experience life as an Army officer.

2.  ROTC is actually really fun
Between game days, labs, Color Guard events, and Summer Schools (like Airborne, Air Assault, and Dive Schools) there’s always something fun to do if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.

3. Financial Aid – Scholarships
ROTC will pay YOU to go to college. There are many scholarships available for cadets looking to commit to the program and become officers in the United States Army.

4. Structure/Strength
Dreading the freshman 15 or even the sophomore 30? Well not in ROTC! We have a designated time that we all come together and work out at least three times a week. We train our bodies to be the toughest they can be! Push-ups, sit ups, running, pull ups you name it, we’ve done it! It’s a great reason to get out of bed in the morning and swimsuit season is not a bad motivator either.

5. Volunteering with the Cadet Club
The Cadet Club is a student organization that is primary composed of Cadets, but is open to everyone, that participates in many volunteer activities such as can food drives, Toys for Tots, and fundraising for local charities.

6. Commission as a 2LT
Of all the fun things listed above, the main goal of ROTC is to commission as a 2LT. I find it to be a great honor that once I graduate, I will be a proud member of the United States Army.

Frequency Asked Questions
By enrolling in ROTC, are you joining the Army?

No. Students who enroll in ROTC don't join the Army. They take an ROTC class for which they receive college credits. It's considered a college elective. You can however, ‘contract’ with the army. This means that you will commission as an Army Officer after graduation, so it’s kind of like a promise that you will be in the Army one day.

Is ROTC like "boot camp"?

No, ROTC cadets go directly to college where they earn their degree. During the course of your time in ROTC, you will learn the basic solider skills without being treated like dirt.

What can students expect to learn by taking ROTC?

Quite simply, leadership and management skills needed to become a U.S. Army officer and the basic skills of being a solider.

Is there a military obligation during college?

During the first two years, ROTC cadets have no military obligation (or the first year in the case of scholarship winners).

What is the ROTC course comprised of?

The ROTC program is divided into phases: The Basic Course studies Army history, organization and structure. The techniques and principles of leadership and management are stressed throughout. The Advanced Course concentrates on tactical operations and military instruction, as well as advanced techniques of management, leadership, and command.

Does Army ROTC offer scholarships?

Yes. Each year hundreds of students attending colleges nationwide receive ROTC scholarships. ROTC awards them to students studying science, engineering, nursing, business, as well as a variety of other majors.

How much money does ROTC usually award and what does the money go towards?

Scholarships are awarded at different monetary levels. At some schools an ROTC scholarship is worth up to $80,000, which goes towards tuition and educational fees. Also, scholarship winners receive an allowance of up to $1,500 a year.

On what basis are scholarship winners chosen?

ROTC scholarships are not based on financial need. Instead, they're awarded on merit. Merit is exhibited in academic achievement and extracurricular activities, such as sports, student government or part-time work.

Can only scholarship winners enroll in ROTC?

No. Anyone can enroll in ROTC!

What is my Army Service Obligation to pay back any scholarship benefits or for enrollment in the ROTC advanced course?
Scholarship winners must serve for four years after they commission; non-scholarship Cadets who enroll in the ROTC Advanced Course must serve for three years. All who graduate and complete ROTC training are commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

What are Army ROTC Courses like?
Army ROTC classes normally involve one elective class and one lab per semester (about 3 hours of learning a week). Although the classes involve hands-on fieldwork as well as classroom work, they are standard college classes that fit into a normal academic schedule. These courses can help students with personal and academic decision making while giving them the tools to exercise leadership in college life, even before graduating and becoming Officers.

How will being an Army ROTC Cadet affect my daily like? Do cadets experience normal college life and activities?
Army ROTC Cadets have a bit more structured lifestyles and academic schedules as any other college students. We do have a schedule work out time during the day, usually in the morning. We can participate in varsity team and individual sports. We DO take part in community service projects. But there are two intensive Army ROTC courses that take place on Army Posts, Fort Knox, Kentucky, during the summer:
·       Leader's Training Course—This four-week summer course at Fort Knox, Kentucky is ONLY for students who enroll in Army ROTC without having taken the first two years of military science classes.
·       Leader Development and Assessment Course—All Cadets who enter the Advanced Course must attend this five-week summer course between their junior and senior years.

What is the typical career path for an army officer? What career fields are available?
Army ROTC graduates are commissioned as U.S. Army Second Lieutenants. They then receive specialized training in one of 17 different Army branches. During their Army careers, they'll receive regular professional training as they advance through the ranks, and they'll have many opportunities for advanced leadership positions and post-graduate education.

