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Donor Spotlight – GCI


GCI is an Alaska-based company that delivers communication and technology services to consumers and businesses. They’ve been delivering services for more than 35 years to some of the most remote communities in our state and in some of the most challenging conditions in North America. GCI is proud to be an “Alaska born and raised” company; they’re dedicated to providing Alaskans with the most innovative technologies in order to improve the quality of life for all Alaskans, through education, health care and economic development.

Harvey Tower Rainbow

The GCI and SOM Partnership
The UAF School of Management is training Alaska’s future leaders and is an important investment not only for GCI, but also for the state. Recently, GCI has become more involved, becoming a top-level sponsor of SOM’s annual gala, Business Leader of the Year, and participating in the Spring Etiquette Seminar, which provides students with the opportunity to learn valuable lessons about professional conduct from Alaska’s business leaders.

GCI and the UAF Business Leader of the Year
As one of Alaska’s largest employers, GCI believes in the importance of developing Alaska’s future business leaders and value the education that SOM provides. Many key business leaders in the Interior and across Alaska are SOM graduates. As an Alaska-based company, GCI understands how crucial it is to attract talented business minds as well as retain those individuals so that they can continue to serve Alaskans for years to come.

Advice for Current SOM Students
Value the lessons that you’re learning—they will help set you up to excel in the world of business and prepare you for many of the business challenges that are unique to Alaska. Also, keep in mind that it’s in your best interest to take advantage of every opportunity to learn outside of the classroom. Internships and other forms of business experience can go a long way and will provide valuable, on-the-job lessons that will complement your education (and resume).

GCI Gives Generously Around the State
GCI’s long-standing history of corporate giving is built on their philanthropic goals, which include supporting youth education and higher learning, investing in Alaska-based programs and initiatives and strengthening programs supported by GCI employees. There are dozens of organizations and causes that GCI supports; the gamut includes major Alaska cultural events such as the Native Youth Olympics and the Iditarod, to educational opportunities like the Alaska Academic Decathlon, to business and health-related organizations. A full list is available on the GCI website.

GCI’s Advice for an Organization Considering a Gift to SOM
It’s incredibly important to support the institutions that develop and prepare the individuals who will make up our future business workforce. By investing in UAF’s School of Management, you are also investing in the next generation of business and community leaders, those who will play an immense role in the future development of Alaska’s economy and therefore the well-being of all Alaskans.

GCI employee-1


GCI employee-2

Working Together Through Adversity

Mark Herrmann-2012

This letter from SOM Dean Mark Herrmann was printed in the SOM Spring Newsletter, published in June, 2016.

At the UAF School of Management, we are committed to offering programs that serve the needs of today’s students in tomorrow’s economy. We are equally dedicated to preparing them for leadership roles in society. To meet our commitments, SOM focuses on excellence in and out of the classroom, and provides our students with frequent opportunities to interact with the business community. This partnership between SOM and the business community is what ensures our students a state-of-the-art education.

As you are well aware, the university system is facing significant fiscal challenges that threaten its financial stability and the quality of its students’ educational experiences. Both UAF and UAA strongly believe their business schools are essential to the communities in which they exist. I am working closely with Dr. Rashmi Prasad, Dean of the UAA College of Business and Public Policy, towards a collaborative plan for both schools. We’re working together to determine how to best serve Alaska with business education under a unified university and the new Strategic Pathways model proposed by UA President Jim Johnsen.

Schools with accreditation from AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – are considered the best business schools in the world. Their degree programs have passed rigorous standards for quality. AACSB accredited schools have the best programs, the highest quality faculty and the most prepared students. More employers recruit from these schools and their graduates receive higher salaries. AACSB accreditation is an important achievement for both UAF and UAA, which further underscores the need to ensure that both of these excellent business schools remain strong.

To Students
With UAA in the Anchorage bowl area and UAF in Interior Alaska, each business school features a specialized, community-based focus. SOM is as strong as it’s ever been, and we want to continue building on that strength. This academic year, we had a record number of enrolled students and a record number of graduates. We have been internationally recognized for our community outreach. Be confident SOM is poised to continue to offer the type of active learning opportunities you have come to expect and that employers desire.

To Faculty
No doubt there’s some uncertainty about the future. Dean Prasad and I are collaborating with President Johnsen and expect to have a much better grasp of the situation and a clearer direction by the end of this calendar year. We are working with the information we are given and unfortunately it changes frequently. I am committed to keeping you informed of potential changes and other updates as soon as the information is available.

