Centennial Story 27: Jennifer (MS, 2004) and Mark (Post-doc, 2003) Scheuerell

Jennifer and Mark came to SAFS by different routes.

Jennifer was born and raised in Bremerton, WA. She was fortunate to spend a lot of time sailing and SCUBA diving with her family and friends in Puget Sound. Much to her parents’ consternation, however, Jennifer spent her first year of college in Kenya, which offered her a rare opportunity to spend many months traveling around much of eastern and southern Africa. She then returned home and enrolled at UW where she completed a BS in Forestry. Jennifer then worked as a dive master in Hawaii and then Honduras, where she had the unfortunate experience of weathering a direct hit by Hurricane Mitch.

Jennifer doing limnological sampling on Lake Washington.

Mark was raised along the shores of the Mississippi River in central Minnesota and spent a lot of time in the water during the summer and on the ice during the winter. His family was very active and spent a lot of time outdoors exploring the western Great Lakes region. Mark obtained a BS in Zoology from the other UW (in Madison, WI), and it was during his time there that he met his future PhD advisor and current SAFS faculty member, Daniel Schindler. In the interim, Mark earned an MS in Fishery and Aquatic Science from Cornell University and worked as a wildlife biologist in central Florida.

Mark doing stream surveys for sockeye salmon in the Wood River System in southwest Alaska

Their paths to SAFS began in the late 1990s, only a few blocks to the east of SAFS in what was then the Department of Zoology. Jennifer was a technician in Tommy Edmondson’s lab, conducting limnological research on Lake Washington, and Mark was a PhD student there. After a year or so of mixing socially with a group of academic friends, Jennifer captured Mark’s romantic interest at a cocktail party when she procured the world’s worst martini. Indeed, it got much better from there.

Four years later they were happily married, and a bit more than a year after that, Jennifer was defending her MS thesis at SAFS while five months pregnant with their first child. Jennifer’s advisory committee comprised of Dan Schindler, Dave Beauchamp, and Tom Quinn. Her research focused on the foraging behavior of juvenile sockeye salmon, and the key role that Daphnia play in their diet choices. After finishing graduate school, Jennifer had transitioned from the Lake Washington project into a position with the Alaska Salmon Program (ASP), where she was tasked with organizing their historical data into a comprehensive database.

Since leaving SAFS in 2007, Jennifer has been the principal at her consulting company, Sound Data Management, based in Seattle. As a testament to today’s digital culture and global workforce, three of Jennifer’s employees live in Australia. Admittedly, it can be a bit odd sometimes when she ends her day by asking people how tomorrow is going. For the past decade her team has been contracted by the California Public Utilities Commission to design and maintain large data systems, which allow the Commission to review and evaluate their $1 billion per year investment in energy efficiency. Jennifer also continues to work on smaller data management projects with various people at SAFS.

Mark finished his PhD in 2002 after completing much of his dissertation research with the ASP in southwest Alaska, studying sockeye salmon and the stream and lake ecosystems where they spawn and rear (Tom Quinn was also on his advisory committee). Mark then transitioned to a post-doc position with Ray Hilborn, where he began developing life cycle models for at-risk populations of Chinook salmon in Puget Sound, and that work continues today throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

In 2003, Mark began a full-time position at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, where he currently works as a quantitative ecologist. His research involves a large network of collaborators from across the US and Canada. Since 2007, he has also been an affiliate faculty member at SAFS. Mark enjoys co-teaching a graduate course at SAFS in time series analysis, wherein he gets to witness firsthand the amazing students and the interesting projects that they complete as part of the course requirements.

Jennifer and Mark both consider themselves extremely fortunate to have been welcomed so warmly into the SAFS community. Over the years, the faculty, staff, and students have all been wonderful friends, colleagues, and invaluable sources of information. As they raise their children and enjoy spending time with their extended family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, the rich experiences they’ve had through SAFS always stay with them.

Jennifer & Mark with their daughters Liv (13) & Kaya (11) in the Waimea Valley on Oahu, Hawaii
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