What’s the difference between Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard and can I choose which one I go into after I graduate?
A person who is active duty is in the military full time. They work for the military full time, may live on a military base, and can be deployed at any time. Persons in the Reserve or National Guard are not full-time active duty military personnel, although they can be deployed at any time should the need arise. Reserves works directly for the federal government and can be stationed anywhere while National Guard members contract within a state and usually live in that state.
With ROTC, Cadets compete for active duty slots. These slots are only given to the top 15-20% of cadets in the nation. If a cadet does not get selected for active duty, they have the choice of being Reserve or National Guard.

How can I learn more about the program at UAF?

Come visit us down at the UAF Patty Center Building room 115! There’s usually always a Cadet or Cadre member around that would love to talk to you! We also have a Facebook page you can check out; UAF Army ROTC. You can also call the ROTC Office and schedule a meeting with our recruiter Darrell at (907) 474-6852. 

Hope to see you around!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

KSUA: The People's Radio

So you're cruising around the Fairbanks area and you can't seem to find a radio station that's right for you. All the songs on the pop station you've heard a thousand times, at least; the rock station is full of commercials; and the talk show hosts just don't understand life as a student. You may be thinking it's about time to give up and just put in your favorite mix-tape of the month... But wait! Crank your dial to 91.5 FM instead. There you'll find the widest variety of shows any one radio station can possibly offer. From rock to politics, from car talk to smooth jazz, KSUA has it all; all day long, seven days a week.

As KSUA is known as "The People's Radio," it has been owned and operated by the students of UAF ever since it's humble beginnings in the 70's. On March 5th, 1972, the decades-long journey to the modern-day KSUA began when the progressive rock station KMPS came on air for the first time. This station, however, could only be heard in dorms and other campus buildings, and by the mid 70's, KMPS decided to start the shift to becoming an open-air broadcaster; meaning it would be heard everywhere in Fairbanks, like any other radio station. Finally, the student workers of KMPS made the switch and on September 6th, 1984, KSUA-FM became one of the first commercial college stations in the nation. Not long after coming on air, KSUA became the most popular station in the Fairbanks area. Unfortunately, KSUA ran out of funding and had to shut down in March of 1993. Over the next 9 months, KSUA went under some structural adjustments and even got some new equipment. This time, the students of KSUA refused to let this station fail. On December 2nd, 1993, KSUA came back online. For good this time.

No longer a commercial station, KSUA now relies on student volunteers to make and run their own programs and keep the station going. You could be one of those student volunteers! No experience necessary. One of the main missions of KSUA is to provide broadcasting experience to students interested in the field, regardless of prior education. So, if you've ever been interested in the broadcasting industry, there is no better time than right now right here at UAF to get involved. If you've got a sweet idea for a show, you can apply online for a time slot to DJ at http://www.ksuaradio.com/dj-application/ . Or if you're just interested in the behind-the-scenes work of broadcasting, stop by the office in the top floor of Constitution Hall and see what KSUA has to offer you.

Nanook Traditions: Winter Carnival

      As the amount of daylight steadily increases and we grow near to the much anticipated spring season, there is one event to be celebrated. Winter Carnival is one of three Nanook Traditions that dates back to 1936. This weekend event is hosted by the Student Activities office and The Department of Recreation Adventure and Wellness. It is dedicated to highlighting the best qualities that Alaska has to offer during the winter months! To see this years schedule click on the following link:2015 Winter Carnival Schedule.

      The winter carnival begins on a Thursday with a Student Organization Fair held at the multilevel lounge at the Wood Center. This is a great place for students who are interested in becoming involved in a student organization as UAF has over 130 student organizations!  The LIVE program (Leadership, Involvement, Volunteer and Experience) always designates a specified service project for each Nanook Tradition. This year LIVE participants are crafting knits for those in need at the Wood Center. The night concludes with a poetry slam at a favorite campus hangout, Arctic Java.

      Friday evening the carnival is in full swing at the Student Recreation Center. Many events are in store for the evening amongst good company, ambient music and delectable snacks around campfires. This includes the Ice Climbing Competition on the Outdoor Ice wall and skating under the stars on the outdoor ice rink (all rental gear required for the ice wall/skating is free). Ice dodge ball is a student favorite as several students form teams to compete for an undefeated title at the Patty Ice Rink. After a fun filled evening students can warm up with a movie at the Hess Recreation Center.

      Saturday is packed with several fun winter activities! A free skate ski clinic is hosted by Outdoor Adventures on the UAF Campus Trails. This is followed by a three hour Skiing and Snowboarding competition at the Hulbert Terrain Park. Meanwhile open ice climbing and a sledding competition will take place at the outdoor climbing tower and the SRC sledding hill. Free sled dog rides will also be offered at Beluga Field for any member of the public. Winter Carnival concludes with a small fee to attend a concert at the UAF Pub or a dance at the Hess Recreation Center for those under the age of 21. This weekend celebration is jam packed with several events at virtually no cost to the students. This Nanook Tradition successfully honors the winter recreation activities that aid in helping Alaskans endure the harsh winters.

