UAF BLaST Celebrates Graduates in May 2018

Share this posting on social media!

Contact Info:

By Amy Topkok

Christina Kk’odohdaatlno Edwin (l) with College of Rural & Community Development (CRCD) Vice Chancellor Evon Peter, (r) at the UAF Commencement on May 5, 2018.

Second year Scholar Christina Kk’odohdaatlno Edwin, cum laude, graduated with a B.A. in rural development and a minor in Yup’ik (Alaska Native) language. She was also recognized as the Scientist of the Month for May 2018, with her project, “Tl’eyegge Baabeee’ in the village of Koyukuk: Reclaiming identity through Food Knowledge Sharing and Doing,” which focuses on the different natural subsisted food benefits utilized by the Native and rural people of Koyukuk, her Alaskan village.



Scholar Diloola Aanh Erickson with her partner and daughter at the UAF Commencement on May 5, 2018. Families of scholars support their graduates throughout the year.

Erickson graduated with a double degree in rural development (B.A.) and in mechanical engineering (B.S.). Her research, “Building sensors to assess ocean acidification of nearshore environments,” focused on the need for more pC02 sensors in Alaskan waters to obtain accurate pC02 level estimates. She aimed to build an experimental sensor, which she will calibrate and test in the lab with her mentor, Amanda Kelley (UAF faculty).



KaCee Llewelyn at the UAF Commencement on May 5, 2018.

Scholar KaCee Llewelyn, magna cum laude and Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society member, graduated with a B.S. in siomedical Sciences. Llewelyn’s research, “Assessing the physical and interactive anatomy and physiology model enhances and enriches student learning,” focused on a teaching model that utilizes multiple styles and forms of learning, and it was tested in classrooms with educators to see if it increased awareness and comprehension of the muscular and skeletal systems.



Viktorija Podlutskaya (m), with parents Natalia Podlutskaya (l), and Andrej Podlutsky (r) at the UAF Commencement on May 5, 2018.

Second year BLaST Scholar Viktorija Podlutskaya graduated with a B.S. in biological sciences with a focus in cell and molecular biology. Podlutskaya has been working in research labs at UAF, assisting on various projects related to cell and molecular biology. Results from one project studying DNA damage and repair in patients recovering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma were recently published. Her primary research project, entitled “DNA Repair in Virally Infected Cells,” has led to Podlutskaya developing an interest in viruses and their relation to cancer, and she hopes to continue research in cellular molecular biology and pathology.

Other Graduates include:

BLaST Scholars

Adam Paskavan (past Scholar): B.S., chemistry, cum laude

Mark A. Velasco (also a past URE awardee): B.S., biological sciences, magna cum laude and University of Alaska Honors Scholar

Katrina J. Watson (past Scholar): B.A., allied health sciences and interdisciplinary studies, Golden Key Honor Society member.

BLaST Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) awardees

Rachel Alexander: B.S., biological sciences

Richard Chen: B.S., mechanical engineering, magna cum laude

Kennedy Demboski: B.S., biological sciences, cum laude

Hannah Gerrish: B.S., biological sciences, magna cum laude (University Honors Scholar)

Brianna Gilmore (past): B.S., chemistry: biochemistry

Tracie Haan: B.S., biological sciences, cum laude

Sarah Hartman (past): B.S., biological sciences, cum laude (University Honors Scholar, Golden Key Society)

Kiana Mitchell (past): B.S., chemistry: biochemistry (University Honors Scholar)

Diane Murph (past): B.S., civil engineering

McKenzie Mucha (Sweeney) (past, graduated fall 2017): B.S., behavioral neuroscience: interdisciplinary studies

Alexander Thompson (past, graduated fall 2017): B.S., chemistry: biochemistry

Krysta Yancey (past): M.S., biological sciences


Graduate Research Mentoring Assistant (GMRA)


BLaST Principal Investigator Arleigh Reynolds (l) posing with Scott Jerome (r) on May 5, 2018.

Congratulations to third-year Graduate Mentoring Research Assistant (GMRA) Scott Jerome on receiving his Ph.D. in biochemistry and neuroscience.

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.
Need Assistance? Please contact our support team: .