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Shayla Sackinger grew up in Fairbanks. From childhood she was drawn to the avian world congregating on her family's property, as well as the fantasy world of online gaming. Then she started drawing. In her final year at University of Alaska Fairbanks where she's double majoring in art and Japanese studies, she combines those growing influences (as well as a hint of cartooning) in the lively pieces she creates. She tells her story in the latest installment of the Creating Alaska series.


“Birds have always been a constant. I live out in the middle of Goldstream, we’re in the middle of a swamp. We’ve got lots of ducks. We also get sandhill cranes. But I’m also a huge gamer. In high school it was half art, half games. I would draw during my classes, then at home I would game. Rinse and repeat.”

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David James is an Alaskan author and literary critic whose work has been published by the Anchorage Daily News, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Alaska Dispatch News, and Ester Republic. He is editing a forthcoming anthology of Alaska writing.


The Literacy Council of Alaska helps immigrants in Fairbanks find their way to work, success, and citizenship.
“In the borough there are over 10 thousand people who don’t speak English as their first language. That’s over 10 percent of our population,” explained Mike Kolasa, the council’s executive director, adding, “Last year we had 175 English language learners students.”
A winding path brought Chidozie Menakaya from Lagos, Nigeria, to Fairbanks, Alaska. The latest installment in "Becoming Alaskan."
When I landed back in Fairbanks and walked through those airport doors, I was relieved,” recalled Chidozie Menakaya after returning to Alaska from Lagos, Nigeria. “I thought, ‘What does that mean if Fairbanks gives me relief?’” Then he broke out laughing.