A University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher’s dream of combining science and storytelling will come to fruition as a podcast May 7. Alaska Voices will feature 60 conversations with scientists, community members, leaders and students from across the state.
The podcast, which launches at 2 p.m. with a live online event, was years in the making. In 2016, Jessie Young-Robertson, then a researcher with the former UAF School of Natural Resources and Extension, shared her idea with colleague Bob Bolton, a hydrologist at the UAF International Arctic Research Center. As the project took shape, the pair recruited professional technical staff and a dozen volunteer facilitators.
The story-based project grew to include conversations on navigating an academic career, scientific field work, relationships, life and education in rural Alaska communities, climate change, women in science, and more.
“I’m excited for these stories to make it out into the public,” Young-Robertson said. “I’ve spoken with some interview volunteers as well, who can’t wait to hear their conversations on the podcast. People like to share their stories. We’re just glad we can amplify their voices.”
Each podcast began as a 30-minute to one-hour recorded conversation between two participants. These conversations were edited down to five- to 10-minute podcast episodes for release twice per week.
The Alaska Voices project grew out of a collaboration between the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center and StoryCorps. The AK CASC is housed at UAF’s International Arctic Research Center, while StoryCorps is a nonprofit that promotes storytelling nationwide. More than 60 long-form conversations were archived under the StoryCorps umbrella and in the Library of Congress.
Audio engineer Kelsey Skonberg made final audio edits for the podcast last week.
“It really feels like we’re in the home stretch now,” Bolton said. “A lot of work has gone into Alaska Voices. I’m starting to get really excited.”
Join the team for a YouTube live listening and launch party on May 7. Find Alaska Voices episodes on your favorite app, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or on the web at www.alaskavoices.org. Episodes will also be republished on the International Arctic Research Center’s YouTube channel.