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Congratulations Graduates!

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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.
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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.

Alumni Giving – Heather Rauenhorst

Heather Rauenhorst & Leo

Heather and her son, Leo

Tradition of Excellence
Heather Rauenhorst

My name is Heather Rauenhorst (formerly Lesko), and I am the current chair of the SOM Business Advisory Council. I received my MBA from SOM in 2003, and it was a life-changing experience. It enabled me to achieve my personal goals and also prepared me for opportunities I never imagined. Not a day goes by that I don’t apply the knowledge and skills I gained through the MBA program in my leadership position at the school district. I hear far too many people say they don’t feel their college experience adequately prepared them for their careers. I had a different experience, and am thrilled I didn’t have to leave my hometown to do so. How lucky are we as Interior residents to have such a high caliber school in our own backyard?

I found my MBA classes challenging and relevant. Then, as now, there were brilliant faculty members who truly cared their students learned. And I can say without any bias, my classmates at SOM were the very best and brightest in all of UAF. Actually, one classmate in particular was a bit unique. My dad returned to school later in life, and the last year of his bachelor’s degree was my first year in the MBA program. We took a marketing class together, which was a memorable experience for both of us!

SOM also offers incredible opportunities outside the classroom. I signed up for an internship course when the program was just beginning, and it allowed me to experience a completely different type of business than any of my previous jobs. I believe so much in the value of these experiential learning activities, and in the potential benefits for both the student and the host business, that I created an internship position in my own small department. I’ve had two terrific SOM interns so far, and my coworkers have been very impressed with the caliber of the students and the quality of the work they’ve done.

So that was then, but what about now? In my opinion, the school has only gotten better. Today, SOM boasts even more engagement with local businesses, more student organizations and activities providing practical experiences, and more opportunities for students to make meaningful connections in the community.

I am thrilled to be an SOM alumna, and grateful for the time invested in me by the faculty and staff. I ask you to join me as I give back and enable SOM to continue its tradition of excellence, so today’s students have the opportunities they need to develop into tomorrow’s leaders.

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Etiquette Seminar helps students mind their manners

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The sixth annual UAF School of Management Spring Etiquette Seminar & Dinner, sponsored by KPMG and the UAF Alumni Association, was held on Friday, March 4. Professionals from across the state sat on the etiquette panel to share their wisdom with students. Experts included:

  • Bill Bailey, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company
  • Sabrina Binkley, Sprucetree Montessori School
  • Doug Bishop, Doyon Utilities
  • Amy Cooper, UAF School of Management
  • Jim Culley, Northrim Bank
  • Lisa Herbert, Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce
  • Mark Herrmann, UAF School of Management
  • Jessica Hill, TDL Professional Staffing
  • Steve Lundgren, Denali State Bank
  • Wes Madden, Madden Real Estate
  • Roxy Marcy, GCI
  • Daniel Mitchell, KPMG
  • Oran Paul, Utility Services of Alaska
  • Tammy Randolph, State Farm Insurance
  • Lorna Shaw, Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo
  • Tammy Tragis-McCook, UAF School of Management
  • Peter Van Flein, UAF Alumni Association

The purpose of this event is to help students learn valuable lessons in the social graces. Once students graduate, they are expected to know how to act in formal situations, such as business dinners and social functions. This annual event  provides them with the tools needed to conduct themselves as well-rounded professionals. SOM students learned about the rules of etiquette, from cell phone courtesy to punctuality to what to do with a napkin when leaving the table.

After a presentation by Daniel Mitchell of KPMG and a Q&A with the panel, professionals and students headed over to Lavelle’s Bistro where students were able to practice their newly-learned skills at a formal dinner.

View some photos from the event:

2016 Spring Etiquette Seminar and Dinner

Interning at the UAF Alumni Association

Mathew w Beelzebub

Mathew with his dog, Beezlebub

Mathew Carrick graduated from UAF in December 2015 with a BBA in economics and a minor in mathematics; he is currently pursuing his MBA at the School of Management. Mathew worked for the UAF Alumni Association in the fall of 2015.

