Program Manager and Assistant Professor Joel Markis
Growing up in Southcentral Alaska, Joel was continuously exposed to the outdoors and fisheries. After graduating from Bartlett High School in Anchorage, he pursued a growing passion for fisheries by attending Montana State University in Bozeman, MT, where he received a B.S. in Fish and Wildlife Management while honing his skiing and fly fishing skills. This newfound knowledge allowed Joel to work various fisheries jobs all over Alaska, traveling to exotic places all while under the context of ‘work.’ After spending time in places like Katmai, Aniakchak, Kenai Fjords, Denali, the Tongass, and Wrangell St. Elias he decided to pursue a graduate degree in Marine Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he used SCUBA to study the nearshore fish and habitat complexity in Kachemak Bay.
Before coming to the UA system, Joel was a research fisheries biologist with the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve in Homer. While there he studied marine ecology and questions pertaining to fish habitat use in the nearshore environment. Joel also coordinated a nationwide water quality and meteorological monitoring project and worked on a hardshell clam recruitment and growth study focused on determining the timing of spawning, recruitment and growth of pacific littleneck clams.
Joel has been with the Fisheries Technology Program since 2013 when he was an outreach coordinator and adjunct faculty at the Homer campus. In his free time, Joel enjoys backcountry skiing, fishing, sailing, is an avid SCUBA diver and dive instructor, and generally likes spending time outside. He is passionate about teaching and Alaskan fisheries.
Assistant Professor Angie Bowers
Angie has been working with Pacific Salmon since 2006, when she was fortunate enough to find her dream job working at a remote hatchery here on Baranof Island and has been working in aquaculture and teaching people about it ever since. Before coming to the University of Alaska system, she worked as the Aquaculture director at the Sitka Sound Science Center and worked for Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA), spending several years as the manager of Medvejie Hatchery. She studied Biology and Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and has her Graduate Certificate in Fisheries Management from Oregon State University.
When not sharing her knowledge and love for Pacific Salmon and Aquaculture with others, she can be found exploring Southeast Alaska with her daughter Wren, camping, fishing, or wandering in the woods looking for mushrooms or things to photograph.
Angie is an avid fisherman, cold water diver, and has hundreds of hours operating boats in Southeast Alaska. She enjoys teaching and is passionate about promoting fisheries and sustainable management of Alaska’s great resources.
Assistant Professor Lauren Wild
Lauren was born and raised in Sitka, in Southeast Alaska. She spent most of her childhood on the water and in the mountains, camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, and exploring the outdoors. After graduating from Sitka High School she attended Brandeis University in Boston, Massachusetts, where she graduated with a B.A. in International and Global Studies, and a minor in Mathematics. During a study abroad semester in Madagascar, Lauren became interested in marine science and whale research, so she began volunteering for Jan Straley, a professor of Biology and whale researcher at the UAS Sitka Campus. In 2009 she returned to Southeast Alaska and was hired by Professor Straley as a research technician on the Southeast Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance Project (SEASWAP), a collaborative project of fishermen, scientists, and fisheries managers working to better understand sperm whale interactions with commercial longline fishing vessels. Throughout her tenure with SEASWAP, Lauren worked as an acoustic technician and obtained a master’s degree in Marine Mammal Science at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, where she studied with some of the top sperm whale acousticians in the world. SEASWAP also introduced her to the world of fisheries in Alaska, and she became fascinated with the cultural and career importance of this field. She went back to school and received her Ph.D. in Fisheries from the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences, graduating in May 2020. Lauren grew up around the fishing industry in Sitka, with many family and friends earning their living on the water. In her free time, Lauren can be found hiking, camping, fishing, or hunting with family, friends, her husband Evan, and her dog Nysa.
