Meet our fourth AmeriCorps VISTA!

Brynn Presler-Marshall is now serving as the fourth AmeriCorps VISTA with the Hoonah Indian Association Environmental program and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. She’ll be focused on natural resource monitoring and youth education, so feel free to stop by the HIA Environmental office to say hi or send her an email at!

Favorite thing about Alaska? The mountains! I haven’t been here for very long but I have a hard time imagining that looking at and hiking in the mountains ever gets old.

Favorite Food? Vietnamese Spring Rolls or Korean Bibimbap

Why did you choose Hoonah? After finishing my degree I knew I wanted to do something more hands on and connected to other people than the work I had been doing. Hoonah seemed like the perfect place to learn about environmental monitoring and community led efforts, and to hopefully use my science background to help others.

Hometown: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Favorite Animal:  Whales! I’ve seen more whales in the past week than I had previously in my entire life and I look forward to spending the next year looking for more.

What are you excited to do? I’m really just looking forward to getting my hands dirty and learning about the environment of Southeast Alaska. I’m also excited to go hiking and gather wild food this summer.  

What did you study in college and what was your favorite class?

I just finished my master’s in physics with a concentration in planetary science. My research focused on comet spectroscopy and I spent many nights staying up late to use the telescopes. My favorite class was definitely Observation Techniques, since I loved the hands-on aspect of getting to use the telescopes to collect my own data. I also really loved Classical Mechanics and getting to build intuition before doing the math to explain why things move the way they do.

Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled to?

Arecibo, Puerto Rico. I spent a summer interning at the radio telescope and living in a tropical rainforest, which was both amazingly beautiful and scientifically fascinating. Between getting to climb up the support structure for the then-largest radio telescope in the world and spending the weekends exploring the forest, it was a great way to spend a summer. It also helped prepare me for all the rain here in Hoonah!

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