To Donors and Alumni
I am optimistic that SOM is going to remain in Fairbanks. We have received signals from President Johnsen that our school is of critical importance to the community and to UA as a whole. We may look somewhat different in the future, but we are working diligently to maintain our core strengths. Philanthropic gifts will continue to benefit your areas of support, just as they always have. With your help, our students will continue to have extra-curricular experiences as they receive the high-quality education that they, you, and I have all come to expect.

How you can support SOM
Your commitment and support over the next few months are even more important than ever. This support may take the form of writing letters to the Legislature, testifying to the Board of Regents or the President, and sharing your stories about the positive impacts our school and our students make on the community.

If you would like to share your thoughts about the future of the UAF School of Management, please visit the Strategic Pathways website and voice your opinion via the feedback email or online form.

Mark Herrmann
Dean, School of Management




Download a PDF of this letter.

Alumni Spotlight – Micaiah Liebhober


Micaiah at Lake Tahoe.

Micaiah is a human resources administrative assistant at the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and Denali Center. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in Spanish in 2015.

Why did you choose to attend UAF?
I chose UAF because it is my hometown school and offers a quality education at an affordable price. All of this without having to leave my friends and family was a win-win.  As a first-generation graduate, attending college was not an easy feat for me, but UAF made it possible.

Share a memory of an outstanding teacher or class.
Amy Cooper always comes to mind. I wasn’t even an accounting major and she almost convinced me to switch majors based on her teaching ability and friendliness. Wendy Tisland is a great mentor in the HR field.

What is a favorite SOM memory?
I have a lot of great memories with the UAF Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) student organization, which I helped found and then served as an officer. A few of us participated in the Northwestern Human Resources Management Association HR Case Competition and student conference held in Portland. We had a great time going to Voodoo donuts as a group and networking with other HR students and professionals in the Northwest.

How did SOM prepare you for your professional career?
SOM prepared me for my professional career in a number of ways. It taught me how to balance my personal life with deadlines and how to prioritize. It taught me the value of networking and teamwork. I learned a lot about myself and what sacrifices are necessary to succeed and accomplish a task. Being in a student organization highlighted the importance of making the time to participate in extracurricular activities. I have learned that you will never have the extra time to do such things, you have to make the time.

What does being an alumna mean to you?
Being a UAF alumna gives me a great sense of pride. I am proud to support the university that supported me, got me where I am today, and will take me farther in the future. I have my UAF Alumni sticker on the back window of my car, and I flaunt it shamelessly!

What keeps you enthusiastic about your career?
Continuing education, challenges, and experience keep me excited about my healthcare HR career. I am able to shadow the recruiters I work with and I plan on going into that particular field. I hope to be an HR Consultant or Chief HR Officer, and I am starting the UAF MBA program to help me reach my goal. The unlimited growth potential in the field keeps me very motivated to keep moving forward.

What’s the number one skill or practice that has contributed to your success?
Sheer determination, strong will and consistency helped me succeed. There were many obstacles and challenges along the way and I feel like overcoming them made me better. I haven’t given up when times have gotten hard, and have pushed through instead. I worked two jobs and supported myself through my whole college career. That working experience helps me today, and I know how to balance multiple commitments. It took me five and a half years to complete my Bachelor’s, but I got it done!

What advice would you give to current students?
I would advise students to expand your horizons and not get too overwhelmed. Make time for yourself through working out, a hobby or travel. I also strongly recommend joining a student organization and making professional connections in your chosen field.


Micaiah participates in the annual American Heart Association Heart Walk with co-workers.

  • What is your favorite breakfast food? Pancakes, although I don’t eat them very often (unless they’re protein pancakes)!
  • Dream vacation destination? Anywhere foreign, exotic or tropical. I like to get out of my comfort zone and see things from a different perspective. I would love to go to Greece or somewhere in the Caribbean.
  • Last music digital download or streaming channel? G-Eazy radio on Pandora. He is coming up to the Alaska state fair this year!
  • What’s the best advice you didn’t take? To start applying for scholarships earlier in my college career. I thought I would not be considered for any, but turns out there is a lot of aid available.
  • When was the last time you sang out loud? Probably yesterday in my shower or in the car. I sing and dance a lot!



Micaiah on a black sand beach.

Faculty Focus – Dr. Joshua Lupinek


Josh refereeing at a hockey game.