Why did you decide to pursue your economics degree?
I wanted to learn business and management skills, but I also wanted a more quantitative, measured view than I thought I would get from a business administration degree, at least without going into finance. I also had an interest in economics before I came to UAF, so it seemed a natural fit. Finally, I liked my professors; UAF has some excellent faculty members. One professor who had an especially strong impact on me was Dr. Joe Little, whose introductory classes helped me decide that economics was something I wanted to pursue more seriously. After I declared my major, my interactions with Joe in and out of the classroom helped convince me I made the right choice.

Why did you want to intern for the UAF Alumni Association?
I had a few reasons. First, I love learning about UAF’s history, and I thought the Alumni Association would be a great place to do that. Second, I knew UAF has many talented alumni who know a lot about being successful, and I wanted the chance to learn from them. Third, I wanted to work in a traditional office environment and learn all the support skills that I’d be expected to know after graduation.

What did you learn through your internship?
All that I set out to learn and more: I’ve learned about UAF history, met some wonderful, experienced alumni, and improved my general office skills. I’ve also learned management practices through observation and have grown in the areas of fundraising and membership management. My past sales experience has been primarily retail-oriented, but through my internship at the Alumni Association I’ve gained a much better understanding of what motivates people to join an organization.

What advice do you have for students interested in internships?
Apply! There are so many internships available at UAF and elsewhere that often receive only one or two applications, if any. Don’t get discouraged by the job description – the worst anyone can do is say “no,” and your chances may be better than you think. At the same time, don’t just flip through job listings looking for anything, or you’ll be terribly bored and you probably won’t learn much. Think about what you’re interested in – even if it’s not directly work-related – and seek opportunities that will help you learn more about those areas or topics.

What was the best thing about your internship?
Definitely the people I work with. My office only includes three people, but we’re also a part of UAF’s Development team and we have the support of a nonprofit board of directors made up of alumni. Everyone is so positive and supportive that I always feel refreshed after a day in the office, no matter what I was doing. It’s an enjoyable atmosphere that’s inspired me to always try my best.


Mathew w Ashley & Beelzebub

Mathew with his fiancée, Ashley, and his dog, Beezlebub

GAAP Organizes 4th Annual Alaska Native Corporations Seminar


Panelists Miranda Wright of Doyon Limited, Lia Patton of BDO, Jim Hasle of BDO, and Garry Hutchison of Kohler, Schmitt, and Hutchison applaud Julie Stricker at the opening of the seminar

On February 2, 2016, the Great Alaskan Accounting People (GAAP) student organization hosted the 4th Annual Alaska Native Corporations Seminar. Panelists spoke to about 55 students, accounting professionals, and Fairbanks community members about Alaska’s native regional corporations, 8(a) contract issues, settlement trust, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANSCA), and the future of the corporations.

This year’s speakers were:
• Jim Hasle, Assurance Office Managing Partner, BDO
• Garry Hutchison, Partner, Kohler, Schmitt & Hutchison, PC
• Lia Patton, Assurance Office Partner, BDO
• Miranda Wright, Board of Directors Treasurer, Doyon Limited
Julie Stricker served as Master of Ceremony for this year’s seminar.

Hayden Nilson, accounting student and GAAP officer, organized this event; Hayden and several fellow accounting students and faculty answered the following questions.

This is the fourth year GAAP has hosted the Alaska Native Corporations Seminar.
Why do you think this is an important event for students and the community?
The Native regional corporations are a vital part of the Alaskan economy, and it is important for more people to understand their history and their role in our state. Heidi Pichler, GAAP member and accounting student, noted that this event gives students and the community greater insight into the impact these corporations have on the Alaskan economy. From an accounting perspective, it allows students to learn about the diversity in careers that an accounting degree can provide. What a many people don’t recognize is that in some form or another, whether in the areas of public or private accounting, there is a very high likelihood of working with or for a native corporation. And when there is a chance to learn more about such a crucial part of our economy, everyone should take advantage of the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of this topic.

