Student spotlight: Frank Schweers

by Vicki Heisser  |   

Frank Schweers is a full-time outdoor leadership student interning with the National Park Service (NPS) at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Under the guidance of Dr. Amanda Glazier, Frank is also working on an independent research project.

The research project involves interpreting data for the Chugach Regional Resources Commission (CRRC), collected by Tribal citizen scientists and other volunteers for CRRC's Alutiiq Pride Marine Institute, which is used in their Chugach Regional Ocean Monitoring (CROM) database. Using GIS (Geographic Information System) software, Frank's primary focus is to create maps that allow users to visualize ocean pH, temperature, phytoplankton counts, and other changes over time. With his GIS technician skills, Frank can input and manipulate data to develop comprehensive visual representations.

Frank's skills have improved significantly since his internship with NPS, and he believes he wouldn't have been able to undertake this research project a year ago. Though the project requires a lot of effort, Frank has learned a great deal about working with data and appreciating the work of citizen scientists.

He recommends that others considering independent research projects take the opportunity to grow their skills and find real-world applications for what they have learned.