SUP Yoga at UAF

I am centered. I am grounded. Engage the muscles, stay strong. Breeeeaaaathe. Feel the energy through the heart center. Feel the balance and- *wobblewobblewobble* SPLASH.

Stand-up paddleboard yoga, or SUP yoga for short, is a ridiculously fun way to spend a -35͒ F Sunday afternoon. The air is warm and tropical-humid in the Patty Pool and the water laps at the pool edges in a relaxing rhythm. If you are even somewhat yogatic-ly inclined, you have to try SUP yoga. I’m definitely a beginner yogi, but this workshop was totally do-able for me. Anyone who can embrace a yoga flow will truly appreciate the new dimension brought to yoga once you take solid ground away. Even though it is much more difficult to balance on a paddle board, you’ll feel more connected to your body for that hour and a half than you have all month long. And if you do get adventurous and decide to try a head stand or arm balance, falling into warm water is much more pleasant than falling on hard ground.

Our instructor had us stand up in the middle of the board and then jump into the water first thing, so that got us over any qualms about getting wet. From there, we spent some time getting used to how a few staple moves felt, like forward fold, downward dog, cat, and cow. From there we went into a vinyasa flow, a series of movements connected by the pattern of breathing in and out.


Down dogging.


Pigeon pose, opening those hips.

After warming up, we moved into some more challenging poses and did some backbends in camel and wheel. Then we went into what was by far the most relaxing savansa I have ever felt. Those few minutes of floating mediation felt like they lifted all the worries of the past week away. After we namaste-ed to seal the practice, we had play time! Partner poses proved to be very challenging, balancing two people on one board is the ultimate test of teamwork.

The SRC has sign-ups for more of these workshops throughout the year, so check it out if you’re interested. I’m glad I got a chance to try SUP yoga up here in Fairbanks, maybe next time it will be in some sunny cove in Hawaii!


A very skillful headstand.


Can't you just feel the relaxation?

(Photos courtesy of UAF DRAW)

Monday, February 9, 2015

A little beauty in all the cold

Now this past week the temps have chilly and the weather has been nippy, but that shouldn't discourage you from having some fun and doing a little exploring. After all, the frost on the trees makes for some rather beautiful pictures especially around 2am.

Now one of the other really cool (if you'll forgive the horrible pun) aspects of living in Fairbanks is a fascinating process  that happens when thermometer drops. That little beauty is called the point of homogeneous nucleation and is the product of the air being immensely cooled.

Without getting into too much of the more complex aspects of the process, it basically results in parts of the air going into a crystalline phase. This is what people commonly refer to as an "ice fog" and while this does make for some interesting driving conditions it also leads to some rather whimsical pictures.

Now of course the weather is warming up and we have a whole other realm of exploring to do, but don't discount those cold spots. They have a little beauty all to their own. 

Just remember to take a little time to appreciate the beauty around you,

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Getting Back in Stride: Scheduling

                Most everyone is familiar with that sinking feeling that hits you and worms its way down into the gut at the end of a break or vacation: the realization that classes are starting back up soon and you will have to be attending them. For some this is bittersweet, having to say goodbye to old friends and family while you bid farewell to the carefree niceties of sleeping in and relaxing over the long break. Others look forward to returning, it is a chance to see friends again and make new ones, while you also get to continue your education and mark down another chapter in the college adventure. Either way, something that everyone must adjust to when returning is a new schedule and working with that schedule to make the semester successful for you.

                New semesters come with new classes and new levels of stress: some people have multiple classes with a mandatory lab time, others are taking recreation classes as a breather or a way to maintain sanity, while a few might have switched their schedules to accommodate more afternoon and evening classes as opposed to morning classes, or vice versa. No matter what the case, and they are numerous (unique to each and every individual), you have to find a routine that works for you. This comes down to a personal reflection on what you want to achieve: are you aiming to ace all of your classes and pull off a fantastic GPA? Did you want to spend more time hanging out and enjoying your friends, taking a bit of a reduced load this semester? Are you looking to try something new, like a sport or hobby, in the form of taking a class on the subject or spending your free time pursing it? The goal is yours and yours alone, but how will you go about achieving it? A good step, or at least a useful one, is determining what work you will have to complete each week and appropriating time for it while also balancing free time for yourself, or in other words, a schedule.

