Saturday, June 24. Arctic Ocean Excursion

Today, we went into the Arctic Ocean!  The Arctic Ocean is not accessible to the general public because the Prudhoe Bay oil fields are along the entire coast.  To access the Arctic Ocean, we must register for a tour (set up before we arrived in Deadhorse) — which requires giving basic information for a security check.

Multiple pipelines from different oil wells that lead to the main Trans-Alaska pipeline.

Multiple pipelines from different oil wells

We had a great tour of the oil fields.  Our tour guide, AJ, gave us a lot of information about the operations of the oil fields.  Although most of the oil wells are owned by two companies, BP and Conoco-Phillips, there are many international companies present for support and/or exploration. AJ had a lot of information about the Prudhoe Bay oil fields, and about Alaska more generally.

Then we arrived at the Arctic Ocean!  All of us went in the water — it was COLD!

The Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean

Students at the Arctic Ocean.

Students at the Arctic Ocean.

After our trip to the Arctic Ocean, we had some time for showering (and warming up) before lunch.  After lunch, we took a trip to the general store. It was a fun trip. The store had a mixture of souvenirs and basic necessities.

The afternoon was spent working on assignments, talking with people around the hotel as a part of their place-as-text assignment, and resting. We had some free time during the evening so that the students would be ready to drive south on the Dalton Highway on Sunday.

While the students were resting, we had to replace a tire on the large van.  We heard many stories that flat tires are not uncommon on the Dalton Highway.  We were lucky that we did not have a flat tire while driving to Prudhoe Bay, but one tire did develop a leak and could not be repaired; so we had to replace it.

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Friday, June 23. 140 miles from Galbraith Lake to Deadhorse.

After packing camp, we took a walk toward Galbraith Lake. We spent time on the snow and had a great time.  Galbraith Lake campground is another wonderful place to spend time.  We spent time with one gentleman that works nearby at pump station number 4 and spends much of his time in the Galbraith Lake area. He was very enthusiastic and passionate about spending time here (at Galbraith Lake).


Ice crystals

Ice crystals


Hike at Galbraith Lake Campground

Today’s trip had fewer stops.  The region north of Galbraith Lake is arctic tundra and has very few stops.  There was several places where the road was under construction, and we were required to wait on the pilot car. This could take up to 20 minutes of waiting.  During this time, there may only be two vehicles (our two vehicles) in line. Once there were four vehicles after about 15 minutes of waiting. That gives some sense of the isolation of our trip. Although we only traveled about 140 miles, it took much of the day.

We saw our first Musk Ox, and then a herd of musk ox!

Musk Ox

Musk Ox

Musk Ox herd

Musk Ox herd

We stopped for lunch out of the coolers at Happy Valley. There is a busy ‘air strip’ during the summer, but no planes landed while we were eating lunch.

Sagavanirktok River ("Sag River") at Happy Valley

Sagavanirktok River (“Sag River”) at Happy Valley

After lunch, we saw the first caribou!  And later we saw more caribou closer.





And just before Deadhorse, we saw a grizzly bear (thanks Casey!). It was raining on this stretch of road, but the bear was fairly close — for wildlife. That really is a bear — and it looked much better through binoculars.

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear

We arrived in Deadhorse about 4:00 pm.  We checked in to the Prudhoe Bay hotel and had time for a shower before dinner.  We had been about three days without showers, and had been eating out of the coolers (bagels, sandwiches, and cookouts for dinner) since we left Fairbanks.  We were all ready for a good meal.

The hotels in Deadhorse are simple. Most operate similar to the dorms — two single beds in a room, with a large bathroom down the hall.  Our hotel had four “halls”: three were designated for males, and one was for females.  One great feature is that the hotel has ‘free’ food available for guests 24 hours each day.  The meals are served at designated times, but at any other time, one can go in and get sandwiches, desserts, and other items. The students enjoyed this particular perk of the stay.

Deadhorse is an industrial town in the Alaska tundra of Alaska. It was built to support the workers at the Prudhoe Bay oil fields. All of the structures are prefabricated, built from materials trucked up the Dalton Highway or brought by barge.  Deadhorse has a very industrial feel. There is only one general store in the whole town.  There are many international companies that help support the oil operations.

Prudhoe Bay, near the Prudhoe Bay Hotel

Prudhoe Bay, near the Prudhoe Bay Hotel

There are about 2,000 people living in Deadhorse, but only a few dozen permanent residents.  The other people are oil workers. A common work schedule is to work about 2 weeks  ( or 4 weeks) in Prudhoe Bay and then go back home for 2 weeks.  During the time in Prudhoe Bay, they work 7 days each week, generally 12 hour days.

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Senior Letter

I don’t have goals specifically lined out for the future, but I have marketable skills and a broad idea of what I want in life.

I am not rich, I do not have familial connections to great companies, I do not have developed plans (or funds) for grad school.

