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.

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.

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 post-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.

Sofia Nicholson

Aquarium Outreach Educator

Sofia Nicholson is the Aquarium Outreach Educator 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!

Summer Staff Members