Two new staff have joined Alaska Sea Grant and are based at the program’s office in downtown Anchorage.
Trinda Huffman is Alaska Sea Grant’s new administrative assistant, joining the team to support business, administration and reporting. Huffman manages the Anchorage office, including planning and support for Anchorage-based events and activities.
Kate Barber is joining the communications team as the program’s science writer and public information officer. Her role includes media relations, working with Alaska Sea Grant staff and faculty to develop and share stories about Alaska Sea Grant-funded research, the work of Alaska Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory Program, Alaska Sea Grant State Fellows and research trainees, and events and activities around the state. Barber also assists with the program’s state and federal reporting.
“Trinda and Kate are wonderful new additions to our Anchorage office,” said director Ginny Eckert. “It was a pretty quiet place during COVID, and I am thrilled that this office is now fully staffed. Trinda and Kate serve our program statewide and bring diverse experience to benefit Alaska Sea Grant.”
Huffman grew up on the East Coast and earned an associates degree in business administration from the National Business College. After college, she came to Alaska and fell in love with her new surroundings. Huffman worked for Princess Tours, Denali Park Resorts, and spent a summer at Glacier Bay Lodge in Gustavus, Alaska. In Southeast Alaska, she volunteered with recycling programs and helped put together a humpback whale skeleton for educational use.
In addition to her role at Alaska Sea Grant, Huffman is currently working towards a bachelors degree in professional studies (business) through Brigham Young University, Idaho. Afterwards Huffman hopes to pursue a master’s degree in anthropology or ancient studies and civilization. “Continuing my education is an ongoing goal,” she said.
Huffman enjoys spending time with family through traveling, cooking and hiking. She also developed an interest in learning Spanish while teaching English in Costa Rica. “While I’m not fluent, I really enjoyed learning Spanish while helping my daughter with her homework,” Huffman said.
Like Huffman, Barber comes to Alaska Sea Grant with a varied background and interests. Originally from California and Virginia, Barber has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in international public relations and global communications management from Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. Barber has worked in communications for federal and nonprofit organizations, including the U.S. State Department, Federal Emergency Management Agency, American Heart Association, and Global Visionaries.
Barber moved to Alaska in 2013 for a summer job in Denali National Park. At the end of the season, she moved to Anchorage to work as a writing and research specialist for FEMA. Barber went on to work for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium as a technical writer, where she learned to communicate complex topics to broad audiences.
In addition to studying in the U.K., Barber has extensive international experience. She has studied abroad in Poland focusing on photojournalism, worked as a public affairs intern at the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, taught English in Japan through the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program, and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda as a teacher trainer. Barber also engaged in wildlife research, including a mixed-taxonomy internship at a biological field station in Costa Rica, and as a research assistant in the Kalahari region of South Africa.
“Several of my recent positions have been overseas,” Barber explains. “While I loved each experience, Alaska is home and where I want to reestablish myself. It feels good to be here.”
Barber volunteers with wild bird rehabilitation at Bird TLC in Anchorage, and her hobbies include hiking and camping, photography, cooking, fishing, berry picking, and spending time with family.
Barber noted that she is passionate about wildlife and environmental conservation, especially in Alaska. “Ensuring sustainable use and conservation of Alaska’s coastal and marine resources ultimately benefits both Alaskans and marine life that depends on these spaces. It was this mission and work that drew me to work for Alaska Sea Grant.”