Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Kayla Drumm has the distinction of being the first graduate of the joint UAS/UAF Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Ocean Sciences degree program.
Established in 2017, the Juneau-based program takes full advantage of faculty and resources at UAF, intimate class sizes at UAS, and the natural laboratory of Southeast Alaska. Students in the program have numerous opportunities to engage in real-world science with top faculty, and easy access to the ocean, freshwater lakes and streams, the intertidal habitat, and wetlands.
“Growing up in Alaska, I have always been interested in marine life, especially fish,” notes Drumm. “I've always planned on staying in Alaska and have known I wanted to work in the fisheries field. I had originally enrolled in the Marine Biology Program. I started looking into the fisheries program and decided to switch to Fisheries in the Spring of 2018. It felt like a much better fit. Later that summer I found out I was pregnant with my daughter and the mix of in-person and online classes really helped me finish my degree and succeed. I would like to thank my family, friends, and professors for all the support and encouragement. I am very excited to have my degree in a field that I love and looking forward to where it will take me.”
Dr. Mike Navarro, the UAS coordinator implementing the program, remarked that it is gratifying working with colleagues at both UAS and UAF, seeing the joint degree grow from an idea into reality. Currently, there are 12 students in the program with new students expected to sign up for the fall semester.
“Many of these students share similar backgrounds as Kayla,” said Navarro. “They are working hard to earn this degree for themselves, and like Kayla, each brings with them a valuable perspective to fisheries science.”
Navarro congratulates Drumm, who he considers a trailblazer for this degree.
“I expect she will continue to take this valuable perspective with her forward in her career in fisheries sciences.”
The program is designed for students interested in pursuing graduate study, or seeking positions with the state or federal government fisheries, natural resources conservation, management agencies, and more.
Dr. David Tallmon, Professor of Biology, noted, "Kayla has shown great tenacity in completing this Fisheries program despite unexpected events and challenges. I am proud of her for persevering and being the first graduate of this new joint program. Kayla has earned her degree with hard work and should be commended on her graduation."
UAS Chancellor Rick Caulfield also congratulated Drumm and noted that re-establishing the undergraduate fisheries degree at UAS has been a longtime goal.
“Given the prominence of fisheries in Southeast Alaska’s economy,” he observed, “it only makes sense that UAS would offer this degree here in our region.”