Two UAF BLaST Alumni Selected as Outstanding Students by College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

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By Amy Topkok

In April 2021, the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (UAF CNSM) recognized their Outstanding Students in their Celebrating Excellence Awards for the academic year 2020-21. Two of the Biomedical Learning and Student Training (BLaST) Program students were selected as Outstanding Students in their departments. Read more about them here. This article was originally published in the UAF Cornerstone, a university newsletter.

Sage Robine: Outstanding Student in Biological Sciences

B.S. Biological Sciences, Cell and Molecular Biology (2021), BLaST URE 2020-2021

Sage Robine
Sage Robine 

“This year, I am graduating with a B.S. in biological sciences with a concentration in cell and molecular biology. For my four years at UAF, I was also a member of the women’s ski team, and we trained 15 hours per week and traveled across the western United States for ski races. I have also done research with Dr. Kristin O’Brien, working on characterizing metabolic changes in threespine stickleback fish in response to temperature. I have also worked with Dr. Jason Burkhead at UAA over the summer of 2019 and I plan to return to his lab for more lab work this summer. I am excited to continue to pursue a career in research while also enjoying the outdoors through skiing, running, biking and rock climbing. A big thank you to my mentor, Kristin O’Brien, and all the people involved in UAF skiing which brought me to Alaska. Go Nooks!”






David Allen Harvey: Outstanding Student in Geosciences

B.S. Geoscience (2021), BLaST Scholar 2019-20 and 2020-21

Recipient of the Brina Kessel Medal for Excellence in Science, a yearly award to a student in the STEM fields

David Allen Harvey
David Allen Harvey

“David is a proud gay, first-generation, and non-traditional geophysics student in the UAF Department of Geosciences. Since his childhood, when he would spend hours watching videos and reading books about volcanoes, David knew he wanted to become a volcanologist. He grew up in Oregon and spent his summers camping and hiking around the Cascades, developing a strong sense of curiosity for the natural world. David transferred to UAF from Peninsula College in Washington in 2019 after being awarded a generous scholarship from the Biomedical Learning and Student Training (BLaST) program. Support from the BLaST program allowed him to begin researching volcanoes as an undergraduate with UAF Professor and Alaska Volcano Observatory scientist Dr. Jessica Larsen. He continued studying Alaskan volcanoes with Dr. Larsen at UAF in fall 2021 while working toward a master of science degree. Beyond research and academics, David enjoys exploring the outdoors in Alaska, perfecting his fried chicken recipe, and binge-watching old seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race. He would like to thank his friends, chosen family, partner, professors, and mentors for all their invaluable support during the past four years.”



Other Outstanding Recognition for other BLaST Awardees for 2020-2021

Current BLaST Faculty Pilot Project awardee (2020-2022) Devin Drown was promoted to Associate Professor of Biology and Wildlife. He was recognized as BLaST Scientist of the Month in July 2018.

Former BLaST Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) awardee (Spring 2015-Summer 2015) Robert Williams is now a UAF M.S. student and was recognized as one of the two Biology & Wildlife Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Assistants. 

Former BLaST Equipment awardee (2015-2016 and 2018-2019) and Professor of Biochemistry & Neuroscience Thomas B. Kuhn was awarded Emeritus. He mentored at least eight BLaST Scholars, one BLaST URE, and three BLaST Graduate Mentoring and Research Assistants (in Phase I), in addition to many undergraduates at UAF over the course of his long career in biochemistry and neuroscience. He was recognized as BLaST Scientist of the Month in July 2017.

For full details on the CNSM article, go to CNSM Celebrating Excellence Awards 2020-2021 | College of Natural Science & Mathematics, first printed in the UAF Cornerstone, the local university online newsletter for UAF faculty, staff and students. 

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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