Adventures in Interning!

Hello all!

This is an update from Sean Crawford, one of our amazing premed students!

“During my winter break in the fall of 2012 at University of Alaska Fairbanks I had the opportunity to go to New York City and intern at Beth Israel Hospital, ranked nationally for its cardiac surgery department and for the outstanding staff and medical professionals that work there. During my internship, I shadowed a doctors in the Operating Room and watching a variety of heart operations. At first, I didn’t think I could handle such a stressful and intense situation, but then I found out how easy-going everyone is in the OR. The community of medical professionals in the Cardiothoratic surgery department was very welcoming and light hearted. They listened to music during surgeries and carry conversation about family and other current events. I learned about the heart and how it operates within the human body. I also learned about the positions of each individual in the OR and why it is so essential to have a great team and community to really make a difference. I enjoyed the time I spent in the OR and feel that it really changed my opinion of surgeons. Doing the internship only intensified my passion for medicine and reassured me that there is nothing more in life I would like to do than to practice medicine for the rest of my life.”

Thanks Sean!

Interested in the premed route? Contact Donald Crocker in the Academic Advising Center at (907) 474-7806 or

Victoria Smith

Academic Advisor


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Hello all you amazing SSS students!

Victoria here, looking to catch you up on some of our recent activities! A lot has happened this past semester. First of all, I was hired! My name is Victoria Smith and I’m so excited to be a part of UAF’s Student Support Services team. I have been a participant in one TRiO program or another for the past decade, and I come to you from the wonderful UAF Office of Admissions and the Registrar! So I have a solid background both in the SSS program and in university navigation. Well that’s enough about me, now for some other updates!



As many of you know, our office has undergone quite a lot of construction throughout the last semester. The good news is that the worst is over! We have a newly remodeled computer lab, and our tutoring center is looking better than ever! Jen Bergstrom, our Math Coordinator, is joining us upstairs in an office that was created over break. We’re looking forward having the gang all together on one floor!





Ginny, our Director, is out of the office this semester on brand new baby duty (YAY!), so we’ve hired Charlie Parr as a temporary advisor in the office. Don’t be surprised if you see another new face around when you get back on campus for the Spring semester!


We recently put together a team of 5 SSS participants called the Student Advisory Council. Tristian Hall, Ben Hurlock, MeKayla Williams, Henry Tang and Fanta Lee-Sankoh have worked very hard this semester to give us feedback on the various different services we offer. In addition to this, they have also helped raise funds so that we could purchase a water cooler (which in the end was donated) and have fresh clean water delivered for all SSS students. Check out this beautiful beast!



Well that about sums up what I have for you this time. Until next time: “Keep your stick on the ice. And remember, I’m pullin’ for ya. We’re all in this together!” – The Red Green Show


Victoria Smith

Academic Advisor

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Hiking Angel Rocks

Megan Earle, student worker at SSS, wrote the following to entice you to join us on our Angel Rocks hike!

Picture from

If you are joining SSS for our Angel Rocks hike on August 24th, or still thinking about tagging along, here is some information about the hike!

The trail is located at milepost 48.9 on Chena Hot Springs Road and is a 3.5 mile loop with a 900 ft. elevation gain. While on the hike, you will get to see magnificent granite outcrops, also known as tors, which were formed millions of years ago as the result of molten rock being pushed upward and cooling before it reached the surface. The surrounding earth has slowly eroded which has exposed the harder rock pinnacles. While on this hike you may also encounter many different varieties of plants. Near the first part of the trail, you may see broomrape and witches-brooms, while purple and yellow violets may be found along the stream. The steep south-facing slopes are the home to sage, poppies, arnica, and dogbone while the north-facing slopes produce moss campion, saxifrage, and bunchberries as they thrive in the cool, damp environment. These are the remnants of vegetation that covered Alaska’s interior during the Pleistocene era 10,000-20,000 years ago.

During this hike, there are some things to be wary of. The trail may be steep and rocky so be sure to wear appropriate footwear and dress appropriately as the weather may change quickly. Make sure to bring plenty of water and insect repellant. It is appreciated if you stay on the trail as to not erode other areas of the park and it is asked that you not pick any plants other than berries, mushrooms, or similar edibles for personal use. Please also be aware that there may be traps and bait located near trails. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact SSS staff. Remember, we will not be able to make the trip unless we have 10 students sign up!

