GeoFORCE Alaska 2018 Annual Report

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Annual Report 2018


2018 Annual Report Published October 2018

Table of Contents From the Director


From the Coordinator






Who We Are


How it Works


Academy Trips


Looking Back


Looking Forward


Thank You Hank


Financial Repor t


Thank You Sponsors


Thanks to the GeoFORCE staff for the photos in this report. Cover Photo: The Lava Birds strike a pose at Multnomah Falls. Featuring Eda Ahmaogak and Rachel Solomon from Utqiagvik, Lena Norton from Noatak, Samuel Henry from Point Lay, and Counselor Carl Ravenscroft from Kotzebue.

Letter From The Director Dear Friends, Parents, and Sponsors, The four-year structure of GeoFORCE Alaska is unique among summer science programs for Alaskan high schools students. Members of the current cohort entered the program in summer 2016, after completing 8th or 9th grade. This past summer, they participated in the Third-Year Academy after finishing their sophomore or junior year in high school. It is always remarkable to witness students’ academic and personal growth over the course of the program, but this year a couple of events conspired to highlight participants’ progress as they explored Oregon’s volcanic landscapes. Review sessions led by a high school teacher, or Educational Coach, help students prepare for the daily quiz. This year, scores on the first two quizzes were lower than usual, raising concerns about morale, but the students surprised us. With guidance and encouragement from the GeoFORCE staff, they worked through their frustration, striving to understand what they got wrong and why. The result was the highest average final exam score to date for this cohort. It isn’t easy to transform a disappointing performance on a low-stakes quiz into success on a high-stakes exam, but it is crucial to college success. It takes grit, and the GeoFORCE students have it! Upon their acceptance into the GeoFORCE Program, students are guaranteed a spot for the next four years. However, they still submit high school transcripts and an essay prior to each summer Academy. Last spring, participants were asked to set goals for themselves as part of that essay. Predictably, some focused on improving their study skills and grades, but others wanted to be more outgoing, make new friends, improve their hiking abilities, or practice public speaking. In response to some of these goals, the Educational Coach assigned each counselor group to write a song about a volcanic rock and perform it during the review session. The resulting songs were scientifically accurate and entertaining. I was inspired by the students’ investment in a group project and determination to improve their presentation skills. In 2019, the current cohort will complete the Rocky Mountain Academy and graduate from the program. Thanks to your sponsorship, they will do so with teamwork, public speaking and study skills acquired, enhanced, and reinforced during four GeoFORCE Academies. Recruitment of a new cohort to enter the program in 2020 will expand the region served by offering the GeoFORCE experience to rural students throughout northern and interior Alaska. Thank you for your continued support!

Sarah Fowell Dr. Sarah Fowell Director, GeoFORCE Alaska


From The Coordinator Dear New Friends, This summer has been a blast. We all had a wonderful time on our Third-Year Academy in the Pacific Northwest. The students continued to excel beyond our expectations. This Academy was my second summer in the field with GeoFORCE Alaska and it was amazing to see how our students progressed from the previous year. This year has been a year of change. In addition hiring a new Program Coordinator, we also brought on a new Education Coach, a highschool English teacher from Haines named Alex. Change at this scale can be challenging for a small program like ours, but it has not slowed our momentum. Our new team is now stronger than ever. Alex brought a fresh perspective to the program that was key to the success of this year’s Academy. We rolled out a new initiative that focused on reflection and goal setting among our students. Here is a reflective quote from one of our students that stood out to me: “We are all bonding again and having a good time including the laughs and just the talks we have. Looks like everyone is just one big family and getting more close to each other.” – Deborah, Kotzebue I am proud of what our students have achieved since they joined us in 2016. It is clear that we are having an impact on the student’s career choices. Five of the students will be graduating from high school in May 2019. Four of these students plan to attend UAF next fall and three plan on majoring in geology. This is just one of our measures of success and it clearly demonstrates that GeoFORCE is working. We have an incredible Academy planned for next year in the Rocky Mountains. There our students will learn about ancient life, structural geology, and make their own geologic map. They will also revisit volcanism at Yellowstone National Park. As our second cohort nears graduation we are already thinking ahead to the next group of students we will have the privilege of serving. We are excited to announce that we will be expanding our recruiting area to include the Interior region of Alaska. We need your continued support to ensure the success of the next cohort. We appreciate you and your commitment to our students,

