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KJ McElwee outside the KNOM Anchorage office. Photo by Mary Ryan, KNOM (2022).

KJ (Kjersti) McElwee is the connection point between the mission’s donor friends across the country and the radio crew “on the ground” in Nome.

By overseeing the “Nome Static”, the mission’s monthly newsletter, along with all the station’s advertising and marketing efforts, she helps donors be included and engaged in the mission’s work.

No stranger to the north, KJ grew up just across the north pole from KNOM; in Sykkylven, Norway.

Her passion for fundraising began at an early age, watching her Lutheran grandmother faithfully raffle off knit socks and mittens to benefit charitable causes halfway across the globe.

After a short stint of service in the developing world, KJ’s global awareness eventually led her to the United States and a degree in Strategic Communication. Her university studies were split between Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA and the University of Alaska Anchorage, where she finished her degree. UAA was her first introduction to radio, as the college radio station KRUA’s marketing and underwriting coordinator.

KJ first heard about KNOM through her husband. He spent his teen years in the village of White Mountain, 60 miles east of Nome. While volunteering as a camp aide and mentor to rural teen students, particularly working for RAHI (Rural Alaska Honors Institute) at the University of Alaska, she started thinking about ways to use her gifts and talents to serve Western Alaskans.

After a year and a half doing marketing work for a Christian organization in Anchorage, she saw a job listing for the mission’s development office in Anchorage on KNOM’s website in 2018 and it wasn’t long before she was an integral part of the team.

Outside of work, she enjoys listening to podcasts, berry-picking, and hiking.