What do you think students took away from this seminar?
One of the key things we heard from students over and over following this seminar was that they were amazed at the diversity offered by accounting degree. Most people think of accountants simply as the person you take your tax documents to each year. For students like Victoria Adams, GAAP member and accounting student, this event helped demonstrate the many potential options a degree in accounting can offer. This seminar played a pivotal role in showing that there is a whole lot more to accounting than the annual April 15th tax deadline.


Jim Hasle and Garry Hutchison join Candace Crews, former GAAP member and seminar originator, during the social hour before the seminar

What was the most important or enlightening thing you learned at this seminar?
This year’s seminar covered many topics. Our speakers’ extensive background and experience with Alaska native regional corporations provided those in attendance with a better understanding of the impact and importance these entities have on Alaska. A few of the topics of most interest to GAAP students included; Land in Trust, ANSCA Tax Provisions, and 8(a) contracts. I personally learned a great deal while organizing this event, because I had to research the topics in order to understand the basics and work with our seminar panelists to decide what they would discuss. I can’t stress enough how useful and important all of their discussions were for the students, professionals, and community members in attendance.

How has your experience with the Great Alaskan Accounting People (GAAP) helped you as an accounting student at UAF?
GAAP is a great organization. It has a clear mission – to prepare accounting students for their careers – and I believe it does just that. The majority of our members receive internship offers before they graduate, and often continue on with the firm as full time associates. Students can be involved in GAAP in many different ways. Beau McClain has been a GAAP officer for two years, and will be starting his career as an accountant at the KPMG Anchorage office next fall. Beau credits GAAP for his accomplishments and his success as a student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, saying “I can honestly say that no other student organization comes close to the professionalism and dedication of GAAP in preparing students for their future career.” The more speakers GAAP can share with students through their weekly meetings and special events like the Alaska Native Corporations Seminar, the brighter UAF students will shine when they enter the professional world.


Additional photos from this event can be found on the GAAP Facebook page

Are you interested in being a guest speaker for an upcoming GAAP meeting?
Would you like a copy of the recording of the seminar? Contact Hayden Nilson or GAAP advisor Amy Cooper

More information about this student organization can be found on the GAAP website

Faculty Focus – Kim McGinnis

Kim grew up in Miami, Florida and San Diego, California. Her career started at the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, where she represented American businesses operating in China. She went on to work in emerging markets asset management at HSBC, then moved to General Electric, where she led GE Capital’s global public affairs function.

  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Vanderbilt University
  • Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs
  • MBA from the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business

What brought you to Alaska?
While completing my MBA, I went on a spring break cross-country skiing trip in Alaska’s White Mountains. I fell in love with the area and all the great things you can do outdoors. I also fell in love with a very special Alaskan guy, Sam Alexander, who runs his own adventure travel company when not teaching. Sam didn’t have to do much convincing to get me to move.

What do you enjoy about Alaska?
Two things strike me most about Alaska – first, this state offers boundless opportunities for someone with an entrepreneurial mindset. Second, the sky is amazing! The Lower 48 doesn’t get brilliant sunrises and Northern Lights like we get here.

You have a good amount of professional experience in finance, leadership and marketing.
How does that translate into the classroom?

I relate examples from my own work experience. One of the first lectures I gave was on mergers and acquisitions. Having gone through a number of acquisitions and divestures at GE, I can share a practioner’s perspective to complement the academic view. I’m connecting with my former colleagues and professional contacts to come to Fairbanks so students can hear their perspectives, as well.

Which previous research / project are you most proud of?
While at GE, I launched a marketing campaign that was so successful in the U.S., I got to oversee its implementation in six additional countries. The success was nice, of course, but it was also a great opportunity to work with colleagues across the globe.

