Lisa Busch

Executive Director

(907) 747.8878 ext. 5

Lisa Busch is the Executive Director of the Sitka Sound Science Center. She is responsible for operations and organizational development and health. She has extensive informal science education and community organizing experience. A graduate of Tufts University, she majored in geology and environmental studies. She also holds a masters degree in Northern Studies from University of Alaska Fairbanks. Lisa also produces the award winning natural history radio series Encounters: Radio Experiences in the North. She was a AAAS Science and Engineering in the Mass Media Fellow and a Ted Scripps Fellow for Environmental Journalism. She is a hiker, a runner and a mother of two girls.

Victoria O’Connell

Research Director

(907) 747.8878 ext. 7

Victoria O’Connell is the Research Director of the Sitka Sound Science Center. Ms. O’Connell served as Groundfish Project Leader for the Southeast Region groundfish project of Alaska Department of Fish and Game and was responsible for research and management of state managed groundfish in Southeast Alaska. Tory’s work has been funded by the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Undersea Research Center, Alaska State Department of Fish and Game and the North Pacific Research Board. She has worked extensively as a scientist in the schools presenting and developing unique hands-on activities for the Sitka School District, Sheldon Jackson College, and University of Alaska Southeast. She is the mother of two grown daughters and enjoys visiting them in the far corners of the world where they live.

Angie Bowers

Aquaculture Director

(907) 747.8878 ext. 6

Angie Bowers is the Aquaculture Director of the Sitka Sound Science Center. Before coming to the Science Center, she worked in aquaculture on Baranof Island for almost 10 years with NSRAA and spent several years as the manager of Medvejie Hatchery. She studied Biology and Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and recently got her Graduate Certificate in Fisheries Management from Oregon State University. When not at the Science Center, she can be found playing with her 5 year old daughter Wren, camping, fishing, or wandering in the woods looking for mushrooms or things to photograph.

Melissa Hamilton

Finance Director

(907) 747-8878 ext. 4

Melissa Hamilton is the Finance Director for the Sitka Sound Science Center. Melissa grew up in small town in northwest Arizona and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada for middle school and high school. She started college at the University of Nevada, Reno, but after a summer internship with the State Parks in Sitka, Melissa fell in love with Sitka and finished college at Sheldon Jackson. Melissa graduated college in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and quickly realized her path in life did not include a career in science. Since graduating from college, Melissa has worked as an administrative assistant for various organizations in Sitka as well as owned her own carpet cleaning business. These paths lead her to her work as a bookkeeper for Spirit Bear Bookkeeping for the last 6 years, a job where she found her passion for numbers and non-profit organizations. Melissa brings her business and accounting skills to the Sitka Sound Science Center where she is able to combine her love of accounting and be able to work in the field of science. When not at the Science Center, Melissa enjoys spending time with her two favorite gals – her daughter Ruby and her labradoodle Molly. Melissa also enjoys playing music (as a violinist and a cellist) and loves to enjoy the great outdoors of the Alaskan wilderness.

Janet Clarke

Education Director

(907) 747.8878 ext. 3

Janet Clarke is the Education Director at the Sitka Sound Science Center and coordinates the Scientists in the Schools Program. She earned her B.S. in Biology from Virginia Tech and Secondary Teaching Certificate from UAA; she has over 30 years of experience teaching science and math for middle and high school students.

Janet has another passion that is rather unique – racing sled dogs! For 15 years, Janet and her family raced and maintained a sled dog kennel in Eagle River, Alaska. Janet holds the top finishing spot (3rd place!) from South Central Alaska in the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship Sled Dog Race! While she no longer runs sled dogs, Janet is the Race Marshall for sled dog races and is currently the only Alaskan certified by the International Federation of Sled Dog Sports, as a race marshall!

Dr. Alexandra Ravelo

Research Biologist; Director of Scientist in Residency Fellowship Program

907-747-8878 ext. 9

Alexandra Ravelo is the Research Biologist and Director of the Scientist in Residency Fellowship Program at the Sitka Sound Science Center. Alex grew up in Argentina, far away from the ocean, but an internship in Brazil after college, studying marine invasive species, led her on a path to explore Alaska’s seas onboard fishing and research vessels. Alex completed her doctorate degree and a post-doctorate fellowship at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, studying Arctic benthic invertebrate communities. Her current research focuses on community ecology and environmental drivers of change, where she focuses on understanding how organisms’ interactions, with each other and the environment, shape coastal habitats. Alex has a soft spot for brittle stars and nudibranchs, but in reality she loves all creepy-crawly creatures of the sea. When not dreaming up science projects and playing with data, she spends her time exploring marine shores, both on and under the water, cooking, hiking or taking pictures.

Blake Conaway

Maintenance Manager

(907) 747-8878, ext 6

Blake Conaway is the Maintenance Manager of the Sitka Sound Science Center. Blake moved to Baranof Island in 2009 to start work at Medvejie Hatchery as a Hatchery Technician.  After several rearing seasons with NSRAA, Blake traveled to the southern tip of the island to work at Port Armstrong Fish Hatchery as a Fish Culturist.  Most recently before joining the Science Centers team, he was the Engineer/Deck boss aboard the F/V Valle Lee, a Longline/ Freezer Troll vessel that operates out of Sitka.  If Blake is not out fishing, he can be found at home with his newborn son discovering the wonders of the world.