Adjunct Professor Ashley Bolwerk
Ashley grew up exploring the forests and waters of Wisconsin, but by the 4th grade she had fallen in love with the ocean. This passion would take her to the University of Miami to pursue a Marine Biology degree. However, she would finish her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, obtaining a B.S. in Biology with minors in Environmental Science and Education. As a newly certified high school biology teacher, she went hunting for the wild ocean that she had always dreamed about. Sitka, Alaska was the perfect landing place for such a passion. During her time in Sitka, she educated marine scientists from 3 to 93 in classrooms, on beaches, and in the water. She also participated in various research projects assessing hatchery salmon stray and impact to wild fish, rocky intertidal ecology, ocean acidification, seabird reproductive activity, and stream health and restoration to name a few. Recognizing a growing passion for research, Ashley moved to Juneau in 2017 to start a Master’s degree in Fisheries with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. For her thesis research she studies rocky beaches near Prince of Wales Island and works with local community members to assess pinto abalone populations and habitat characteristics.
Outside of education and research, Ashley’s passions include adventures with her dog, Abalone, camping, fishing, SCUBA diving, learning everything she can about the environment, playing in the snow (when we have it), and most other activities that include the outdoors, good food, and/or great people.
Former Faculty Reid Brewer
Reid graduated from high school in Charlotte, NC, and went to college at the US Military Academy at West Point. At West Point Reid earned a BS in Environmental Science and Systems Engineering. Upon graduating, Reid was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army and attended helicopter flight school in Fort Rucker, AL. In 1997, Reid worked as a platoon leader and pilot as part of the SETAF Aviation Brigade in Vicenza, Italy. In 2000, Reid got out of the Army and attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks for a Masters Degree in Marine Biology.
In 2004, Reid took his first university job as the first ever Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Agent in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, AK. With Alaska Sea Grant, Reid worked to provide marine education and outreach opportunities in the community of Unalaska covering topics spanning marine mammal strandings to tidepool camps for kids. In 2007, Reid received his instructor rating as a PADI SCUBA instructor and has been teaching diving ever since. After almost 10 years in Unalaska with Alaska Sea Grant, Reid took a job with the University of Alaska Southeast in 2013 as the Program Manager of the Fisheries Technology program. In 2016, Reid completed his PhD on the seasonal ecology and life-history of giant Pacific octopus in the Bering Sea with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Reid enjoys diving, kiteboarding, hiking, distance swimming, and spending time with his wife Sarah, and their two boys.
Former Faculty Jim Seeland
Raised in suburban St. Louis, MO, Jim always enjoyed fishing with his dad and brother. This got into his blood and although he meandered a bit after graduating from high school, Jim eventually got back into the study of fish and wildlife biology. He attended the University of Missouri in the mid-70s and graduated in 1977. Once graduated and looking for work, it became apparent that there were few jobs working at trout hatcheries (the goal). He had the degree, but no experience.
Jim saved up $500 and headed west with his Volkswagen and dog (pretty much everything he owned) – not sure how this would turn out. After applying at every place on the west coast that grew anything that lived in water, Jim ended up a private trout farm near Puyalup, WA. He worked for dirt wages but was getting the experience. Jim met his wife, Danna-Ben, here and they had their first child.
A few years later Jim answered an ad in a fisheries magazine for a fish culturist position in Cordova, AK (which he took as Cordova, Arkansas…). Along with his (now pregnant) wife and daughter, they moved to a remote island in Prince William Sound and spent 2 years there working at the Port San Juan Hatchery. At the time, AK salmon aquaculture was very much in its infancy. The staff was trying ground-breaking techniques, taking over 100 million pink salmon eggs in a very short time- not something that had been done before but is now standard procedure around the state. Jim’s son was born while they were living here.
After two years, the family had an opportunity to move to Sitka where the newly formed Northern SE Regional Aquaculture Association was located. Jim spent the next 23 years helping to develop the Medvejie Salmon Hatchery. This was a very rewarding career as it quickly materialized into a lucrative new fishery in the Sitka area. The work was great as it required being outdoors, was physically challenging and required applied research. The staff at the hatchery was dedicated to the project which made going to work every day quite enjoyable.
Jim Joined the Fish Tech Program in 2009 and continues to enjoy interacting with students, providing some outreach, especially to rural communities, and helping to develop the program. Jim and his wife have recently joined the Snowbird bandwagon, and have moved to the southwest, but Jim continues to teach courses by distance.