Hailing from East Haddam, Connecticut, Josh’s connection to the sports industry started as a minor league hockey player and turned into sport marketing during graduate school. Josh stays connected to his hockey background as an NCAA referee for the WCHA and Big Ten Conference. You may see him on the ice with the UAF Nanooks. Josh is an assistant professor of business administration.
Educational background:
Ph.D. – University of Minnesota, Sport Management

M.A. – University of Connecticut, Sport Management & Sociology
B.A. – Franklin Pierce University, Business Management & Mathematics

What brought you to Alaska?
The opportunity to work for the School of Management, my colleagues (plus their mutual hockey interests), and a family adventure.

What do you enjoy about Alaska?
I enjoy the family-friendly community and how much opportunity there is for outdoor family activities. Even walking the dog is a fun adventure, with the wildlife and the numerous trails.

This is your first year with SOM. What were your first impressions?
I enjoy the friendly business school culture. While SOM is very professional and respected within the community, you don’t have to wear a suit to work everyday for someone to know you mean business!

Your specialized field is sports marketing. How does that translate into the classroom?
Sports marketing has endless connections to the classroom as athlete endorsements continue to trend upwards. There is no lack of controversial topics when it comes to professional athletes and how their personal life choices affect the sport industry. Connecting with students on these topics and how they choose to consume sports is something I very much enjoy. People tend to carry a lot more passion in how they choose one sports brand/team over another than for general consumer products like shampoo.

What research or project are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a collaborative project where we are researching the gender differences of fantasy football participation and what motivational differences exist for females with respect to starting and continuing to play fantasy football.

What advice do you have for current students?
My advice for students, especially student-athletes, is to take advantage of the network around you. Everyone at SOM takes pride in helping you get to that next level. I can’t think of too many places in the world that provide as much professional development support and personal interest in your career.

What would you like to tell us about your family?
My wife Tracy and I welcomed our first child, Ava, this past December. We are excited to be raising a family in the Fairbanks, AK community and can’t wait till she is old enough to ride her first snowmachine!


Josh and his dog.

  • Next TV/movie binge watch in queue? “Ballers” on HBO, but it is on hold until after the Stanley Cup.
  • Book you are currently reading?Winning the customer: Turn consumers into fans and get them to spend more,” by Lou Imbriano & Elizabeth King.
  • Your last music download? “I Took A Pill In Ibiza” by Mike Posner.
  • If you were granted you one wish to change the world what would it be? Stop global warming, so that future generations can enjoy the world as we do.



Josh’s and his wife Tracy’s daughter, Ava.

Order of the Sword and Shield 2016


HSEM Director Cameron Carlson (left) and SOM Dean Mark Herrmann (right) pose with Order of the Sword and Shield inductees Walter Murrell, James Fergurgur, and Thomas Antal.

On Friday, May 6, 2016, the School of Management held our inaugural induction for three of our Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) students into the Order of the Sword and Shield national honor society.

The Order of the Sword and Shield is a national honor society for academically superior students Homeland Security, Intelligence, Emergency Management and all Protective Security Disciplines. The society just completed its fifth year of operation and includes 32 collegiate chapters, 3 professional chapters, and a National Chapter, and includes students from over 70 schools across the country. More on this honor society can be found at the Order of the Sword and Shield website.

The students inducted to the honor society were Thomas Antal, Jason Fegurgur, and Walter Murrell. HSEM Program Director Cameron Carlson said “I am especially proud of this inaugural group of outstanding academic student leaders, who have helped set a standard for this new chapter in one of the higher rated programs in the nation.”

This stellar accomplishment by our students is yet another example of how this nationally ranked HSEM program continues to grow and excel.



James Fergurgur signs the official record of inductees for the UAF chapter of the Order of the Sword and Shield national honor society.

Beta Gamma Sigma 2016

BGS group shot 2016

On Friday, May 6, 2016, SOM honored our Beta Gamma Sigma inductees for 2016.

Beta Gamma Sigma is a national honor society recognizing the highest scholastic honor a student can achieve in Business Administration at an AACSB-accredited institution. To be eligible for membership in this distinguished organization, a student must rank in the top of their class.

  • Top 10 percent of the Junior class
  • Top 10 percent of the Senior class
  • Top 20 percent of MBA students


Elizabeth Allen
Justin Church
Huckleberry Hopper
Sarah Howard
Megan Huerd
Damaris Li
Jay Samuel


Irina Brown
Nathaniel DiGloria
Hannah Evans
Michelle Galloway
Kathryn Reichert
Amber Vaska


Ryan Allen
Michael Kresytn
Jennifer Young

Congratulations Graduates!

group shot_1

Congratulations to all the 2015-16 SOM Graduates!