What advice do you have for current students?
Stay curious and approach your career – and your life – with an open mind. As a corollary to that – if you get the opportunity to travel, do it.

What would you like to tell us about your family?
Sam and I live in a dry cabin. I’m hoping to add a puppy to our family soon. And maybe running water some day!


UPDATE: The puppy has arrived! Still waiting on that running water….


  • Next TV binge watch in queue? Archer and House of Cards are my two guilty pleasures.
  • Book you are currently reading? I am re-reading “The Great Game” by Peter Hopkirk. It is a non-fiction account of the 19th century British-Russian rivalry in the Central Asia. It is just as exciting and full of intrigue as any work of fiction.
  • Your last music download? The latest addition to my Spotify playlist was “Hotline Bling” by Drake.
  • If I granted you one wish to change the world what would it be?  I’d wish for every single person to live in a culture other than his or her own for a while. I think it would go a long way toward breaking down the barriers between us.

Kim-Climbing     Kim-Kilimanjaro

Alumni Spotlight – Chris Marok

Chris is the owner of Allstate Insurance, Chris Marok Agency. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2010 and an MBA in 2012.

Chris Marok_fishWhy did you choose to attend UAF?
There were many factors, but one of the biggest was the ability to stay in my hometown, close to family and friends. I was also able to continue enjoying the outdoor activities unique to Alaska while working on my degree. Both my parents were teachers and emphasized the importance of a good education. I knew UAF was a great school and provided the perfect setting for both my personal and educational interests.

Share with us an outstanding teacher or class.
It’s hard to pick just one, but Business Law with John Burns stands out. The course was extremely challenging and very stimulating; it really pushed me to want to better myself. I have found that much of what I learned in that course is relevant to the insurance industry and has made me a better agent.

What is a favorite SOM memory?
While in the MBA program, I was a teaching assistant and worked directly for Dr. Ping Lan on many projects, the biggest of which was the Arctic Innovation Competition. However, another project Dr. Lan assigned to me directly was to help create a video series for a new leadership course he was developing. During the 2011 spring semester, he tasked me with scheduling interviews with nine leaders in nine different major industries here in Alaska. I met with each of them one on one, asked them all the same questions, and then edited the recorded interviews into a video series. It was an awesome experience sitting down with the various CEOs, presidents, directors, and other heads of organizations throughout Alaska, and listening to the advice and stories from these men and women. The one bit of advice every single one of them mentioned was how important clear communication is to the health of their organizations – which is advice I still use every day.

How did SOM prepare you for your professional career?
The best preparation I got from SOM was my time working as the President of the 2011 Arctic Innovation Competition. It was the culmination of everything learned in the classroom and putting that information to use in the real world. I led a team, met deadlines, maintained a budget, and accomplished all the goals necessary to put on a successful national event. That experience helped me grow as a leader and translates to all the things I do on a daily basis in my own business.

What does being an alumnus mean to you?
For me, being a UAF alumnus means I am a part of something huge – a gigantic family with ties all over the world. It brings me closer to the City of Fairbanks and the great people here in the Golden Heart of Alaska. I love telling people from the Lower 48 that I am a Nanook, and watching the look of confusion take hold.

What keeps you enthusiastic about your career?
The constant ability to learn and grow. With the changing needs of my clients, corporate policies, and industry regulations, I am constantly driven to learn new things; otherwise I’ll get left behind. I get asked something new almost every day, which helps keep things interesting. I would go crazy in a monotonous career with no change or variety to the everyday routine. I feel blessed to have a career that keeps me stimulated and pushes me to continuously better myself and those around me.

What’s the number one skill or practice that has contributed to your success?
Being able to visualize a completed goal, no matter how big or small, and formulate the necessary steps to get there. When it comes to the goals, setting expectations to stay the course – no matter the obstacles that may arise, and hopefully the carrot at the end of the stick – will be worth it in the end.

