KU News Release


March 30, 2011
Contact: Joane Nagel, C-CHANGE, 785-864-9105

Students, faculty attend workshop on environmental, social change in the Arctic

More Information

LAWRENCE — Eighteen students and faculty from four National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship programs recently met in Juneau, Alaska, for a workshop titled “Understanding Rapid Environmental and Social Change in the Arctic: Bridging Traditional Knowledge and Interdisciplinary Science Across IGERTs.”

The four IGERT programs were Climate Change, Humans and Nature in the Global Environment, University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University; Resilience and Adaptation Program, University of Alaska-Fairbanks; Marine Ecosystem Sustainability in the Arctic and Subarctic, University of Alaska-Fairbanks; and Polar Environmental Change, Dartmouth College.


Back row left to right: Dan Wildcat, Jay Johnson, Natalie Parker, Lindsey Witthaus, Laci Gerhart, Michael Dunaway, Adam Sundberg, Hannah Owens, Brian Rumsey and Brandon Bandy. Front row left to right: Anna Kern, Alexis Reed, Jodi Gentry, Joane Nagel, Linda Williams, Victoria Walsey and Ma'ko'quah Abigail Jones.

The workshop, held March 22-24, focused on creating a dialogue across disciplines and cultures and bridged information gained from scientific research and local traditions to address these questions: What are the critical dimensions of ecosystem and social system change in the Arctic? How are Arctic natural and human worlds connected? How do we identify and implement adaptive and sustainable responses to rapid change? How do we design inclusive, socially responsible interdisciplinary research to address rapid change problems? What are the ethical responsibilities associated with partnering and engaging with local communities when conducting research in the North?

Because the Arctic is home to many indigenous communities, the workshop examined comparative knowledge systems, collaborative research designs and resilient adaptation strategies for native homelands and people. The partnership between KU and Haskell Indian Nations University was the basis for several workshop sessions to which attendees from all participating institutions were invited. Dartmouth and KU’s IGERTs share an interest in environmental and social change in Greenland; the two Alaska IGERTs examined terrestrial and marine systems of Alaska.

Undergraduates from the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Institute who attended were Brandon Bandy, Ma’Ko’Quah Abigail Jones and William Spoonhunter, all from Haskell; Tina Benally, San Juan College, Farmington, N.M.; and Delphine John, Diné College, the higher education institution of the Navajo. KU faculty and staff who attended were Jay Johnson, assistant professor of geography; Joane Nagel, University Distinguished Professor of Sociology; and Natalie Parker, C-CHANGE. Haskell faculty and staff who attended were Daniel Wildcat and Rhonda Lavaldo.

The workshop was funded by the National Science Foundation with additional support from the Kansas NSF EPSCoR program.

The KU graduate students who attended the workshop are listed below by hometown, degree program, parents’ names and previous schools attended/degrees earned.

BARTON COUNTY
From Great Bend 67530
Alexis Suzzanne Reed, doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology; Max and Judy Reed; bachelor’s degree from KU; Great Bend High School.

DOUGLAS COUNTY
From Lawrence 66044
Jodi Lorraine Gentry, doctoral student in environmental engineering; master’s degree from KU; bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University.

Brian Edward Rumsey, doctoral student in history; master’s degree from Mississippi State University; bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University.

From Lawrence 66046
Michael John Dunaway, master’s student in geography; bachelor’s degree from Haskell Indian Nations University.

Ann Jeannette Kern, doctoral student in sociology; master’s degree from KU; bachelor’s degree from Boston College.

From Lawrence 66047
Linda Marie Williams, doctoral student in public administration; master’s of public administration degree from KU.

From Lawrence 66049
Lindsey Marie Witthaus, doctoral student in environmental science; James and Marlene Witthaus; bachelor’s degree from University of Pittsburgh; Lawrence Free State High School.

LYON COUNTY
From Emporia 66801
Adam David Sundberg, master’s student in history; bachelor’s degree from Truman State University.

RENO COUNTY
From Hutchinson 67502
Laci Manette Gerhart, doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology; Bruce and Denise Gerhart; bachelor’s degree from KU; Hutchinson Senior High School.

ALASKA
From Russian Mission 99657
Brian P. Stephanoff, master’s student in global indigenous nations studies; bachelor’s degree from Haskell Indian Nations University.

ILLINOIS
From Downer’s Grove 65015
Hannah L. Owens, doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology; Ken and Emily Owens; master’s and bachelor’s degrees from KU; Community High School District 99 North High School.

WASHINGTON
From Toppenish 98948
Victoria A. Walsey, master’s student in global indigenous nations studies and doctoral student in geography; master’s and bachelor’s degrees from KU; Toppenish High School.


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