I do have some realizations. I do have some interests in using these marketable skills for nonprofit organizations. I do have sympathy for the homeless, the hungry, and the sick. Combine that all and you get where we are today.

What I do have is I know what I want to do (sort of); I want to stop living my life for the approval of others. I want to stop living my life to fit someone else’s criteria.

I am sorry I can’t do better than this, but truly, I want to be free from this madness I’ve gotten myself into. How absurd it is of me to attempt to live my life for others, when I can live for me.

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Living off the grid

Alaska. Yes you heard it, I went to America’s largest and wildest state. I had a chance to join many on the LU@YNP trip, but I did the LU@TAC instead. We drove from Fairbanks, up above the Arctic Circle, to Prudhoe Bay.

Through this experience, I saw the great length of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which ran all over the landscape. The pipeline had pros and cons, economics vs. the environment, but I was glad we got the chance to see the real story.

The pipeline was great for the economy; there were many construction and maintenance jobs as we drove to Alaska’s oil field.

This reminded me of my world literature class. We read about a college student in Japan dealing with his best friend’s suicide while he tries to discover who he is. I felt somewhat like him in this place, I felt like an awkward part of a world that didn’t understand me, and I didn’t understand it.

However, through my Spanish class, I learned a bit of how people live their lives in many different places. They may eat differently, celebrate different things, wear different clothes, and laugh at different jokes.

But they’re all just trying to make it at the end of the day.

Living off the internet and cell phone grid to me seems a bit outlandish, but perhaps it’s not. Perhaps there is much I have to learn from people who see nothing but the world in front of them, rather than the whole they choose to see in the palm of their hands.

I’m not going to completely criticize phone usage because it allows us to stay connected at a distance, but sometimes it’s nice to see where we’re planted.

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Thursday, June 22. 159 miles from the Arctic Circle to Galbraith Lake Campground

After spending the summer solstice at the Arctic Circle, we packed camp and headed north on the Dalton Highway for another busy day.

The first stop was at Gobbler’s Knob.  We took a hike up to the top of Gobbler’s Knob.  The views were spectacular.


Students hiking up Gobbler’s Knob


View from the top of Gobbler’s Knob

The second stop was at Coldfoot. Coldfoot is a very small place. We visited the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center.  This is a wonderful, friendly, and educational place.  The rangers were very nice to our group and were happy to answer the many questions we had.  We were able to refill our water vessels and eat lunch there.


Inside the Arctic Interagency Visitors Center

Continuing north, we stopped at Wiseman. This is another very small community with only 20 residents (and only 3 residents during the winter) on the bank of the Koyukuk River.  We spent time talking with Clutch about the area.  Clutch was so nice, and he gave us a lot of information — about bears, hunting, and gold mining. Clutch also gave us a lesson in how to pan for gold and some of us spent time practicing (alas, no major find was made).


Wiseman, Alaska

The next stop was at the Middle Fork Koyukuk River turnout. This was a beautiful stop next to the river with great views of Sukakpak Mountain.


Students at Koyukuk River, with Sukakpak Mountain in the background

As we continued the travels north, the views are amazing. We saw a panorama of Dietrich River valley and the Brooks Range north and west.  During this travel segment, we pass the last spruce trees of the trip north and enter the arctic tundra (“treeless uplands”).

Continuing north, we stopped at Atigun Pass Summit. This is the Continental Divide.  Rivers to the north empty into the Arctic Ocean, while rivers to the south empty into the Bering Sea. This is the crossing of the Brooks Range. This is the highest highway pass in Alaska.


View from Atigun Pass Summit

Today’s drive was incredible.  The vast expanse of Alaska was on display for most of the day.  It is very hard to describe the beauty of the place.  There are no man-made structures in view, except for the road and the pipeline (at times) and occasionally a pump station (there are six pump stations along the Dalton Highway.  As we drove north today, we passed by the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to the East and the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve to the West.

Finally we made it to the campground at Galbraith Lake.  The campground is about four miles off the Dalton Highway, although it is still visible in the distance.  The campsite was rustic, similar to the one at the Arctic Circle; but it did have a pit toilet.  We had a nice hot dog cookout for the evening meal, along with S’Mores for dessert.


Camp site with fire.

We ended the day with a meeting to debrief about the day’s adventures and visitations, and a personal reflection in the solitude the Alaska. What a great day in Alaska!