Information for this blog came from:

A map of the hike is located at this site as well.

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Hi! Sarah here. We had another fun event a couple of weeks ago when students and staff joined me at my home to enjoy some outdoor games and a BBQ. It was a fun time with ladder golf and disc throwing. I thought both of these games would be fairly easy to play, but it took some skill and technique to get them figured out. The students who participated seemed to understand the rules better than me, because they did well at both games. We enjoyed some hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, chips, and watermelon. The weather held long enough for us to play a few rounds and then we headed inside where we were entertained by my dogs, Lucy and Smokey, who thought everyone was present to entertain them! Thank you to the students who participated and we look forward to having a great turn out for a hike up Angel Rocks on Friday, August 24,from 10-5. If you haven’t signed up to join us, please see Jessica or Megan at the front desk and get signed up!

Ladder Golf

Students enjoying a game of ladder golf in Sarah’s backyard.

Sarah and Nick playing Ladder Golf.

Students attempting washers. This game is tougher than it looks.

Ginny playing washers.

On another note:

Besides taking classes or a BBQ here or there, what about this summer have you enjoyed the most? For me, it has been enjoying this great state we live in, including an exciting trip down the Denali highway where I saw glaciers and not my first grizzly bear, but my first THREE grizzly bears! We were camping off the Denali highway when my dog, Smokey, became quite alert. It was at that point that we noticed he had taken great interest in three grizzly bears climbing up a hill about 200 yards away from our camp. Luckily, he just stared at them, probably knowing on some level, that he should not draw attention to himself. I was not too thrilled to see them so close, but we stayed the night and everyone was safe and sound. My dad, who was visiting from out of town, was pretty nervous about staying the night in a tent since this was also his first close bear sighting!

If you have a fun story, or just want to give an update on your summer, drop me a line @ and I will post it in our blog. I hope we get to enjoy some sun our remaining  few weeks of summer!


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SSS Joins the Blogging World!

Hello SSS at UAF,

For our very first post on the SSS blog, I (this is Sarah, by the way) would like to tell you about some of the activities that have happened so far this summer and what you have to look forward to in the remaining half of summer.

The most recent event that I am excited to report on is our participation in the Midnight Sun Run. We met a week or so before the race and chatted about different costume ideas for the run. For those of you who don’t know, the Midnight Sun Run is known for its goofy costumes and all around silliness. Unique to our abundance of sunlight here in Fairbanks, this run occurs at 10pm and is in celebration of the summer solstice. This year was the 30th anniversary of the race, but for most of the SSS participants, it was our first experience with this run. Click here to learn more about the history of the race. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but for me, it turned out to be a fun Fairbanks experience. It began with some Jazzercise and a costume contest. Click here to see one of my favorite costumes!  Although we did not dress up in over the top creative costumes, we did make matching t-shirts. I was able to gather almost all the SSS students who participated for a picture.

The t-shirts that we made together for the Midnight Sun Run

Midnight Sun Run

This is a picture of the back of our creative t-shirts. Mine includes the I heart TRiO! 🙂

Once the race started, we were caught up in the mass chaos. The Midnight Sun Run usually has around 3500 participants! Along the way, we had many supporters cheering us along. This support included some younger folks using hoses, squirt guns, and other devices to keep us cool along the way. The weather had been stormy, but cleared just in time to have sunshine for the run/walk. This was a great adventure that I hope we will be able to participate again next year.

The beginning of the race heading toward the round-about from the Patty Center.

We have other fun activities coming up this summer. Next on our agenda is the SSS BBQ and games on Friday, July 13 from 2-5 pm. Also, we will be hiking Angel Rocks on Friday, August 24 from 10-5. If you would like to participate in either of these activities or have questions, please contact Jessica or Megan @ 474-6844.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about our summer activities. Please stop by and see us. We are here from 8-5 Monday-Friday. Paul is tutoring Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and would be happy to help you with any questions or struggles you are having in your classes.

Finally, my hope is to not be the only contributor to our blog, so if you have something that you would like to share with our TRiO/SSS community, please let me know! Some ideas may include: how SSS has helped you in your college career, summer internship adventures, tips for new SSS participants, or any other idea that you think would be interesting and appropriate for SSS participants and others who are interested in our program.

Happy Summer!

Sarah Smith


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