University of Alaska Southeast offers new marine transportation scholarship

Written by Marine Log Staff
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Scholarship honors the late Captain Michael A. Clinkscales (Photo courtesy HO/Clinkscales family

As Alaska tourism increases so will the demand for trained, licensed maritime personnel, including pilots, for navigation on the Inside Passage.

A new University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) scholarship endowment will help meet that demand.

The Captain Michael A. Clinkscales Maritime Scholarship has been established to support UAS students enrolled in marine transportation courses.

It it is named for the late “Clink” Clinkscales, whose fellow pilots led the cause to raise more than $38,000 to honor a man who was known to inspire and encourage others in the maritime trades. The endowment generates investment earnings that will provide a minimum $1,000 annual scholarship in perpetuity. Additional contributions may increase that amount.

Cynthia Clinkscales reflected on the years that her husband dedicated to the trade, starting as a pot washer on the Tustumena. She recalled a story when Michael was out chipping ice off the rails of the ship, looked up and saw the captain on the bridge sipping coffee, and thought; “that’s where I am going to be.”

“He worked his way up from pot-washer to captain,” she said. “It would be great for students to see that if they work hard and have the resources they can get there, too.”

“Mike was a gentleman sailor who was generous with his family, friends and those less fortunate than him. He was rightfully proud of his journey up the hawsepipe and hopefully this scholarship will encourage others to embark on a similar career path,” said Ketchikan mariner Diana Chaudhary, who taught marine transportation courses as an adjunct professor at the Ketchikan Campus.

Chaudhary and Tomi Marsh, a fellow sea pilot and fisherman who was mentored by Clinkscale, led the efforts to create the scholarship in Clinkscales’ memory.

“Most who are pursuing these classes are paying for it on their own and taking one or two classes to get the next license upgrade, a better job or just get started in the industry,” says Mike LaBarge, UAS Assistant Professor of Maritime Studies, shares that sentiment. “Most who are pursuing these classes are paying for it on their own and taking one or two classes to get the next license upgrade, a better job or just get started in the industry.” s

LaBarge is based at the newly upgraded UAS Ketchikan Maritime Training Center, which hasa state of the art maritime bridge simulator, welding and diesel labs.

LaBarge says students who take the training are able to get out the door and get high paying jobs relatively quickly, whether it’s working as a mariner in tourism or working in the commercial fishing industry, on ferries or tugboats.

“We are doing our best to provide an avenue for folks who want to get on the water and also support those who are already in the industry.”

All classes are U.S. Coast Guard approved and take advantage of hand-on waterfront training so that students are well prepared for real life situations. Students can earn an Occupational Endorsement or a two-year Associate of Applied Science in Marine Transportation with a Deck or Engine Room Emphasis.

UAS has the coursework needed to put students on the path to successful maritime careers. Learn more about the marine transportation programs available at the UAS Ketchikan Maritime Training Center at

Donations to the Captain Michael A. Clinkscales Maritime Scholarship may be made at or by texting the word CLINK to 41444. Students enrolled in marine transportation courses can apply for the scholarship at

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