Staff Spotlight: Karina Gonzales-Smith

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Karina, her husband, and her son hanging around a playground in Valdez
Karina, her husband, and son hanging around a playground in Valdez

UAF eCampus is a dynamic team of quick thinkers and innovators. A big part of what we do involves marketing to the community and students. Karina is the communications manager for eCampus and she is one of a kind with her new ideas for social media, eCampus websites, and iLearns. She is super stylish and an all-around great human being. Make sure to say hi to Karina if you see her around campus!

Q: What do you do at eCampus?

A: I’m the Communications Manager, so I oversee the website, department communication, social media, marketing, branding, public relations, and “other duties as assigned.” It’s very behind-the-scenes, but I hope that allows me to put other voices front and center. I personally think it’s my job to make sure there’s diversity in the stories we tell. We can do better and being the Communications Manager gives me a chance to do that. It’s also important to me to be honest in how we communicate and not be afraid or apologetic about it. 

Q: How do you work with students?

A: I love talking to students about their experience at UAF, and featuring them on our website, social media, newsletter (iLearn), all the things. I want to develop a student ambassador program where they become the face of eCampus’s online programs. Students would share their experiences not only in the courses and programs, but also the nitty-gritty of student life, accommodation, access, and representation. I’m especially interested in students who are juggling classes with academic anxiety, families, jobs, military service, career shifts, relocations, North Slope work, and more. 

Q: How can students connect with you?

A: Hi, students, hi! Can I say I would love to connect with students without being obnoxious and uncool? (Crap, I said “love” twice in this post which is definitely lame.) Students can email me at or DM me on Instagram @uafecampus anytime. Email or DM are best because I hate answering my phone unless it’s my niece who’s a first-year college student in NYC 😭

Q: What do you like about working at UAF eCampus?

A: Everything. No, make that E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Apart from the creative and funny people I work with, eCampus is just an incredibly supportive place to be. Your colleagues hold you up and nurture your ideas and you as a person. Plus, we all like food and cute critters. I’ve been at UAF since 2009 in various departments, and I think that eCampus might just be my final stop.

Karina and Michael strike a pose at Disneyland
Karina and Michael strike a pose at Disneyland

Q: What TV show are you binge-watching right now?

A: My husband, Michael, and I are currently watching the Wheel of Time. I can’t say it’s one of my favorites but I’m interested enough. One show that we binge watched recently was Ted Lasso, which is a new favorite. I’m willing to say out loud that it’s the epitome of a perfect show. Also, Ted and I feel the same way about tea. 

Q: Other than your position, what other position do you find most interesting at eCampus and why?

A: This is tough because I find my job equal parts exciting and challenging. I like how it combines my analytical personality and linear way of thinking with a touch of creativity. It’s also a healthy dose of working on my own, collaborating with colleagues, and being social with students and others. That last part is really exhausting to an introvert-ambivert like me but it’s so important! If you’re twisting my arm to actually answer the question, then I would have to say I’m drawn to people instead of positions themselves. I admire badass women who are talented and transparent while being creative and gracious. To me, that’s been Christen, Kendell, and Moss for awhile now ⚔️  I also want to give a shout-out to Logan who’s so damn effervescent 🫧  I need some of that. 

Q: What got you into your position at UAF eCampus?

A: I’ve been with eCampus since 2016 but I was in a very different role that was more focused on supporting faculty and course management. There were bits of communication and marketing, so when this job opened up after my predecessor and friend moved on (👋 Marissa), I jumped at the opportunity to make it my whole job. Luckily, my supervisor was supportive of the transition. I haven’t looked back since and I’m relishing the chance to make this position my own. It’s only been a baby handful of times when somebody has said “so-and-so did it this way,” which I hope means I’m making my mark.


  • UAF eCampus Staff

    eCampus is a tight-knit group of people who are educators, readers, artists, gamers, bakers, writers, knitters, builders, adventurers, runners...we're adding to this list every day! There's usually laughter in our department meetings, and our potlucks are pretty epic.

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