Fall 2013 in Review: Outdoor Studies Master’s Theses and Senior Projects

This past December, Outdoor Studies undergraduate seniors and Master of Outdoor and Environmental Education students presented their senior projects and theses to the APU and Anchorage communities. Their hard work, professionalism, and perseverance shined during their 30 minutes in the spotlight.


Master’s Thesis Projects

The Master of Outdoor and Environmental Science had a record nine students defend and present their thesis projects:

  • Jennifer Stein created a digital reference guide for Alaska’s environmental educators, working with the Alaska Natural Resource and Outdoor Education Association. Check it out on the APU blog site:
  • Gil Carr reviewed the MSOEE program and made recommendations to the faculty and administration on how to strengthen and improve the program. Alex Wilson explored “What Women Want” in farm education. Marc Much developed, implemented, and evaluated an archery program for kids. Joseph Rogat did the same, creating an outing program for under-privileged youth with the National Park Service. Mat Brunton planned and tested a Chugach Mountain front range avalanche forecast program, leading to the start of the Anchorage Avalanche Center: http://www.anchorageavalanchecenter.org
  • Clif McIntosh created a Junior Wilderness First Aid program, known as the Junior Wolfers. The thesis project evaluated the JWFA curriculum and performed a subsequent knowledge retention review. Avril Weirs explored the future of agriculture in Alaska, and Brian Beaudry, a teacher in the Matanuska/Susitna School District, thesis title was “Outdoor Language Arts.”


Senior Presentations

“Physical Activity and Student Performance”

Tony Henke tested APU student fitness with standardized fitness tests. Along with the tests he encouraged participants to engage in new exercises and set personal fitness goals.

“Camp for Growth”

Geoff Box planned and built a camp north of Talkeetna for the Great Land Church and HOPE Worldwide. Besides hacking out a driveway, building 3 cabins, and clearing land for more buildings Geoff wrote an operations manual.

“Next Generation Search and Rescue Incident Management Computers, GIS, and the Incident Command System”

Seth Schumach worked with the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group to fund, plan and implement a state of the art computer search and rescue command center for Alaska.

“Avalanche Modeling for Bird Hill”

Rebekah King developed a mathematical model to predict release zones and run out lengths of avalanches along Alaska’s heavily travelled Seward Highway. She writes in her senior project report: “Avalanche path modeling is an important piece of understanding how avalanches work and where they will occur. Path modeling can be used to help determine how avalanches will affect infrastructure, by backcountry travelers looking to enter into avalanche terrain, and as a part of larger scale modeling. This project aims to model both the potential release areas and maximum run out distances of the Bird Hill corridor along the Seward Highway. Alaska Pacific University Graduate student Katreen Wilkstroem-Jones will use the results of the project for entrainment modeling of these avalanches paths.”


The faculty are proud of the great work done by our students and look forward to more outstanding work this semester.