On Sunday, May 8, 2016 they celebrated the culmination of hours of studying, numerous papers and presentations, and stressful exams. Combine all that with juggling work, family, and out-of-classroom activities necessary to prep for careers, and these students should feel proud that they are ready to lead into the future.
group shot_5

See more photos on Flickr

School of Management students place highly in competition

Johanna Bocklet, Laken Bordner, Jamie Boyle and Sara McBride recently took fourth place in a Society for Human Resource Management student competition in Utah.

Johanna Bocklet, Laken Bordner, Jamie Boyle and Sara McBride recently took fourth place in a Society for Human Resource Management student competition in Utah. Photo courtesy of Kris Racina.

A team of School of Management students took fourth place in the Society for Human Resource Management’s Student Case Competition and Career Summit Division II.

The students — Johanna Bocklet, Laken Bordner, Jamie Boyle and Sara McBride — competed April 29-30 at the Regional Conference West in Salt Lake City, Utah. Fourteen teams entered the division contest this year.

The team received the case directly from SHRM, and faculty advisors were not allowed to know about the case or to help the students in any way.

Former SOM faculty member and SHRM advisor Wendy Tisland prepared the students well for this competition in her Introductory Human Resource Management class (BA 307).

The students are proud to have placed higher than many other larger schools with concentrated human resources degree programs.

“Attending the SHRM Case Competition and Career Summit was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me during my education,” said Jamie Boyle, UAF SHRM president. “During both days of the summit, students were able to network with over 40 HR professionals, getting help on resumes, interviews, or just making connections for future opportunities. I made connections with a number of professionals that will help move my career forward. I am very pleased that after the conference, I have at least five solid follow-up conversations and interviews to help jump-start my future career in HR.”

The SHRM Student Case Competition and Career Summit provides opportunities for students and human resources professionals to connect, while also exposing students to the types of real-world problems they may one day encounter when they enter the workforce. To excel in the competition as these UAF students have done, they must demonstrate strategic thinking, ethical decision-making, and strong leadership and presentation skills.

Charla Brown, far left, and Kris Racina, far right, join UAF students at the Society for Human Resource Management event in April. Brown chairs the business administration program and is assistant professor of human resource management at the University of Alaska Southeast. Racina is a business administration instructor at the UAF School of Management. Students, from left, are Laken Bordner, Johanna Bocklet, Jamie Boyle and Sara McBride.

Charla Brown, far left, and Kris Racina, far right, join UAF students at the Society for Human Resource Management event in April. Brown chairs the business administration program and is assistant professor of human resource management at the University of Alaska Southeast. Racina is a business administration instructor at the UAF School of Management. Students, from left, are Laken Bordner, Johanna Bocklet, Jamie Boyle and Sara McBride. Photo courtesy of Kris Racina.

The UAF chapter of SHRM plans to attend the competition again next year, and the student organization is actively recruiting new students for the upcoming academic year. Any interested students who would like to learn more about this student group and the chance to participate in next year’s case competition in Portland, Oregon, should contact Kris Racina at or 907-474-6532 or Wendy Tisland at

Laken Bordner, Sara McBride, Johanna Bocklet and Jamie Boyle celebrate their fourth-place finish at a Society of Human Resource Management student competition. Photo courtesy of Jamie Boyle.

Laken Bordner, Sara McBride, Johanna Bocklet and Jamie Boyle celebrate their fourth-place finish at a Society of Human Resource Management student competition. Photo courtesy of Jamie Boyle.

Below are the final standings (in order of placement):

West Division

  1. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  2. University of Texas at Tyler
  3. Boise State University
  4. University of Alaska Fairbanks
  5. Florida International University, College of Business
  6. University of Nevada, Reno
  7. University of Phoenix
  8. San Diego State University
  9. University of Michigan-Dearborn
  10. Utah State University
  11. San Jose State University
  12. California State University Bakersfield
  13. Portland State University
  14. Western Oregon University

The Nanooks of Wall Street

Photo by Phil Younker University of Alaska Fairbanks students Lacey Cruikshank, Alec Hajdukovich, Hayden Nilson, and Jamie Boyle enjoy the streets of New York City during a Student Investment Fund class trip.

University of Alaska Fairbanks students Lacey Cruikshank, Alec Hajdukovich, Hayden Nilson, and Jamie Boyle enjoy the streets of New York City during a Student Investment Fund class trip.

