“I graduated from high school a year early and started commercial fishing right after. I could go to UAS in the fall and still fish.”
Ethan Nichols is receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in geography and environmental resources, with emphases in geographic information systems and hydrology, and a minor in biology.
UAS was a perfect fit for Nichols, who is also a commercial fisherman.
“I graduated from high school a year early and started commercial fishing right after,” he said. “I [could] go to UAS in the fall and still fish.”
After three years at UAS, Nichols needed a change in scenery. He went to Idaho on National Student Exchange. After realizing he missed Alaska during his first semester, Nichols decided to give UAF a try.
“I came up to UAF after doing a semester at the University of Idaho,” he said. “I didn’t want to come back to Juneau yet and was enjoying moving around and trying out different climates and universities.”
Working with UAS and UAF, Nichols was able to finish his degree in only four years.
“Finishing in four years was something that was important to me.”
Taking 19 credits in one semester doesn’t leave much free time, so Nichols is planning to take a break from work and academics after graduation.
“I’d like to take time off and travel. I spent 4 1/2 months backpacking in Southeast Asia and I’d like to get back to Nepal. I’d also like to see Indonesia and Australia this time.”
Nichols plans on returning to Fairbanks after his travels to find a job.
“I’d like to go back to Fairbanks in the fall and maybe look for work. I’d also like to look at the master’s in natural resources management and geography. If I could get into some kind of research work, that would be great,” he said.
Although Nichols will be unable to attend Commencement at UAS due to afinals conflicts at UAF, he can look back at his time in Juneau with fond memories.
“I enjoyed hiking out to Lena Pt. in between classes [and] swimming in Auke Lake was great,” Nichols said, “UAS is small. That’s what I like about it, that sense of community.”
Nichols is thankful for the great faculty at UAS.
“I would like to thank my advisor Sanjay Pyare as well as the other sciences faculty at UAS for providing me with research opportunities and guidance over the past few years.”
When he’s not studying, Nichols enjoys traveling, hiking and playing the dobro and lap-steel guitar.