State Fellow Spotlight: Hannah Wilson

Jesse Gordon contributed to this story.

Hannah Wilson saw the Alaska Sea Grant State Fellowship as an exciting opportunity to apply her academic background and dedication to place-based conservation in Alaska. “The Alaska Sea Grant fellowship sounded like exactly what I wanted to be doing. Specifically, facilitating collaboration between different marine and environmental entities to advance truly sustainable community development, and learn about the behind-the-scenes nuts and bolts of natural resource policy in Alaska.”  

The Alaska Sea Grant State Fellowship offers graduate students opportunities to work with state and federal agencies and other organizations on marine-related programs and projects. Hannah has worked with Alaska Sea Grant and the NOAA Fisheries regional office in Juneau, Alaska on a variety of mariculture projects and played a key role in creating the Alaska Aquaculture Permitting Portal. The permitting portal helps aquatic farmers navigate state and federal permitting processes.

In addition to her work with the aquaculture permitting portal project, Hannah is involved in direct communication and outreach with aquatic farmers and state and federal agency staff and helping to connect these groups with funding and other resources.

Hannah graduated from Whitman College with an undergraduate degree in geology and environmental studies. She guided wildlife viewing and kayak trips in Glacier Bay National Park and Admiralty Island National Monument and worked with a variety of environmental nonprofit organizations in Juneau, Alaska. She decided to pursue a master’s degree to explore the relationships between people and place in Alaska through the lens of social science. She earned her master’s degree in natural resource conservation from the University of Montana, where her research focused on collaborative management and conflict in the Tongass National Forest.

Woman with dog in mountains.
Photo courtesy Hannah Wilson.

Reflecting on her experiences as a fellow, Wilson shared that the most meaningful aspect of her work has been the opportunity to build relationships with aquatic farmers in southeast Alaska. “Despite challenges with the Covid pandemic, I’ve been really happy that I was still able to get to know and build relationships with farmers.”

Aquaculture was new to Hannah at the beginning of her fellowship.  Since then she has become increasingly invested in contributing to the industry.

“Aquaculture is exciting because it’s so new, and there are countless opportunities for growth. It has been a meaningful way to connect my interests in climate change adaptation, community resilience, and food systems in Alaska. It’s a really innovative, fast-changing field to be in right now.”

Alaska Sea Grant is currently accepting applications for the 2022–2023 class of Alaska Sea Grant State Fellows. Applications are due February 11 at 5pm.

Learn more about the Alaska Sea Grant State Fellowship and how to apply. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Alaska Sea Grant director Ginny Eckert with questions about the program and application process.