Connecting research to the Fairbanks community at campus event

Three women smiling in a room with Alaska Sea Grant map in background and papers in foreground.
UAF Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor Anupma Prakash (center) visited Alaska Sea Grant-supported graduate student Dana Bloch (left) and Alaska Sea Grant Associate Director Molly Cain (right) at the Arctic Research Open House.
Photo courtesy of Anupma Prakash.

In May, Alaska Sea Grant participated in the annual Arctic Research Open House at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Troth Yeddha’ campus. The public was invited to explore the campus and meet and talk with scientists, including faculty, research staff, and graduate students, and learn about research they are conducting at UAF and around the state. Interactive displays and activities contributed to a fun and educational experience for all ages.

Alaska Sea Grant staff provided more than 500 visitors the opportunity to learn about the program’s coastal and marine research and activities across the state, including work supporting fisheries management, studying marine mammals, addressing coastal hazards, and supporting the shellfish and seaweed farming industry. Associate director for research Molly Cain, publications specialist and bookstore manager Dawn Montano, program administrator Julie Parshall, and technology and communications specialist Dave Partee hosted the Sea Grant station.

people talking at the Alaska Sea Grant booth. Child and woman painting oyster shells in foreground.
Alaska Sea Grant booth at the Arctic Research Open House.
Photo by Dave Partee/Alaska Sea Grant.

One of the most popular activities for kids at the Alaska Sea Grant station included hand-painting oyster shells, which they then got to take home.

“There are tiny creatures in the sea that you can’t see with your eyeballs,” replied 4-year-old Mara Hennon when asked what she thought about oysters, which grow up from microscopic larvae. “And people capture those tiny creatures that live in the sea.”

“I like science art,” shared another youngster, while applying the final brush strokes to an oyster shell.

The station featured the research of Alaska Sea Grant-supported graduate student Dana Bloch, who talked to visitors about her work studying oceanographic conditions in Southeast Alaska and partnership with the Alaska Trollers Association to monitor ocean temperatures and salinity. Visitors were able to get hands-on with a CTD, a device used in the ocean to measure physical properties of seawater, and see its temperature data displayed on a computer. For more information about Alaska Sea Grant research and student fellowships, contact Molly Cain.

hand holding painted oyster shell. Painting shows the shows outline of the state of Alaska with a heart showing the Golden Heart City of Fairbanks.
Painted oyster shell. Photo by Molly Cain/Alaska Sea Grant.