KJ McElwee outside the KNOM Anchorage office. Photo by Brisa Ashley, KNOM.

KJ (Kjersti) McElwee has worked for KNOM since 2018, and is the connection point between the mission’s donor friends across the country and the radio crew “on the ground” in Nome.

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.

Several years later, she is responsible for overseeing the “Nome Static”, the mission’s monthly newsletter, along with all the station’s external advertising and fundraising efforts. In November of 2022, she and her husband relocated to Nome full-time.

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