2012 graduates

Class of 2012

Jordan Chalfant. 
I am a shameless natural history fanatic, taxidermist,
horticulturalist, botany-head, bird-geek, and museum-rat, suffering from the tragic ailment of falling in love with everything that I explore, from the tropics to the coast of Maine. Born and raised in the gray city of Cleveland, Ohio, the natural world is still new and exciting to me, so I haven’t yet focused my interests, but I think it would be cool to be a part-time botanist and a part-time taxidermist when I grow up.
I can usually be found in the campus greenhouse where I take care of the plants and teach new students how to listen to plants and make them happy. If I’m not in the greenhouse I am in the collections facility busily cataloging, organizing, and creating new bird and mammal study skins for COA’s collection. I am passionately constructing new taxidermy dioramas for the Dorr Museum of Natural History—projects underway include a river otter, hummingbird, and broad-winged hawk. I think that it is extremely important to keep the
dying art of museum-quality taxidermy alive!
In the summer, I cannot be kept indoors, so I have worked as a horticulturalist and invasive plants intern at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and an intern at the Wild Gardens of Acadia. I’ve also spent a lot of time tromping about doing botanical inventories and surveys (both inland and on outer islands) with Jill Weber (botanist, ecologist, and one of the authors of Plants of Acadia National Park). I am now making a foray into the bird world—this summer I will be counting seabirds on Petit Manan, and in the fall I will be mist-netting birds on Great Duck Island as part of a migration study being undertaken by the University of Maine, Acadia National Park, and COA.

Marina Garland. I’ve been in love with the ocean since before I can remember. My grandparents took me sailing to Europe with them when I was a toddler, and since then I’ve had the adventuring bug. I hiked the Appalachian Trail as a freshman in high school, then worked as a farmhand in Vermont, and loved both, but it wasn’t long until I returned to the ocean. As a homeschooler through my high school years, I worked as a seabird rehabilitator in Florida, volunteered with the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies humpback disentanglement team, and sailed on the schooner the Spirit of Massachusetts helping to document humpback whales and their new calves. Since coming to COA I have been in love with marine biology and have taken classes on marine mammals, fisheries management, and invertebrate zoology. I also sailed with Sea Education Association on the brigantine Corwith Cramer, and conducted a survey on plastic and tar pollution in the Sargasso Sea. Back on shore in Maine I’m still interested in plastic pollution and am collecting samples and beginning to map microplastic distribution in the Gulf of Maine.

Rachel Guttmacher. Rachel has yet to give me any bio info to put up on the webpage, so I guess I’ll just have to make something up here.  Rachel has become a Geographic Information System (GIS) expert, and will be off spring term working with Michael Baker Jr. Inc. which is a consulting firm to both the private and public sector.  She will be working on a large mapping project as part of the National Pipeline Mapping Project.  Last summer Rachel volunteered in the offices of the Penobscot East Resource Center where she was a jack-of-all-trades office worker and got the feel for a community-based non-profit organization.  She has also worked as a teaching assistant in the GIS I class and the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor.

Michelle Klein – I spent the summer of 2010 at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica doing a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program studying parental investment behavior in cichlid fish with Dr. Ron Coleman from California State University, Sacramento. This past fall I was an EcoLeague exchange student at Prescott College in Arizona where I studied marine conservation at the Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies, Prescott College’s field station located in the Midriff Island Region of the Gulf of California. This summer I will do another REU program at Duke University. I am planning to return to Mexico to complete my senior project in the fall of 2011. Michelle finished an internship this summer at the Duke Marine Lab and is continuing there in the fall to work on her senior project.

Samuli Sinasalo. I am Samuli Sinisalo from Finland. I really like COA for the all the freedom you have and the doors it opens. I have had the chance to explore the world of politics and climate change. Not only have I had the chance to take classes that delve deep into those issues, but I’ve also had the chance to get some real-life experience.  On my first year I joined a student group that was focusing on the international climate negotiations. We studied the issues, raised funds and finally got to go to Copenhagen for the biggest UN climate conference ever. It was a blast.  Currently I’m doing my internship in Finland, working for the Social Democratic Party, putting into practice the knowledge and skills that I’ve acquired in COA. As the winter moves ahead, and the spring and elections draw closer, all that becomes really valuable.  And the best thing is, that I’ve still got another year of COA ahead.  Update March 2011: Samuli has teamed up with five other Finnish students to  create Mundus Socialis, a summer camp for Finnish youth, receiving a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant from Kathryn Davis and nearly $8000 more from the European Union’s Youth in Action Program.  The nine-day camp will be composed of 25 to 30 participants ages 15 to 20 from different backgrounds and age groups from across Finland. Each day of the camp will have a specific topic, among them democracy, civic participation, environment, media, human rights, education, the welfare state, world economy, and the role of science and arts in affecting the world.