Paula Cullenberg will be the new director of Alaska Sea Grant, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, starting in July 2013.
Cullenberg replaces retiring director David Christie, who has led Alaska Sea Grant since 2008. “The extension faculty, our educators, staff and research partners have inspired me,” said Christie. “They convey science from the laboratory to meet the real world needs of small businesses, fishermen, managers and many others. As director, it has been my privilege to ensure they have what they need to do their work.”
Cullenberg takes the helm after serving as Alaska Sea Grant associate director since 2007, and as Marine Advisory Program leader since 2004. MAP is Alaska’s marine resource extension program with fourteen faculty members living and working in nine coastal communities. In 2010, Cullenberg led a community-based effort that resulted in legislative funding for six MAP agents located in Nome, Dillingham, Unalaska, Kodiak, Cordova and Ketchikan.
“Alaska Sea Grant is a positive force in our state,” said Cullenberg. “We reach out to all of our coastal communities and work with local residents on pressing issues such as increased shipping impacts on subsistence resources up north, concerns about the next generation of fishermen and seafood processors, and shellfish farming as a means of economic diversification. We support students, contribute new knowledge through our research and offer resources to our teachers.”
Cullenberg will continue and strengthen the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit, Alaska Seafood Processing Leadership Institute, international Wakefield fisheries symposium, Alaska Seas and Rivers K-8 online curriculum, and educating Alaskans via Sea Grant publications and videos with an annual distribution of nearly 40,000 items.
In addition, Cullenberg plans to focus her attention on community-based monitoring, creating student marine internship programs statewide, and further developing Alaska Sea Grant’s unique research and graduate student fellowship program.
Cullenberg also serves as co-chair of the state’s Fisheries, Seafood and Maritime Initiative, a top priority of University of Alaska President Pat Gamble, in meeting the workforce needs of these major economic sectors.
Prior to leading the Marine Advisory Program, Cullenberg directed the North Pacific Fishery Observer Training Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and was the Bristol Bay MAP agent. She is a 30-year Alaska resident and participates in the Bristol Bay setnet fishery with her family.
Ginny Eckert, University of Alaska Fairbanks fisheries associate professor, also will join Alaska Sea Grant as associate director for research.
Alaska Sea Grant is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration–University of Alaska Fairbanks partnership that supports marine research and provides extension services to coastal communities around Alaska and is one of 32 Sea Grant programs throughout the nation.