Kelli Johnson (PhD, 2018)
As a native of the Olympic Peninsula, I grew up thinking everyone had access to fresh oysters in the half shell, spotted shrimp straight from the bay, and mountain peaks minutes from their house. Every day I did something outside that involved animals, mostly feeding domestic ones and harvesting wild ones. Sometimes, my sister and I would ask our teachers for extra-credit assignments so we would be too busy to feed the horses and cows; schoolwork was the only excuse that would work on our mom.
Mike Sigler (PhD, 1993)
When I went to college, my plan was to become a veterinarian. But then I went to the Shoals Marine Laboratory off the coast of Maine between my junior and senior years and my life turned in another direction. I loved the power of the ocean and was curious about the interrelationships of the animals and plants (or should I say fish and phytoplankton).
Lauren Rogers (PhD, 2010)
“Why fish?” asked my Grandma, perplexed, as I told her I was starting a PhD program at UW. Apparently studying trees was completely normal (my brother was in forestry), but fish were too… slimy. Admittedly, I’d never been a fish lover, but I thought that the field of fisheries would let me apply my interests in oceanography and ecology to problems that matter very directly for humans – and that this would keep me motivated through grad school and beyond.
Carey McGilliard (MS, 2007; PhD, 2012)
It was several events and circumstances that led me to a house in Ravenna on an October night, discussing with Bridget Ferriss (PhD, 2011) how to construct a gigantic squid piñata. It all began in Costa Rica, where I did a biology and Spanish study-abroad program as an undergraduate student, traveling to biological field stations around the country and doing mini-research projects at each one.
Susanne McDermott (MS, 1994; PhD, 2003)
The story about how I arrived at SAFS takes some twists and turns, but all of them were interesting and eventually led me to the University of Washington and SAFS before I started working at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC).
I grew up in landlocked southern Germany in a very small town. I spent much of my childhood at a local farmers’ stable and in the neighboring woods, and I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a biologist.
Loh-Lee Low (BS, 1970; MS, 1972; PhD, 1974)
I started as a freshman at the College of Fisheries in the fall of 1968. I was very fortunate to have been awarded a Malaysian Government scholarship to study Fisheries in the United States when I graduated from High School in Malaysia. The scholarship was the blessing that molded my life. I knew I had to succeed.
Stanislaw (Stan) Kotwicki (PhD, 2014)
I grew up in Poland far away from the ocean. I remember my mom often bringing home pollock fillets for dinner. During that time (early 1980s), pollock was often the only fish we could get in the store. Later, during my studies on biological oceanography at the University of Gdansk (UG), I found out that pollock in Polish stores came mostly from the Bering Sea.
Jodie (PhD, 2009) and Jason (MS, 2000) Toft
“Um, Bob, so…have you ever wanted to be a minister?” So went the request one sunny afternoon at the Volunteer Park wading pool, while we were sitting with Bob Francis (professor emeritus) as he watched his grandson. A few months later, Bob officiated our wedding, sprinkling the ceremony and our path forward with his salt-of-the-earth gruff charm.
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.
Melissa Haltuch (PhD, 2008) and Juan Valero (MS, 2001; PhD, 2011)
Melissa and Juan started their Aquatic and Fishery careers long before moving to Seattle from Ohio and Argentina, respectively, to add School and Sciences. They found much more than that at SAFS.
Melissa grew up on the shores of Lake Erie, doing undergraduate fieldwork on endangered freshwater mussels, subsequently completing her MS at The Ohio State University (OSU).