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.

Rachel Klein

Assistant Director & Sitka WhaleFest Director

(907) 747-8878 ext. 2

Rachel Klein is the Assistant Director and Sitka WhaleFest Director for the Sitka Sound Science Center. She grew up in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and after earning her BA in English Literature and MA in Secondary Education from Pacific Lutheran University, she moved to Sitka to try out Southeast Alaskan life. Rachel loves to spend her time exploring the beautiful Sitka landscape, reading, cooking, and traveling whenever she can.

Brooke Volschenk

Finance Director

(907) 747.8878 ext. 4

Brooke Volschenk is the Finance Director of the Sitka Sound Science Center. She came to the Science Center from around the corner, previously working as the accountant for Sitka Counseling and Prevention Services. Brooke was born in South Africa, but spent most of her childhood in Sitka and returned as a young adult to continue her studies in Accounting at University of Alaska Southeast. She spends her spare time hiking, playing tennis (when it’s dry enough) and reading anything she can get her hands on.

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.

Lauren Bell

Research Biologist, Director of Scientist in Residency Fellowship Program

(907) 747.8878 ext 9

Lauren Bell is a Research Biologist and the Director of the Scientist in Residency Fellowship (SIRF) Program 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.

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!

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 secondary education began.  She also discovered a new passion for photography, which she explores at every available opportunity.

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.

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.

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.

Justine Webb

Sitka WhaleFest Assistant

(907) 747-8878 ext. 2

Justine is the Sitka WhaleFest Assistant at the Sitka Sound Science Center. Justine was born and raised in Sitka, Alaska and has always called it home. She recently moved back to the community after finishing her B.A. in Social Work, with a minor in Rural Development, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Justine is thrilled to have become a part of SSSC and Sitka WhaleFest, and looks forward to assisting with future community events. Outside of work she prefers to be on the trails running or hiking. She is currently applying for a Masters of Social Work program to further her career goals.

Matt Barr

AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer & Field Course Coordinator

(907) 747-8878, ext 11

Matt (Mateyo) Barr is the AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer at the Sitka Sound Science Center, where he works on increasing capacity within the education and research programs of the SSSC. In addition to this, he assists in communications and partnership development. Matt arrived to Sitka in November of 2016, just 4 months after living in Zambia, Africa for 13 months.  Matt is originally from Cleveland, Ohio where he obtained his B.S. in Biology and Chemistry at Cleveland State University. He has visited 12 countries in his life and loves experiencing new cultures and life styles.

Summer Staff Members

Stephanie Fischer

Science Communication and Education Intern

Stephanie Fischer is the Communication and Education Intern at the Science Center.  She was born in Queens, NY and grew up on Long Island.  Entering her senior year at Stanford University, Stephanie double majors in Earth Systems and Music Composition.  What is constant in all of her academic interests is her passion to raise underrepresented narratives and support communities of color and/or low-income.  Stephanie loves all things music, nature, and coffee --so Sitka has been perfect for her!  This is Stephanie's first time in Alaska, and is excited to learn more about the community and experience a different lifestyle.

Nicole Williams

Retail Store Manager

Nicole Williams is the Summer Retail Manager at the Science Center. Nicole is from Colorado, visiting Sitka and Alaska for the very first time. She is studying Animal Science with a concentration of Pre-veterinarian Medicine at the University of Wyoming. Nicole hopes to one day become a Veterinarian, traveling abroad working with various types of animals. Nicole’s interests include hiking, camping, fishing, and reading. Being in Alaska offers her a nice change of pace that allows her to take advantage of her beautiful surroundings.

Chaya Pike

Summer Interpreter

Chaya Pike is a Summer Interpreter at the Sitka Sound Science Center. She was raised in Sitka, and visited the science center’s aquarium on many occasions as an elementary student. Chaya also attended the very first Sitka Sound Science Center Summer Camp as a seventh grader! Nine years later, she continues her summer work as an interpreter between semesters at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she studies Biology and Elementary Education. Chaya hopes to use her experience from the Science Center to bring science to life for her future students.

Lily Turley

Summer Interpreter

Lily Turley is the Summer Interpreter for the Sitka Sound Science Center. Previously, Lily worked on the Allen Marine tour-boats and fished commercially in Kodiak, AK. Lily was born in in Anchorage, AK but followed her father's seasonal work projects throughout her childhood, which led her to live in 15 different communities throughout Alaska. She first came to Sitka four years ago when she began attending Mt. Edgecumbe boarding school, one of the three high-schools present in Sitka. Lily graduated Mt. Edgecumbe in the spring of 2016. This past school year she attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is currently pursuing a Bachelors in Mathematics.

Elle Gray

Summer Interpreter

Elle Gray is the Summer Interpreter at the Sitka Sound Science Center. She became a part of the team  in mid-May, however this is her third year in this position.  Elle has lived in Alaska all of life but moved to Sitka three years ago, and has no regrets!  She is entering her 3rd year of undergraduate at St. Lawrence University in Upstate New York.  Her majors are Environmental Studies and Government with minors in Statistics and Spanish.  She has hopes to go into the environmental sustainability field after college, and she believes this job provides amazing experience in the field!   She loves everything about Alaska, especially hiking, boating, and exploring with the family.

Sofia Nicholson

Summer Interpreter

Sofia Nicholson is the Summer Interpreter at the Science Center. This is her first year working in this position. Sofia originally came to Sitka in 2012 as a construction intern on Sheldon Jackson College’s campus. Sofia was born and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona where she enjoyed the wonders of high desert and canyon ecosystems. In 2014, she graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in English and a strong interest in pursuing hands-on, environmental education. She spent the past two years or so working in late elementary education in Arizona. Ready for a new adventure, Sofia excitedly accepted the Science Center’s Interpreter position and moved to Sitka in April. Sofia is so excited expand her knowledge of marine ecosystems and do some excellent science education!