Madara Mason

Madara Mason's hats include painter, graphic designer, Instructional Designer, faculty educator, English Instructor, food blogger, and Oxford Comma Aficionado. If she's not in front of an easel, she's in front of a screen, or in front of a classroom. Her motto is "If you're not having fun, you're probably doing it wrong."

Meet the  2015-16 UAF CITE Fellows!

We are very excited to welcome these faculty into the third year of CITE Fellows.  Their experience, dedication, and fearless enthusiasm served as a catalyst for other UAF faculty. eCampus is always looking for ways to support teaching and learning, and this has been one of our most exciting initiatives.

Dr. Abel Bult-Ito

Professor of Biology
Department of Biology and Wildlife

Dr. Abel Bult-Ito teaches courses in animal behavior, animal physiology, human evolution, neural regulation, neurobiology, human anatomy & physiology, neuroscience research, writing a review in behavioral neuroscience. Dr. Bult-Ito received his BS and MS equivalent degrees in biology from the University of Groningen, Netherlands and arrived in the US in 1988 to pursue a Ph.D. degree at Wesleyan University, Connecticut, which he earned in May 1994, studying the “Quantitative and behavioral genetics of thermoregulatory nest-building behavior and circadian rhythms in mice.” Dr. Bult-Ito was a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale University Medical School (1993-1996) and at Michigan State University (1996-1997) and prior to joining the University of Alaska, he was an Assistant Professor of Biology at Middlebury College in Vermont (1997-1999). He lives in Fairbanks, Alaska where he enjoyes chopping wood for the woodstove, playing with his cats Copper and Hazel, listening to his wife and daughter play the piano, watching movies and operas, and reading mystery and fiction novels.

Project: Massive Online Research Experience in Behavioral Neuroscience

Dr. Bult-Ito is developing a fully online set of original behavioral neuroscience research lab courses using live mice. These courses will be widely available to community members, high school students, and undergraduate students in Fairbanks, Alaska, the US, and the world. These online classes will also be fully accessible to rural students; reveal how instructors can become more involved with distance students; provide real-time experiments with students in rural locations; and, ideally, increase enrollment to a level that will be sustainable over time.

Dr. Robin Shoaps

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics
Department of Anthropology

Dr. Shoaps is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and LInguistics. She strives to bring a hands-on perspective to her teaching so that students learn skills that allow them to analyze linguistic and cultural practices that surround them. Her favorite classes to teach include ANTH/LING 435/635 “Political media and discourses of the American Right;” ANTH/LING 308 “Language and Gender” and ANTH/LING 223 “Sociolinguistics: Language and Inequality.” When she is not studying listening to conservative radio or attending evangelical churches in the US, she studies Sakapultek and K’ichee’ Maya in Guatemala. Since moving to AK she has studied military words for drones and is beginning research on Ahtn/English radio sermons. She has published in Text, Pragmatics, American Ethnologist, the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology and in edited books.

Project: Linguistics Through the Lens of Conlang Development

In this course, titled “Elvish, Klingon & Dothraki: The Art & Science of Language Creation,” students will build off popular culture and the work of hobbyist groups in the area of “conlang,” or constructed languages. The product of the course will be a new, collaboratively constructed language, a new approach in linguistics pedagogy. Students will draw from the applied study of both real world languages and constructed languages to create their own “conlang” and publish their results as a multimedia-rich presentation for the linguistics and hobbyist community.
Peter Westley

Dr. Peter Westley

Assistant Professor of Fisheries
School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences

Dr. Peter Westley is an Assistant Professor of Fisheries in the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences where he works at the interface of ecology and evolution to understand the patterns and processes of local adaptation of fishes in a rapidly changing world. Prior to joining UAF in 2014, Peter obtained a B.S. and M.S. in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences from the University of Washington, a Ph.D. in Biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and conducted postdoctoral research back again at UW. As a lifelong Alaskan, Peter was ecstatic to return home to teach, conduct research, and work towards the wise use of Alaska’s fish resources.

Project: Salmon and Society

Dr. Westley is currently teaching a trial version of his CITE Fellow project, a course titled Salmon & Society where students are exploring the complex and sometime contentious relationships between salmon and people. Taught through a combination of video conference and in-person delivery, the course is available to both UA and students from around Alaska and the world. Current students include upper division undergraduates in Fisheries and Biology, intellectually curious UA staff members, a law student in Montana, a consultant for a local tribal association, and a burgeoning leader from a rural subsistence community. Together, Peter and his students are learning about current pressing issues facing salmon – the decline of Chinook salmon in Alaska, interactions between hatchery and wild salmon, struggle for persistence by Sacramento River salmon, and culture wars in Cook Inlet- through weekly guest lectures by professionals working on these issues and by hands on learning in a laboratory session.
Peter Westley

Dr. Devin Drown

Assistant Professor of Biology
Institute of Arctic Biology

Dr. Drown’s research focuses on understanding coevolutionary interactions, particularly host-parasite interactions using a combination of mathematical modeling and molecular analysis in both field and laboratory settings to address how species interactions influence life history trait evolution, such as dispersal and virulence.The overall goal of his research is to develop a mechanistic understanding by which abiotic and biotic forces drive the direction and rate of evolution of coevolutionary interactions.

Both of his parents were high school teachers and they showed him that he must take an active role helping students understand the challenge of a new subject. As a committed teacher, Dr. Drown wants most of all to help his students learn how to think about complex problems in biology and how to apply their analytical skills to larger issues they will face as citizens.He five his students the ability to think critically and to use the scientific method to analyze problems and then to draw logical conclusions. Accomplishing this goal requires teaching students how to break down a problem, how to critically analyze data, and how to come up with an answer supported by evidence. When students acquire analytical skills to solve problems, they gain the ability to apply what they have learned to new problems and come up with creative solutions.

Project: Guinea Pig Games

Dr. Drown will develop a set of conceptually rich learning activities that promote the understanding of the five mechanisms of evolutionary change emphasized by population genetics (finite population size, natural selection, genetic mutations, non-random mating, and migration). These activities will incorporate concepts of gamification and badging as a means of engaging students in a difficult subject and promote incremental understanding. For this project, I will start by researching current potential solutions. He’s currently teaching Principles of Evolution (F481/681) and presenting an opportunity to test prototype activities as well as more specifically to identify the learning barriers students have with understanding population genetics. Developed activities and resources will be made freely available and results published in an academic journal upon completion.