Bridging Cultures

Phyllis Morrow

My Summer Sessions series continues with former University of Alaska Fairbanks Dean Phyllis Morrow. Phyllis is a cultural anthropologist who has spent a good part of her career helping one culture understand and fruitfully work with another, not just between Alaska Native communities and the dominant culture, but between various groups and the legal profession. She and her husband Chase have a consulting business.

But in retirement, Phyllis also donates time to help lead a women’s writing group in Fairbanks Correction Center. It is a program started by one of my earlier guests Sarah Stanley. If that were not enough, Phyllis just finished performing with the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre Company in Macbeth and she is part of a Klezmer band Almost a Minyan.

Also on the show, Chris Lott on Katexic Clippings looks at the “3-Ds” currently haunting Alaska’s political landscape.


Music by Jukedeck

Building Enduring Roads


Like several of the guests of this Summer Sessions series, Doug Goering has a multifaceted connection to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Doug’s father taught marine sciences here and Doug attended UAF as an undergraduate before receiving two bachelors of science degrees from the University of Washington, one in mechanical engineering the other in physics. While an undergraduate at UAF he also worked as a research and administrative assistant.

Doug returned to UAF for his master’s in mechanical engineering focusing on Arctic heat transfer; before earning a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Doug also worked here as a research and teaching assistant.

In a remarkably long career, Doug taught here as Assistant, Associate and Full professor and served as interim and full dean of the College of Engineering and Mines from 2006, until this year, when he retired.

And reviewer Frank Soos looks at Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. The book celebrates its centennial this year.


Music by Jukedeck

Creating and Cultivating

Frank Portrait

Frank Soos ©Kesler Woodward

My “Down Memory Lane” series continues with a friend, mentor and splendid writer Frank Soos. Frank was not only the guy I tapped to be my first guest on Northern Soundings, but regular listeners will know he frequently contributes book reviews here. This episode’s title refers to Frank’s abilities to not only write gracefully and compellingly about the human condition, but also to his hard work in forming new generations of writers. It was a joy to talk with him about his background and influences.

And Chris Lott on Katexic Clippings examines the word exegincy, a term seeing a usage uptick since the University of Alaska Board of Regents just declared financial exigency.


Music by Jukedeck

Putting Students First

Pete Pinney

Pete Pinney

My UAF Summer Sessions series continues with Pete Pinney. Pete has a long and multi-faceted history with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The school awarded him an MFA in Creative Writing in 1988. He taught English for years, becoming a full professor in 2005.

He received the Emil Usibelli Distinguished Service Award in 2006 and the KUAC/Alaska One volunteer of the year award in 2001.

His administrative service includes stints as Associate Vice Chancellor of Rural, Community and Native Education as well as Dean of the College of Community and Rural Development from 2014-2017. Other service saw him acting as Interim Vice Provost of Outreach/Director of UAF Cooperative Extension Service.

He remains fully engaged within the community as well, serving as PFLAG’s treasure for more than 15 years. He is currently Executive Director of the North Star Community Foundation.

And Chris Lott is back with another Katexic Clippings.


Music by Jukedeck.


Speaking Out of Mystery

Larry Kaplan

My guest this week is a linguist and champion for the preservation of Alaska Native languages. In fact, Dr Lawrence D. Kaplan is concerned about the loss of all indigenous tongues. Larry is the former director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Native Language Center. But as you’ll hear in this interview, he admits the ability to learn and speak a language is mysterious. Our conversation is part of my UAF Summer Sessions series, Down Memory Lane.

Also, this week Katexic Clippings Chris Lott, a former student of Larry’s, examines the word “linguist.”


Music by

From the Small, Great Things

Joan Braddock

Dr Joan Braddock

I continue my University of Alaska Fairbanks Summer Sessions series of conversations with microbiologist and oceanographer Dr Joan Braddock. She spent years examining the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Much of that research looked at bioremediation. But she also played an important role in leadership at UAF. And she is one of the school’s few academics or administrators who also attended the school for undergraduate and graduate work.


Music by Jukedeck


Art, Science and Animals

Aldona Jonaitis and Finnegan

Aldona Jonaitis and Finnegan

Every year UAF’s Summer Sessions puts on a wide range of free events for the public, including concerts and talks. By luck, I have an opportunity to play a small part in the programs, by talking with interesting people about their lives and passions.  Every Monday night in a series called “Down Memory Lane” I speak with retired faculty who helped give shape to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  This summer I’m recording those conversations and presenting them in a special weekly series of Northern Soundings.

Last week I spoke with Dr Aldona Jonaitis. As Director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, she brought vision, energy and entrepreneurial skills to bear for over twenty years. She helmed a multi-million-dollar expansion of the museum and transformed the skyline of the University. And her annual chocolate fundraising events were the talk and envy of the community. I began my conversation by asking whether she recalls the first time she was struck by beauty.

And Chris Lott is in with another Katexic Clippings.


Music by Jukedeck

A Provocative Quietist


On the show this week: Rev. Dr Nancy James is an Episcopal priest who serves as chaplain at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. She’s also a scholar and author specializing in the 17th-century mystic Madame Jeanne Guyon. James says while Guyon is not well known today, in the late 17th and early 18th centuries she was popular and drew an international readership. Guyon’s independence and writings on interior prayer also attracted the ire of Roman Catholic prelates and King Louis XIV. As a result, Guyon was imprisoned in the Bastille and branded an enemy of the state. While she was eventually cleared of charges,  Guyon’s works remain on the Vatican’s Index of Prohibited Books.

Also on the show, KUAC reviewer and author Frank Soos is in with a look at David Quammen’s latest work The Tangled Tree.

The Metal Woodwind


On this week’s show, I talk with Dorli McWayne, a faculty member of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Music Department, principle flutist for the Fairbanks Symphony and Arctic Chamber Orchestras, and founder and director of the Fairbanks Flutists. She explains the history of her instrument and the range of compositions her ensemble performs. The Fairbanks Flutists are giving a performance this Saturday at 8 PM at the Davis Concert Hall.

I chat with UAF mathematics professor and KUAC’s Math-Guy John Gimbel about geometry’s influence on political thinkers and some of the founders of our nation.

And Chris Lott is in with another episode of Katexic Clippings.

An Examined Life

courtesy of Paul Krejci

Rudy and Paul Krejci.

Seventy years ago, almost exactly to this day, secret police spotted a young Czech publically distributing anti-communist pamphlets in his country. As a result, Rudy Krejci was forced into hiding for five years and into a daring escape to Austria.

On this Northern Soundings we pay tribute to Rudy who earned a doctorate in philosophy and eventually became a leading champion of free speech and thought at the Unversity of Alaska Fairbanks. Rudy passed away last December and a celebration of his life is planned for this Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Dog Mushers’ Hall in Fairbanks.

I had the priviledge of interviewing him two years ago for UAF Summer Sessions. Part of today’s show is taken from that discussion. He is also the subject of a wonderful short documentary by the author Dan O’Neill.

In this show, I also talk with Rudy’s son Dr. Paul Krejci, who teaches at UAF. Paul is a gifted musician who contributed piano renditions by Czech composers for the O’Neill documentary. My thanks to Paul for permission to use those pieces for this Northern Soundings.