Two new staff have joined Alaska Sea Grant and are based at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center (KSMSC).
Ashley Dunker is the Alaska Sea Grant program and event coordinator, responsible for statewide program and event coordination, including supporting KSMSC activities.
Caleb Taylor is Alaska Sea Grant’s new seafood workforce development coordinator. He provides support for statewide seafood processing workforce development, including the Alaska Seafood School.
“Both Ashley and Caleb bring valuable skills and experience to Alaska Sea Grant,” said director Ginny Eckert. “We couldn’t ask for two more qualified individuals to support our programs and workforce development activities.”
Dunker earned a Bachelor’s degree in wildlife science from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in her hometown of Syracuse, New York. She relocated to Alaska in 2011 when her husband accepted a job in Nome.
After a few seasons working as a fisheries technician counting fish for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Dunker was hired as a fisheries biologist with the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC) and most recently served as NSEDC’s fisheries research and development director. Her work involved overseeing staff, programs, and budgets, coordinating and monitoring fisheries research, and ensuring accuracy and safety in fisheries activities. Her experience planning, directing personnel and research projects, and coordinating activities in remote Alaskan locations will translate well to her work at Alaska Sea Grant.
Dunker noted that she is very interested in fish and fisheries, and especially aquaculture. “I’m excited to be working with Alaska Sea Grant and to have this opportunity to learn while contributing to the work of this organization and its research, education and outreach mission.”
Taylor looks forward to learning and contributing to Alaska Sea Grant programs, although he isn’t new to Sea Grant. After graduating with a Master’s degree from Louisiana State University, Taylor was awarded a highly competitive Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship in Washington, D.C. As a fellow, he served with the U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System as staff lead on Arctic marine transportation, environmental stewardship, innovative science and ocean policy.
Taylor has previously lived and worked various jobs in Kodiak, including as a Dungeness crab deckhand, landing craft deckhand, and briefly as a longshoreman. Originally from southern Mississippi, he experienced the lasting impacts of Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He earned a Bachelor’s in marine biology from the University of Southern Mississippi before attending graduate school to study renewable natural resources.
His academic background includes research on blue crab population dynamics and gear trade-offs for long-term fisheries monitoring, as well as coastal ecology, fisheries, and natural resource and ocean policy. Taylor enjoys writing, and his science communications skills will be an asset for Alaska Sea Grant’s work sharing research and outreach with coastal communities.
“I believe this position will allow me to utilize my previous experience to make a difference for something I am very passionate about: sustainable economic development for our coastal communities,” said Taylor. “I am thrilled to be working with and for the most prolific seafood industry in the nation by supporting and improving seafood workforce development opportunities for Alaska.”