What advice would you give to current students?
Ask questions. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for clarification or further information. Knowledge is power and questions keep the lines of communication open to gain more knowledge. I tell everyone in my office the old cliché, “there is no such thing as a dumb question” all the time. As long as they are asking me questions, it means they are learning and growing. They all know they can ask me any question at any time.


  • Favorite breakfast food?  Toss-up between French Toast or a Philly Cheesesteak omelet.
  • Dream Vacation Destination?  Australia and New Zealand
  • What book are you reading?  Re-reading “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything,” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.
  • Go to music streaming channel?  The Black Keys Radio on Pandora.

Donor Spotlight – Judi Slajer

Judi-Slajer-cropAfter making a career in local government, Judi Slajer, at the age of 39, enrolled at UAF to finish her degree. Her eldest daughter, Veronica, had graduated from high school, and her youngest daughter, Francie, was entering middle school. Judi and her daughters packed their bags and headed to Fairbanks. Judi and Veronica both attended UAF and even lived on the same floor in Bartlett Hall at one point. Veronica returned to UAF in 2013 for her M.A. in rural development.

The big move and the pursuit of a degree came after 18 years of residency in Ketchikan and employment with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. Judi moved to Ketchikan in 1962 and became the borough’s first employee, working as municipal clerk and then as borough manager. Judi was the first woman to hold a borough manager position in Alaska. She says it was the best job she ever had.

Just before graduating, Judi left two months early to accept a job at the Municipality of Anchorage as a budget director, and worked for Mayor Tony Knowles for the next four years. She finally received her diploma that summer of 1982.

Judi met her husband, Tom Rosadiuk, at a Gold Kings hockey game in Fairbanks. Tom (UAF ‘59, College of Engineering) founded a Fairbanks engineering/surveying firm, which he grew to become PDC Inc. Engineers, with offices in Fairbanks and Anchorage. Judi moved back to Fairbanks to join Tom and develop and teach governance courses in rural Alaska for the UAA’s extension program. After a spring and summer of teaching, she accepted the chief financial officer position at Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Judi and Tom both retired in 1997 and took off on a road trip that fall. When Judi’s replacement at the borough did not work out, Mayor Sampson called and asked her to come back to work. After another nine months on the job, Judi’s successor was hired.

While Judi and Tom thought that they could relax in retirement and enjoy their travels, more challenges lay ahead. Returning from a trip to New Zealand and Australia in 2000, Judi found a registered letter waiting for her from her doctor. The letter said that her mammogram results were alarming and that she needed to consult with a surgeon. Within three days, she was diagnosed with cancer and made arrangements for surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Judi continued her treatment in Fairbanks and Palm Springs, California.

With only one grown child now living in Alaska, Judi and Tom decided in 2002 to make parallel moves, one by purchasing a winter home in La Conner, Washington and the other to make a rural lot on an island 25 miles southwest of Ketchikan their permanent residence. Developing the remote lot as a residence has been a major project. Judi and Tom purchased a historic float house—built sometime between 1928 and 1938—for the property. Tom has spent years improving the house and adding outbuildings, including a greenhouse, as well as water, sewer, and electrical generating systems, a ramp, and a 40-foot dock.

Dora Bay - from water

Always grateful for her second chance at higher education, Judi has contributed to UAF for years through donations to the School of Management and through her membership in the American Association of University Women. She and Tom also invest money into 529 College Savings Plans for all of her and Tom’s eight grandchildren. Maintaining her connection with UAF, Judi said that education plays a large role in determining how she and Tom approach life and all of its challenges.

For the immediate future, Judi and Tom will maintain their Alaska residency, travel to their south Kona fruit and macadamia nut farm in Hawaii, and monitor their health. Judi also looks forward to spending more time with her children, grandchildren, and friends, enjoying them as much as possible. She stays busy volunteering for several community committees, after spending nine years on the board of directors. She tries not to worry about the future, and just enjoys the adventures that life brings!