Sterling degree: BA in Natural History from Sterling and a MS in Natural Resources from Cornell University
Current hometown: Utqiagvik, Alaska
Employment: Wildlife Biologist at North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management
Other activities/volunteer work/interests: Running and skiing with my dog, helping out with other projects as a field technician, and subsistence activities occupy most of my time outside of work.
Can you tell us about your current work? My current work is varied: it includes time in the office writing and editing documents or participating in meetings, time out in the field that might involve sampling marine mammal carcasses or surveying nesting colonies, and working in the community interviewing subsistence users about harvest practices. It is fairly unique in that I am employed by the local home rule government, so a major part of our department’s work in addition to monitoring species health is maintaining (especially Inupiat) subsistence rights. Lately my focus has been on sampling and taking morphometrics at the fall bowhead whale harvest.
What is your most memorable Sterling “out in the field” story? I have a clear memory of watching phalaropes feeding in Mono Lake during David Gilligan’s Sierra Nevada course. Shortly after, we all went swimming in the lake and emerged with brine shrimp in our hair. Here on the North Slope, I’ve spent lots of intimate time with phalaropes in their nesting habitat – to the point where I’ve monitored hundreds of their eggs. Now I can look back to the first time I encountered them and picture them on their migratory journey. Sterling has created many such connections for me.
Any words of wisdom for the current Sterling generation? Take advantage of Sterling resources in your free time: my friends and I did small mammal surveys in the Cedar Swamp for fun, went birding before class, did snowshoe camping around Craftsbury on the weekends, sat on the porch of Dunbar listening to Dick’s stories, and stayed up late working on projects in Paradise. This self directed learning was just as important as all of the courses we took.