We had a chance to check in with Morgan Gantz, Park Planner and Compliance Coordinator at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, to learn about her summer working with PWSC intern Joe Kay.
Kira Walters comes from a Coast Guard family. She has lived in so many different places, from Maine to South Carolina to Guam, Virginia, Washington, and even Alaska (when she was a child). Now she is back in Alaska to attend PWSC, while her family is in Honolulu where her younger brother is receiving treatment for leukemia.
In honor of September being National Suicide Prevention Month, PWSC is taking part in the national conversations happening this month around suicide prevention.
PWSC student Matt Schiffner is about to end his 6-week internship with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Glennallen Field Office and return to PWSC. Before he returns to school to complete his outdoor leadership program, Matt took time to share what a great experience he had during his internship and all the support he received from the staff at BLM.
Having lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, for the past six years, Erin Hickok is PWSC’s newest Health and Fitness Center Coordinator and is eager to work with the college and Valdez community. With a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Marshall University, Erin has a wealth of knowledge at her disposal. She is also currently working on a doctorate in health and human performance through Concordia University. In Hawaii, Erin owned a running and training company and worked for a university as their head of strength and conditioning for their athletic teams.
Sophia Palomar just graduated high school in May of 2020. A great accomplishment on its own, but for her, that was only part of it. She also completed the PWSC’s Certified Nursing Aide (CNA) course and passed her exam. Now she is working, along with her father, as a CNA at Providence Valdez Extended Care Center.
As things start gearing up for the fall semester, Steve Johnson took some time to tell us about the Web Engineering Certificate that is now being offered online to students through PWSC. This certificate program can be completed in 3 semesters.
As part of a creative writing class, Dr. Dennis Humphrey and his class collaborated to create a collection of fairy tales with Alaskan connections. He then edited the collection and published it through Amazon's self-publishing website, KDP, and plans to repeat this process in the fall (with a science-fiction theme).
Not only does Joe get to see the wonders of the park, but he gets to live and explore among the Wrangell Mountains for three months while he participates in the internship. While mapping trail conditions, Joe spent five days camping in the park where he was able to put a few of his PWSC outdoor courses to use.
Finding good and affordable childcare and having the tools to ensure that care promotes their children’s physical and intellectual development, can be difficult for many working parents, and Valdez, Alaska, is no exception. Understanding this challenge, PWSC’s Dr. Teresa Barton and Megan Gunderson are working on a program to create, as Megan puts it, “a wider network of childcare in Valdez,” and to establish workshops and classes that focus on promoting children’s “physical and intellectual development.” To this end, they’ve created the Early Childhood Development Project.