Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
I’m working on getting my pilot’s license. I enjoy flying in small planes to a great extent and having my pilot’s license will be an extremely helpful tool in a biologist position with the State of Alaska because I would be able to fly all my own surveys.
What drew you to the Caleb Scholars Program?
Do you have a personal story about meeting Caleb or connection to his legacy?
I knew Pungowiyi is a name from St. Lawrence Island, but I didn’t know much about Caleb until I got into the Program.
What does marine conservation mean to you?
How do you engage with marine conservation at school and/or at home?
To me, marine conservation means a healthy subsistence lifestyle by using the animals and protecting them. Combining traditions with science and research is a great start towards effective conservation.
Marine conservation is my summer job. During the summer months I am a fisheries technician. I have some first hand experience with the research and conservation of the five species of pacific salmon. In school I am majoring in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, and getting a minor in Fisheries. With this degree I would be able to come back home to Nome and help do my part in benefiting the region’s terrestrial and aquatic wildlife issues.
What are your future educational and career goals?
What are the top three things that are moving you toward those goals?
My career goal is to become a biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. While I’m in school, I’d like to research the possibility of transplanting Dall Sheep into the Kigluiak Mountains.
Being able to conduct my own credible research on this topic is a large feat in itself. Anyone can say that transplanting sheep to this region of Alaska would be great or terrible, but actually being able to tell whether or not it would benefit the region without destroying the ecosystem before actually transplanting the sheep to the region is another question. Being able to do this type of research and predicting the ecology of these sheep is something that would give me the satisfaction of a job well done.
The idea of transplanting Dall sheep into the Kigluiak Mountains would be an amazing graduate school project for me to continue my education beyond a bachelor’s and up to a master’s or PhD level of education.
Do you have a memorable story from your past when you felt a relationship to the ocean?
My family’s camp is at Woolley Lagoon. One day, the water was so calm it looked like a glass mirror. I was out on the ocean in an 18 foot canoe that was outfitted with a 2.3 horsepower outboard motor. Being out at Woolley lagoon, you are quite a ways away from Cape Woolley, so I decided to drive the canoe all the way over to Cape Woolley just to go for a little canoe ride. On the return trip, the little motor ran out of gas so I had to paddle our way back to our cabin which was at least another 5 miles away.