U of A Student Receives National Geographic Grant

“I just want to go and take as many pictures as possible and talk to as many people as possible and record that,” the grant winner said.

Mary Alice Fancyboy will spend June 2017 researching the rual villages of Pilot Station, Marshall, and Kotlik, Alaska.

She says she wants to be able to illustrate the lives of the Yupik culture as close as possible to reality.

“The visuals are the most important part it’s really like a way to put somebody there who might not be able to go there,” she said.

Anthropology associate professor and department chair Justin Nolan said he thinks the project will bring new avenues of understanding cultures visually.

“Her work as a photographer will bring images to life in a way maybe wouldn’t be apparent otherwise,” Nolan said.

Nolan said he sees a change in student engagement from when the department began in 1925.

“I think we’re seeing a trend in students that are interested in learning about their own roots their own cultural identities their own origins and we’re seeing students interested in going back and retrace those steps,” he said.

Mary Alice Fancyboy said even though she is half Yupik and lived in pilot station for 5 years, this trip will be different.

She said this time she will be documenting her research for others to learn about the communities.

“People don’t realize how different it can be,” Fancyboy said.

To create accessibility for the public, she said she will use a digital platform to share her findings.

“Everybody is on it so you don’t have to go get a hard copy of social media,” she said.

Fancyboy will post her interviews and photos to the Instagram page at @m_explores.

Story by UATV Reporter Nanci Flores

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