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Publish and Flourish–Writers’ Workshop

1 Save the date notice for LU only 7-27

TO RSVP, click here or go to this Google Form:

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Publish and Flourish: A Writers’ Workshop

1 Save the date notice for LU only 7-27

Click here to RSVP, or go to

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3rd Annual Graduate Research Symposium

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Longwood’s 3rd annual graduate research symposium was held on campus in the Greenwood Library during the afternoon of Wednesday April 26, 2017. April 26th was marked in the academic calendar as campus wide research day and all classes were cancelled so both the undergraduate and graduate research symposiums could be held. Presentations of research were held from 1:00-5:45 pm followed by a reception and awards. Four graduates students representing both the counselor education and reading, literacy, and learning (RLL) programs presented 20-30 minute education sessions during the first presentation slot. After the four presentations were concluded, the students joined together for a Q and A panel from the audience. During the poster session, 16 presenters shared their research and represented the school librarianship, communications sciences and disorders (CSD), special education (SPED), and RLL programs. The final session mimicked the first presentation and Q and A session. In the later session, however, there were two separate sessions running concurrently, each with 3 presentations each. RLL and English Literature were represented by the student researchers in the later session.

During the reception, winners from each session were announced. Dona O’Dell and Elena Faulkner (RLL) won the first session with their presentation entitled Unlocking Reading Motivation: Fostering Reading Engagement through Self-Efficacy and Collaboration. The poster session had two winners, one award for a poster presented in person and another award for a distance-poster. The distance posters were a new feature to this year’s symposium. Students who could not be here were able to record a video explaining their research that could be accessed by a qr code or online at the Digital Commons. The first award winning poster was Knowledge of Vocal Hygiene and Vocal Abuse in Longwood Education Majors by Anna Powers, Lauren McGonagle, Stephanie Fields, and Hunter Reese (CSD). The second poster winning poster was Relationship Among Speaking Fundamental Frequency, Vocal Part, and Vocal Range by Allison Nutting, Corrie Honaker, Jessica Lanehart, Sally Wilson (CSD). One winner from each of the final sessions was also announced. Christina Kline won her session with her presentation on Professional Development: The Key to Better Instruction and Achievement of English Learners (RLL). The final award was won by Susan Hinshaw and Heather Street with a presentation entitled “Gotta catch ’em all”: Selecting Instructional Approaches and Programs to Meet the Specific Reading Needs of Struggling Middle Schoolers (RLL). All of the winners and supervising faculty are shown in the picture above.

The symposium was organized by The College of Graduate & Professional Studies and the graduate council research symposium committee: Dr. Karla Collins, Dr. Jeannine Perry, Tammy Hines, Dr. Wendy Snow, Dr. Aftab Khan, Dr. Kellyn Hall, Brooke Greenbank, and Brittany Bishop. The 4th annual research symposium will be held in the spring 2018 semester.

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Dr. Elif Guler presents at the Rhetoric Society of Europe

Dr. Elif Guler, Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Professional Writing and Rhetoric at Longwood, has recently presented her study, “What Yusuf Has Hacib’s Kutadgu Bilig [Wisdom That Brings Happiness] Can Teach Us About Using Language for Unity,” at the 2017 Rhetoric Society of Europe Conference held at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK (July 3-5).

Researched in collaboration with Longwood English/Professional Writing student Chris Crider (, Dr. Guler’s study focuses on the ways in which Yusuf Has Hacib’s Kutadgu Bilig, an 11th-century Turkish text, treats rhetoric as a means to reach happiness and the implications of this approach for harmony and unity within a society. Written for the Prince of Kashgar of the Karanhaid Empire using the old Uyghur alphabet, Kutadgu Bilig [translated roughly as Wisdom that Brings Happiness] is a didactic work in the masnawi style. This extensive allegorical poem deems the appropriate use of language essential to living a fulfilled life—both individually and as a society. Dr. Guler’s presentation explored what Kutadgu Bilig could teach us about alternative definitions and purposes of rhetoric (i.e., communicating to attain happiness) as well as this historical text’s teachings about principles of an effective rhetoric applicable to contemporary global contexts.

The study is part of Dr. Guler’s ongoing research on the Turkish rhetorical tradition, part of which she conducted in the Turkish and Ottoman archival holdings of The British Library during the summer of 2017.

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Leadership Philosophy

Being a leader in the realm of education, means not only being a role model for teachers and students, but also a catalyst for motivating the community to share in a vision of improvement.  Effective leadership requires communication and collaboration toward a common goal, to ensure a quality education for all students.  Communication and collaboration with colleagues requires building a foundation of mutual trust and respect through building effective, professional relationships.  As an administrator, I am dedicated to building and modeling positive relationships with: staff, students, parents and community members to create a positive climate.  I also believe that an integral aspect to being a successful administrator is to empower and motivate teachers in their efforts toward student achievement through my knowledge of best practices and implementation of professional development.

As an administrator, my fundamental purpose will be to create individuals that strive for excellence.  I will maintain and promote a student centered vision, and promote a development of strategies and skills to foster success for students’ academic, social, physical, and emotional needs.  Students will translate their successes in school to an understanding that they can be successful in the real world, which will give them hope and inspiration for their future goals.  In addition, I will commit myself to foster and provide an atmosphere for education, based on the common belief in individual worth, and a respect for and tolerance of individual differences in a multicultural society

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