Alumnus Experiences the Best of Both Worlds

Michael Koskey resizedWhile many Knights experience the Florida summer year round, Michael Koskey, ’91, experiences the best of both worlds-in Alaska!  His work as an assistant professor for the Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development for the University of Alaska Fairbanks continues to grow.  Through this work he helps promote personal and community wellbeing among the Alaska Native communities through culture change and other topics.

He graduated from UCF with a double major in political science and anthropology, with the interest of the former leading to the latter. He got to anthropology through his political sciences studies, especially on international affairs with a focus on development politics. He later obtained a master’s degree in anthropology from Purdue University in 1995 and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2003. With all of this education under his belt, Koskey credits UCF for his experiences, courses, and UCF’s faculty for his success so far.

“My time at UCF really helped me in the development of my academic interests in developing nations, rural development, and political economy. I continued with these same interests through my Ph.D. in anthropology and I continue to work in issues of sovereignty, self-determination, economic inequality, and post-colonial issues including decolonization,” said Koskey.

Looking back to his days at UCF, he treasures his experience of participating in the archaeological excavations at the Maya ruins of Caracol in Belize.  In addition, he cherishes some of his classes in which his professors significantly changed (for the better) the way he came to view our world, its humans and others, and our role of responsibility in participating in it. As a student, he also helped to found the Environmental Society and was a member of the UCF Crew Team.

As an assistant professor, he enjoys teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses, serving on different doctoral and master’s graduate committees, and advising students. He teaches several courses throughout the school year which include Native Cultures of Alaska, and Political Economy of the Circumpolar North. He also works in numerous projects for the university, including his current project Rural Migration in Alaska: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions, which studies the migration trends of Alaska’s indigenous peoples, following periodic movements between village communities and urban areas.

In the future, Koskey hopes to continue teaching, advising grad students, and working with indigenous peoples and communities.  His goal is to encourage community health, cultural and linguistic survival and revitalization, and promoting issues of indigenous sovereignty and self-determination.  When asked for a piece of advice for current UCF students, he shared the following note:

“I know it sounds cliché, but each of us gets out of a university education what we put into it; in other words, the value of any experience–including education–is largely created by the effort committed.  University education really does open doors to unexpected avenues of opportunity, and a committed, positive, selfless attitude is the most effective way to benefit from an education, or any other experience,” said Koskey.


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