Sandy McClung

Aquarium Outreach Manager

(907) 747-8878, ext. 16

Sandy McClung is the Aquarium Outreach Manager for the Sitka Sound Science Center.  She grew up in southern California, where she first developed a passion for marine biology.  She moved to Sitka to attend Sheldon Jackson College, where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Marine Biology and Fisheries Science.  After leaving SJ, she moved to south Florida to attend Nova Southeastern University for graduate school, where she earned her Masters of Science in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management.  Moving back to California, she kept her passion alive by volunteering at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution in San Diego until she found this employment opportunity right where her post-secondary education began.  She also discovered a new passion for photography, which she explores at every available opportunity.

Roger Vallion

Aquarium Curator

Roger Vallion is the Aquarium Curator for the Sitka Sound Science Center. He grew up in Northern California, spending as much time as possible on the coast and in the mountains. He drove up the Alaska Highway in the spring of 1975 and has lived on Baranof Island ever since. Roger has worked in fisheries research and enhancement for National Marine Fisheries Service and ADF&G at Little Port Walter, at Hidden Falls for ADF&G as Assistant Hatchery manager, and at NSRAA here in Sitka. He dives professionally, collecting animals for the SSSC aquarium, as well as commercially for abalone and sea cucumbers. He is currently a Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association (SARDFA) board member. Roger enjoys all of the usual outdoor activities that Southeast Alaska has to offer, plus riding his motorcycle throughout the lower 48.

Chance Gray

Dive Safety Officer & Chum Project Coordinator

Chance Gray is the Diving Safety Officer and Chum Project Coordinator at the Sitka Sound Science Center. He grew up exploring the mountains and shorelines of South-Central Alaska, but has spent the last 10 years outside the state. During his studies at Whitman College, Chance began his diving career while studying abroad in New Zealand at the University of Otago. Since then, diving has taken him all over the world from the Philippines to Argentina and Tanzania and many places in between. Most recently, Chance was working as a Course Director in the Florida Keys where he was responsible for managing and conducting one of the largest dive instructor programs in North America. Luckily, he has always had a passion for cold water diving which finally brought him back to Alaska in 2017. When not underwater, Chance can be found hiking the trails around Sitka or playing with his son, Wyatt.

Kristina Tirman

Science Education Coordinator

(907) 747.8878 ext. 11

Kristina Tirman is the Science Education Coordinator at the Sitka Sound Science Center.  She grew up in the mountains of Truckee, California where she spent her time hiking, skiing, and paddle boarding on Lake Tahoe.  She headed south to the beach, for her B.S. in Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She moved to Sitka in October of 2015.

Brian LeBlanc

Fisheries Technician

(907) 747-8878 ext. 14

Brian LeBlanc is the Fisheries Technician for the Sitka Sound Science Center.  He grew up in Boise, Idaho where he attended Boise State University and obtained his Bachelor’s of Science in Biology.  After working for Idaho Fish and Game at Eagle Fish Hatchery, he moved to Baranof Island in 2014 and worked for Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association at multiple hatcheries and rearing sites.  Also, he was a Field Technician for the Chum Hatchery/Wild Interaction Project in 2015, and a Lead Field Technician for the project in 2017.  When he’s not at the Science Center, Brian can be found fishing, snowboarding, and enjoying all that the Tongass National Forest has to offer.

Callie Simmons

Biological Monitoring Intern

Callie is the Biological Monitoring Intern for both the Sitka Sound Science Center and the Sitka National Historical Park. She is originally from Oregon where she grew up hiking, camping, and exploring Oregon’s bounty! She received her B.S. from Oregon State University in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. After college, Callie studied species varying from phytoplankton in Alaska to Asian Elephants in Thailand. Callie is continually amazed and curious about natural systems, wildlife, and human’s resiliency in a changing world. She is looking forward to designing monitoring projects that address questions Sitkan community members care about!

Lauren Bell

Research Associate

Lauren Bell is a Research Associate at the Sitka Sound Science Center. She grew up playing on the ocean around her hometown of Homer, Alaska, and after receiving her bachelor of science in marine biology from Stanford University in California she returned to Alaska to study Arctic marine systems for her master's degree in marine biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Lauren is especially enamored of intertidal and subtidal marine systems, and has used her training as a scientific diver to study marine life under the Arctic sea ice as well as along Alaska's more temperate shores.

Ashwin Sreenivasan

Fisheries Fellow

Ashwin is originally from India and lives in Juneau, Alaska.  He got his B.S. degree in Chemistry, Botany, and Zoology from St. Joseph’s College in Bangalore, India.  He then moved to Florida, where he obtained another B.S. degree in Biology from Florida Atlantic University.  He received his M.S. in Biology from Northern Michigan University.  His thesis focused on comparing growth-related metabolic enzymes between river-resident and lake-resident brook trout.  To continue fisheries research, he moved to Alaska, obtaining a Ph.D. in Fisheries from the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2011.  His dissertation was on the growth physiology of juvenile Pacific herring, larval Pacific cod, and larval walleye pollock, using cellular nucleic acid ratios as a growth index.  He started working for the Sitka Sound Science Center in 2012.  His current research interests include studying growth rates, assimilation efficiencies, and consumption rates of juvenile rockfish, sablefish, and Pacific cod held at different temperatures and nutritional levels, using natural biomarkers.

Summer Staff Members