                I personally am one of those students that aims to try and ace my classes, doing the best I possibly can to achieve the best possible grade, while my goal is to graduate at the end of my fourth year here at UAF. I am currently in my second semester of my second year, and in order to stay on track I have had to buckle down on classes this semester: four three-hour lab times spread across Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and at least ten hours of class time each week spread across Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Couple that with a job here at the University and I have a bit of hectic week every Monday to Friday. I have not lost hope though, some of the classes will be difficult or a little painful, but I have devised a way to get all of my work done and still utilize my free time the way I want. I spend my Tuesday and Thursday mornings and early afternoons completing the weekly homework assignments I receive from two of my classes, and then I meet with friends on Saturday to knock out the homework and lab reports due in my other classes. This leaves me time each evening to hang out with friends or perform errands like store runs, cooking dinner, watching movies, or reading, while I also get Sunday wholly to myself and completely free of the confines and devices of school work. Is the schedule a bit grueling? Probably, but I have gotten it to work for me by factoring in work time, free time, and a personal agenda.

                Thus, as daunting as classes might be, as painful as tests and labs can become, everything is manageable. It is all about finding a stride and beat that you can step to, one that works uniquely for you and that you enjoy marching along with. If something gets too rough or painful along the way, do not be afraid to switch things up or throw in the towel if you need to. I have done both before and it made my life easier afterwards. College is supposed to be a memorable time of fun and adventure, adversity and change, so finding the schedule that works and is tailored to you is a big part. You will have friends in some classes, and you will make new ones in other classes, while all of them can be resources to help you succeed and achieve what you want to do. Above all though, college is a process: it is not all about the partying and a good time, nor is it completely about trudging through classes with your head down just trying to get everything done. It is a healthy combination of both, with the end goal being a diploma in a field of study that interests you.

               There will be good times and bad, tears and laughter, adventure and heartbreak, but it will all be memorable. A good way to keep it memorable is to find a schedule that works for you, and it will change from time to time (semester to semester, month to month, quite a few possibilities honestly). It will make the years you spend here enjoyable, and hopefully somewhere further down the line you will look at the time you spent obtaining your degree fondly as a mixture of success, adversity, and perseverance, all made possible by tossing together a schedule that worked for you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Novel Perspective

Posted by Nora

So I love reading. I know every academically-inclined person generally does too, but for me, its on the the one thing I would choose to have if stranded on a desert island would be a book level. I can’t live without them! Unfortunately, classes, homework, and work tend to impinge on my personal reading time. With a sad heart, I have to put reading a novel I adore at the bottom of my priority list. Thus, while I am passing my classes and holding down my part-time job, my reading appetite remains unsatiated.

In those precious moments of free time though, I read away! When I can finally get through a book, I then feel lost until I acquire one to read next. When picking out a good read, usually I’d go for something that is as far removed from any semblance of my college student life. Fantasy, romance, mystery, drama- yes, please! But a few weeks ago when I finally got through A Feast for Crows (I <3 you GoT), I decided to pick up a book that had been almost forgotten on my bookshelf, in the somber shadow of my many, bank-account draining textbooks.

The book, titled North Country Challenge, was a Christmas gift from my mom, which I was extremely appreciative of despite my lack of promptness in getting around to read it. Pro-tip- when in doubt, books make great gifts for pretty much any occasion. Or even better- take your gift-receiver out to a cozy, local bookstore, let them make their selection, and buy it for them! Just add coffee/tea and good conversation for an awesome time.

But back to my anecdote, my mom had ever so thoughtfully found this book at a discount book store and gave it to me because it’s author was none other than Ernest Patty. Dr. Patty was a professor of Geology and Mining in UAF’s inaugural year of classes (named the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines back then in 1922), Dean of the College and Head of the School of Mines for ten years, the college’s 3rd president, and namesake of the Patty Center, just to name a few of his notaritities. North Country Challenge is his autobiography, a narrative of his own adventure north to Alaska. Dr. Patty was extremely influential in keeping the college alive during it’s tenuous early years. He ensured that new academic programs were added and enrollment increased, and made countless contributions to the field of mining engineering. Yet, this book was so much more than just his accomplishments.

Through this book, Dr. Patty truly brings the reader back to Alaska as it was in his time- wild, raw, and full of promise. It gave me a deep appreciation for the people who dared to make their homes up here, when it was still such a harsh existence. The first few students of the college are undeniably an inspiration too, they made up a class of 21 and started a legacy of learning and growing in this beautiful place, on the fringe where civilization meets wilderness. I feel that every UAF student should read Dr. Patty’s story or learn about the lives of any of the other amazing individuals who helped found this university.

Here is a picture of my copy of North Country Challenge.


I was blown away when I realized the copy that had found its way to my hands was signed by the author!


Every book that I read leaves a part of itself with me, but this one will definitely have a special place in my book-lover’s heart.