Six University of Alaska Fairbanks students taking a course in real-life investing recently enjoyed a visit to New York City’s financial district.

Jamie Boyle, Lacey Cruikshank, Alec Hajdukovich, Stefan Hajdukovich, Hayden Nilson and Tracy Reeves earned the trip with their hard work in the UAF School of Management’s Student Investment Fund course.

“Getting to meet finance professionals and talk to them about what they do every day really helped to cement what we’d been learning in the Student Investment Fund course,” said senior business administration student Stefan Hajdukovich. “It got me excited to start my own career in finance after graduation.”

Students toured the New York Stock Exchange during the opening bell and observed an editorial meeting at Fortune magazine. They received practical advice from Bloomberg employees on how to continue their financial education. They met with professionals in investment banking, private equity, alternative investments, equity research and asset management.

The professionals offered interview advice and perspectives on “a day in the life” of a banker or asset manager. Some of the advice was more tactical. At Lazard, for example, one asset manager spoke to students about how he screened investments and evaluated comparable companies to select the most attractive in the industry he covered.

The trip also involved some sightseeing, and, of course, students went out of their way to make it to a hockey game — because you can take Alaskans out of Alaska, but you can’t take the Alaska out of them.

Photo by Phil Younker Hayden Nilson, Jamie Boyle, Stefan Hajdukovich, Kim McGinnis, Alec Hajdukovich, Lacey Cruikshank and Tracy Reeves visit the offices of Time Inc.

Hayden Nilson, Jamie Boyle, Stefan Hajdukovich, Kim McGinnis, Alec Hajdukovich, Lacey Cruikshank and Tracy Reeves visit the offices of Time Inc.

The SIF course (BA 454) is offered for upper-level bachelor’s or master’s degree students in business administration each year during fall and spring semesters. Students gain hands-on experience developing investment strategies and analyzing stocks. Students make all investment decisions for the fund, which is currently valued at nearly $1 million. The small class size allows for increased student participation, as well as a high level of mentorship and accountability. The course is appropriate for all business majors, not just students pursuing a finance degree, and involvement can lead to internships and career opportunities. The fund generates money for need-based scholarships each year, meaning these students are helping to fund the academic careers of their fellow UAF students.

The SIF students were accompanied by School of Management faculty members Phil Younker and Kim McGinnis, who went to great efforts to make arrangements after the Pavlov Volcano eruption in March suspended air flights and delayed the trip. SOM Business Advisory Council member and Clarion Capital Partners Managing Director David Ragins worked diligently on the New York side to set up meetings for the students and make their trip a success.

The businesses and organizations visited by the students included Bank of America, Bloomberg L.P., Clarion Capital, Fortune Magazine, Jefferies, JP Morgan, Lazard Asset Management, the New York Stock Exchange, and WM Capital Partners.

This student trip was funded by a generous gift from Northrim Bank. McKinley Capital Management, First National Bank Alaska, the Association of General Contractors and several individual donors provide additional support for the SIF program.

Photos by Phil Younker.


Photo by Phil Younker Tracy Reeves, Alec Hajdukovich, Kim McGinnis, Jamie Boyle, Hayden Nilson, Stefan Hajdukovich and Lacey Cruikshank pose with the Wall Street Bull.

Tracy Reeves, Alec Hajdukovich, Kim McGinnis, Jamie Boyle, Hayden Nilson, Stefan Hajdukovich and Lacey Cruikshank pose with the Wall Street Bull.

40th Annual Business Leader of the Year

On April 23, 2016, School of Management celebrated 40 years of outstanding leadership as we honored Bob Hajdukovich, CEO of Ravn Air Group, Inc., as the 2016 Business Leader of the Year award.

The UAF Business Leader of the Year award is given to a deserving recipient based on leadership in the Fairbanks business community, business achievements, community service, and educational support.
The event sold out for the seventh year in a row. Many SOM students worked hard to make the night a success, volunteering their time in order to earn a ticket to the event. They sold tickets, ironed hundreds of  chair sashes, worked with vendors, and decorated the venue.

Funds raised through the Business Leader of the Year event support student organizations at SOM. The audience, made up of the Interior community and business leaders, demonstrated enthusiastic support for our students, collectively raising over $40,000 – all of which will go back to the future business leaders of Alaska: UAF School of Management students.

See more more photos from the event on Flickr.

Watch the student-produced video, “Flying into the Future.”

FB-Bob+Leslie with award

Bob’s wife, Leslie, looks on as he accepts the award


FB-Student Committee

Student Committee members helped make the event a success