Brian Reggiani Brian Reggiani Program Coordinator, GeoFORCE Alaska


Mission 1. Raise high school graduation rates in rural Alaska

2. Encourage students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors in college

3. Enhance the number, and diversity, of Alaska residents entering Alaska’s technical workforce


WHYGeoFORCE? Our 4 year program is unique. We build a strong community of like-minded students and mentors. This social network supports students in pursuit of their educational goals.

GeoFORCE emphasizes hands-on field projects and experiential learning, which allows students to practice the scientific method while visiting spectacular geologic sites around the country.

North Slope and Northwest Arctic residents with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math bring a valuable perspective to managment of Alaska’s natural resouces.

GeoFORCE helps students graduate high school. During the 2014-2015 school year, 37.6% of Alaska Native/American Indian students in grades 7-12 dropped out of Alaskan public schools. In comparision, the first cohort of GeoFORCE students graduated at a rate of 94%.


WHO we are 41% Northwest Arctic

20% Male 59% North Slope

80% Female

Borough Ethnicity/Race

Sex 3%

Asian 3%

Asian & White Caucasian/White

6% 3%



African American/Black


Pacific Islander/Hawaiian


Alaska Native, Hispanic & White Alaska Native & White Alaska Native



Point Lay




Kivalina Point Lay Anaktuvuk Pass Point Hope Kobuk Kotzebue Noatak


HOWdoes GeoFORCE Alaska work? GeoFORCE recruits students from Alaska’s Northwest Arctic and North Slope Boroughs. Student Engagement

Students apply to the program in eighth or ninth grade and stay with the program for four years. Each summer the same students attend a week-long Academy in a different part of the U.S.

Students are selected on the basis of grades, an essay, and a teacher recommendation.


Students are exposed to a wide variety of geological concepts and skills.

Active Learning + Field Work Mentors and industry sponsors teach the students REAL LIFE APPLICATION

of geological concepts.

Academics Each day, field exercises are followed by interactive evening classes, a review session, and a quiz. Students are required to score at least 80% on the final exam.


Academy Field Trips Over the course of their high school career, students participate in four week-long excursions to spectacular geologic sites around the country. A GeoFORCE Academy is not a subtle event. Each trip fills a tour bus with students and professional support staff. Our professional staff includes an instructor from the UAF Department of Geosciences, a high school teacher from a rural community who serves as an education coach, two industry mentors from our dedicated coprorate sponsors, a coordinator, a trail driver, and eight graduate or undergraduate student counselors. We maximize our time on the road. Days start early and end late, which comes as a bit of a shock to some of our students. There might be a short introductory lecture about what the group will see that day, but most of the teaching takes place in the


A comprehensive field guide, developed and written by GeoFORCE staff, provides the background for the daily exercises; students are introduced to new topics before seeing them in the field. Material covered in the field guide is on par with introductory college courses in geology. Every evening there is a review and a quiz about the day’s concepts, followed by classroom activities designed to prepare students for what they will do the next day. During each Academy, mentors and other professional geologists are given the opportunity to share information about their career paths and work experiences. The Academy concludes with a final exam that revisits key concepts


and skills learned throughout the week. A passing grade of 80% is required to remain in good standing.

The Heart of GeoFORCE Alaska is the summer Academy field trip

Instructor Jim Beget (UAF) discribes the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens to GeoFORCE students at the Johnston Ridge Observatory.


