AM 890 and Serving the Kenai Peninsula
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Annual Western Alaska science conference to be held in Dillingham April 5 - 6

Avery Lill
UAF's Bristol Bay campus.

The Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference will take place in person for the first time in three years.

It will be hosted on April 5 - 6 by the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Sea Grant at the Bristol Bay campus in Dillingham, and organizers want to get local residents involved.

The two-day conference is focused on "reuniting through shared science, arts and humanities." It will feature short presentations on topics in five areas: Climate change and environment; natural sciences; sustainable energy; education in rural Alaska; or joining arts, sciences and humanities through togetherness.

People can submit proposals to present at the conference now, and Bristol Bay residents can also receive funding to travel to Dillingham to attend in person. Abstracts are due by March 1, and presenters have to register for the conference by March 22.

For more details, KDLG's Izzy Ross caught up with the UAF Bristol Bay Campus's Alaska Sea Grant Program agent, Tav Ammu.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Tav Ammu: Alaska Sea Grant is a partnership with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and NOAA. We try to help out coastal communities around the state and I'm located in Bristol Bay. We did a welding class last week and we're excited about the WAISC — Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference — that will be held April 5 and 6 here in Dillingham, and we're trying to get a lot of involvement from Bristol Bay residents.

We're excited to announce that registration will start [Feb. 20]. For Bristol Bay residents and students, it will be free to register and attend. If you want to have catered lunches, those will cost extra, but attendance, banquet, social event will all be free.

Click here to submit a short proposal to present at WAISC

Izzy Ross: For local people who do want to attend the conference but don't live in Dillingham, what are the opportunities to do that?

Ammu: Yeah, it's actually a great opportunity. We have some travel funding available, scholarships for people who are Bristol Bay residents but are not in Dillingham and want to attend. So there's several scholarships available and we'll have them posted on the website and on the WAISC Facebook page. But just to name a couple, the Alaska Space Grant travel scholarship not only will include travel, but you can also earn college credit if you attend; one credit to attend and two credits if you present.

Click here for travel funding opportunities

Ross: What does the conference structure look like? What can people expect?

Ammu: There will be five different session topics, and each presentation only has 15 to 20 minutes. So people have to present on climate change and environment, natural sciences, sustainable energy, education in rural Alaska, or joining arts, sciences and humanities through togetherness, but they are limited to 20 minutes. So they have to condense it down and be to the point and succinct.

Ross: For people who are interested in presenting but maybe have not participated in a conference like this before, or are curious about what that would look like but aren't sure if the idea they have would fit into WAISC, who can they contact?

Ammu: Contact Eric Goddard at UAF via email or phone. And we are open for abstracts. So if you want to submit a little bio of yourself and a little summary of what you want to talk about, we are available for that. If you go to the WAISC website, they also have a list of previous conferences and some of the presentations that were done on those if you want to see examples of what was covered in previous ones, just to get an idea of it.

For more on WAISC, contact Eric Goddard at or call 907-842-5109

Ross: Is there a virtual option to attend and listen to the presentations?

Ammu: There is, yes. We are trying to get all the presenters in person, but attendees will have the option to have Zoom sessions. So we'll have constantly running Zoom options and you can sign in for specific presentations, all the presentations, however you want.

Ross: When are we going to know who's presenting?

Ammu: The end of the first call for abstracts is March 1. So we're hoping to have a good number of presenters by then, but we probably won't have the finalized lineup until the end of March.

Ross: Really looking forward to the Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference, WAISC. It's in Dillingham this year and in person. Very exciting. Thanks Tav.

Ammu: Thank you, Izzy.

Get in touch with the author at or 907-842-2200.

Izzy Ross is the news director at KDLG, the NPR member station in Dillingham. She reports, edits, and hosts stories from around the Bristol Bay region, and collaborates with other radio stations across the state.