[Pacific Lutheran Scene]
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-- Cover Story --

Furry 'roommate' gives Alaska student a chance to talk about values of her home state

B Y   L I N D A   E L L I O T T ,   E D I T O R

He's eight feet long from claw to claw, and for an entire semester he lived on Liz Korenek's '00 floor in Stuen Hall.
      "He" is a 3-year-old light brown grizzly Korenek shot and killed using a custom-crafted 300 Winchester Magnum rifle in Alaska three days before starting her freshman year at PLU.
      Korenek – who doesn't look like a stereotypical hunter at 5' 4½" with an engaging smile and a sprinkle of freckles across her nose – said comments from classmates ranged from, "Oh, the poor bear," to "Wow, that's pretty cool."
      Korenek's furry roommate intrigued a lot of students. There aren't many who count hunting as a serious hobby. But in Alaska, particularly in rural areas such as Nome, where Korenek grew up, hunting is as commonplace as golf and as essential as going to the grocery store.
      "(Hunting provides our family's) main source of food," said Korenek, who began hunting in the sixth grade and is the first in her family to shoot a bear. "I feel good about contributing to the family in that way."
      "Hunting also means I get to spend time with my dad and be in the country," she added. "You also learn a lot. You read wind patterns and learn about species and their habits. It's very educational."
      The bear rug is now safely back at her parents' home in Anchorage. Korenek enjoyed having it on campus with her if even for a short time. Not only did it remind her of one of her biggest achievements, it allowed her to educate her classmates on the many different aspects of Alaska.
      A junior, Korenek is majoring in elementary education and Spanish, and minoring in special education. After graduation, she wants to return to Alaska to teach.

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