LOOKING BACK on 2018’s Third-YearAcademy in the Pacific Northwest OBJECTIVES

• Identify common volcanic rocks • Define viscosity and relate it to eruptive style • Understand why volcanoes occur above subduction zones • Witness volcanic landforms and hazards • Compare Alaska’s coastline with Oregon’s coastline • Build new relationships • Work as part of a team • Set goals and work towards them • Experience life on a major university campus




Director Dr. Sarah Fowell Program Coordinator Brian Reggiani Instructor Dr. Jim Beget (UAF) Educational Coach Alex Van Whye (HBSD) Mentor Hank Jamieson, ExxonMobil Trail Driver Patrick Graham (UAF) Counselors, UAF Geoscience Students Carl Ravenscroft, Monika Valdez, Veselina Yakimova, Kailyn Davis, Philip Trela, Eric Orphys, and Jackie Mendenhall

Mt. St. Helens, Crater Late National Park, Mt. Hood, Tokatee Falls, Newberry Caldera, Lava River Cave, Multnomah Falls, Cape Perpetua, Seal Rock Beach, Smith Rock State Park


Students Joanne and Jennifer from Utqiagvik with counselor Jackie enjoy a ride on the ski lift on Mt. Hood

Students playing hard to celebrate another sucsessful year at GeoFORCE


Lena and Savannah from Noatak tidepooling at Cape Pertpetua

Sam from Point Lay poses for a photo on a wave cut platform on the Oregon Coast

GeoFORCE Alumna Monika from Utqiagvik poses for her first protrait as a GeoFORCE Counselor

David and Ester from Noatak, Caitlynn from Nuiqsut and Angel from Utqiagvik pose with their counsoler Philip at Tokatee Falls

Students emerge from the Lava River Cave outside of Bend, Oregon

Esther from Noatak studying en route to Mt. St. Helens

Students getting their hands on a pyroclastic flow at Smith Rock State Park


Looking Forward to the

Fourth-Year Academy in the

Rocky Mountains

OBJECTIVES • • • • • • • • •

Explore industry careers in Alaska Apply to college at UAF Use a GPS and compass to create a geologic map Describe the effects of climate change Distinguish thrust faults and normal faults and the forces that create them Use strike and dip to describe the orientation of folded and tilted rocks Identify geologic contacts Identify styles of fossil preservation Set goals for the future and develop an action plan



Mining in Alaska, The Great Salt Lake, Dinosaur National Monument, Fossil hunting in the Green River Formation, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Rafting through the Split Mt. Anticline

Thank You Hank

Hank Jamieson, Senior Geoscience Advisor, ExxonMobil

Congratulations to Hank Jamieson on his retirement from ExxonMobil! Hank has been our beloved industry mentor for the past 3 years, which means he has been with the current cohort since the beginning. He has helped to cultivate student’s interests in the geosciences. He played an important role on our Academies by explaining how some of the interesting features we saw were relevant to the energy industry. Hank would also be the first to volunteer when students needed a fresh prospective to help them learn a new concept. Thank you so much for your commitment to the GeoFORCE program. Dedicated mentors like you make the program a sucsess. We will miss you on our 2019 Academy! See you at graduation!


Financial report

2018* Defined as 9/1/2017-12/31/18


Outreach*, Office* and Development* figures serve as estimate expenditures for this time period

GeoFORCE is currently transitioning to a calendar-based fiscal year. FY 19 will begin 1/1/2019 and end 12/31/2019. This change will standardize our financial reporting, making it more transparent. As a result of this change, FY 18 will be defined as 9/1/17 to 12/31/18.


Thank you

Corporate Sponsors Our corporate sponsors do all the heavy lifting at GeoFORCE. Their generous donations make the GeoFORCE experience possible at no cost to our students. Thank you for investing in the next generation of Alaskans. To learn more about corporate giving, or how your company can get involved, visit our website at


P l at i n u m L e v e l 2 5 , 0 0 0 +

Gold Level 10,000-24,999

S i lv e r L e v e l 5 , 0 0 0 - 9 , 9 9 9

Copper Level 1,000-4,999


GeoFORCE Alaska

College of Natural Science and Mathematics University of Alaska Fairbanks PO Box 755940, Fairbanks, AK 99775 UA is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: