Employee Spotlight: Katie Bobowski

by Vicki Heisser  |   

Copper Basin Extension Center Coordinator Katie Bobowski knows a thing or two about packing up her family household and moving to a new city, in a new state. Before moving to Alaska in 2016, Katie and her family had lived in 8 states and in at least 20 different homes. She shares, “Graduate school and federal jobs have caused us to move a lot.” She goes on to explain, “We have three children that were each born in a different state and are all currently living in different states (son is in graduate school in Colorado, middle daughter is an undergraduate in Washington, and youngest daughter is an 8th grader who is homeschooled).”

Having lived in so many different places, Katie has had just as many personal and professional changes. “I have worn many hats in my professional and personal life: forestry technician with USFS, research technician with ARS, Mom, 4-H leader, board member, science teacher, home school teacher (and I continue to homeschool my daughter), and now my current position with PWSC.”

In her position with the Extension Center, Katie is required to have working knowledge of the University of Alaska system and to help support past, current, and future students in the Copper Basin navigate the university system. From registration and financial aid, to test proctoring and advising, Katie is there to assist students. She credits the PWSC staff for giving her expert support in helping students meet their higher education needs. Beyond PWSC, Katie also works with the Copper River School District in supporting the students who are a part of the dual-credit program. She is also involved in community outreach: “Perhaps one of my favorite parts of my position is community outreach and education. I enjoy hearing from community members about what they would like to learn more about and then finding instructors and organizing special-interest courses such as Writing Memoirs and Fur Sewing.”

When she’s not working, Katie and her family enjoy exploring the many incredible opportunities this state has to offer. An avid angler, Katie shares, “My whole family is passionate about fishing and moving to Alaska has been amazing with all the fishing opportunities. One of my favorite things has been going out to the Klutina River at midnight on the summer solstice to fish for red salmon.” 

Katie is really taking the time to get to know Alaska and to appreciate the people and sense of place. “Living in rural Alaska has made me realize the many things that are taken for granted in many places in the Lower 48. People here are amazingly resilient and the community supports its members because we are the first line of emergency support.”

When asked about any upcoming events in the Copper Basin area, Katie was excited to share that she and others are preparing for the Copper Basin 300 (a sled dog race) Community Dinner. “We will be hosting the dinner at the Glennallen campus. Last year we fed almost 175 people!” The Copper Basin Campus is also busy putting together a list of new courses for the community. “In 2020 we hope to have a wide range of courses offered that may include topics like soft skills, writing memoirs, energy efficiency and (the always popular) fur sewing. We are also working on a week-long professional development course for Alaska teachers called Environmental Science for Teachers. We piloted the course in 2019 with 7 teachers that went off with tremendous success.”

For more information on events and course offerings in the Copper Basin, please contact Katie at 907-822-3673.