Working Group Bios

Taylor Brelsford has worked in applied environmental anthropology in Alaska, focusing on strengthening the standing for Alaska Native peoples to speak in their “direct voice” in state and federal resource management. This included an initial decade in research, tribal program advocacy, and university teaching based in Western Alaska, followed by 15 years in the Federal Subsistence Management Program, developing the innovative regional advisory council program and the social science component of an interdisciplinary subsistence fisheries research program. During the past decade, Mr. Brelsford led several large-scale environmental reviews of major development projects affecting Alaska Native communities.

Caroline Brown is a cultural anthropologist who serves as a Subsistence Resource Specialist for the Division of Subsistence of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Her research for the last 15 years has focused primarily on the subsistence practices and patterns of interior Alaskan Athabascan communities along the Yukon River and its tributaries, including estimating harvests and harvest patterns and documenting traditional knowledge. Current projects include investigating climate change effects on subsistence access, the documentation of sharing, customary trade, and other exchange practices within Yukon River subsistence economies, and mapping patterns and trends in Yukon River salmon harvests by rural communities. She serves as the only social scientist on the Joint Technical Committee that advises the Yukon River Panel, the international body that allocates salmon between Canada and the United States via the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Caroline holds a Masters of Arts from and is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology Department at the University of Chicago.

Dr. James A. Fall is a cultural anthropologist who serves as the research director for the Division of Subsistence of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He has conducted extensive research on contemporary patterns of subsistence fishing and hunting in Alaska communities and authored or co-authored dozens of technical reports and regulatory board presentations. For over four decades, he has also conducted research about Dena’ina Athabascan culture and history. He is the co-author, with linguist James Kari, of Shem Pete’s Alaska: The Territory of the Upper Cook Inlet Dena’ina (revised second edition 2016).  He was also co-curator, with Suzi Jones and Aaron Leggett, of Dena’inaq’ Huch’ulyeshi: The Dena’ina Way of Living, a major exhibition presented at  the Anchorage Museum in 2013/2014, and helped to prepare and edit the exhibition’s catalog.

Nicole Kimball is the Vice President of Alaska operations for the Pacific Seafood Processors Association (PSPA). PSPA is a seafood industry trade association, founded in 1914, comprised of at-sea vessels and shore-based seafood processing plants in eighteen Alaska communities. She previously served as Federal Fisheries Coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, where she represented the state in regional, national, and international fisheries venues, and served on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Previous to this she worked as a fisheries analyst for the Council for over 12 years. Nicole received a BS in natural resource management at the University of Maine, and a masters in environmental policy and renewable resource management from Tufts University. Born in Ketchikan, she lives in Anchorage with her husband and daughter.

Dr. Meagan Krupa is an EPSCoR Research Professional with the Department of Biological Science at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Previously, Meagan was an Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Alaska Pacific University, where she taught courses in Environmental Law, Water Resources Management, and Ecohydrology. Past research includes a Fulbright grant to study the socio-economic impacts of salmon farming on local communities in Chile and the challenges of urban fisheries management. Her current research focuses on participatory scenario planning (Salmon 2050) and the role of stakeholders in Alaskan fisheries governance.

Bert Lewis manages commercial salmon fisheries in Prince William Sound/Copper River and Bristol Bay. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game incorporates basic fisheries research into their constitutional mandate for sustainable fisheries management. For salmon, sustainable management is based on population estimates derived from mark-recapture, weirs, aerial surveys, and counting towers combined with population age and size structure. This information facilitates understanding of salmon productivity patterns that guide resource management policy and decision making. Bert’s research experience has focused on many aspects of salmon ecology including –lake and stream trophic structure, paleolimnolgy, size and age patterns, hatchery and wild interactions, and spawning population monitoring. This serves as a template for his commercial fisheries management responsibilities. Education: B.S. University of Colorado, M.S. Utah State University.

Dr. Stephanie Quinn-Davidson received her PhD in Limnology and Marine Science from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She initially began a career in academia and taught in the Environmental Studies and Biology departments at St. Olaf College in Minnesota for three years, where she developed and ran a National Science Foundation Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates program for Native American and tribal college students. However, a strong interest in applied fisheries and Native resource issues led Dr. Quinn-Davidson to look to Alaska for a change in her career path. She started her new career with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game as the Summer Season Fishery Research Biologist on the Yukon River in 2012. She oversaw all research and assessment related to Yukon River Chinook salmon and summer chum salmon. In 2014, Dr. Quinn-Davidson became the Summer Season Fishery Management Biologist on the Yukon River for the State. She traveled throughout the Yukon River drainage, working with local stakeholders to help facilitate an open dialogue about fisheries management. She also served on the Joint Technical Committee for the U.S.-Canada Yukon River Panel for four years. Most recently, Dr. Quinn-Davidson accepted a position as the Director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, which seeks to establish a shared, equal fishery management system among the Tribes and state and federal agencies. Dr. Quinn-Davidson is originally from Wisconsin and grew up fishing and hunting with her family. She is an enrolled member of the Brotherton Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and is also of Menominee Indian descent.

Dr. Dan Rinella is a senior fisheries biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Anchorage Field Office and, previously, lead aquatic ecologist with the Alaska Center for Conservation Science at the University of Alaska Anchorage.  His research involves the ecology and conservation of Pacific salmon and their habitats, and has recently focused on understanding how changing hydrologic and thermal regimes may influence the productivity of Alaskan salmon populations.

Julie Raymond-Yakoubian is an anthropologist and the Social Science Program Director at Kawerak Incorporated in Nome, Alaska. Julie has spent the past nine years collaborating with tribes in the Bering Strait region of Alaska on traditional knowledge documentation projects and advocacy efforts. Some recent collaborations include documentation of ice seal and walrus habitat, hunting areas, and traditional knowledge; salmon and non-salmon fish traditional knowledge and mapping; traditional knowledge and use of ocean currents. Julie’s is currently collaborating with 16 Bering Strait tribes to document and examine residents’ “knowledge, beliefs and experiences of the supernatural environment.” The Social Science program strives to do collaborative work that will be beneficial to our tribes, that produces products that will be of interest and use to our tribes and others, that makes a contribution to cultural heritage preservation, and that addresses ongoing issues in our region.

Andrea Akalleq Sanders, Yup’ik, was born and raised in Bethel Alaska.  Her maternal grandparents are Katie Cleveland and the late Ham Cleveland Sr. both originally from the Southwest village of Eek, later raising their family in Quinhagak.  Her parents are Stella Cleveland of Quinhagak and Brian Sanders of Eagle River. Andrea is honored to currently serve as Director of the Alaska Native Policy Center within First Alaskans Institute.  As Policy Director, Andrea will help develop and connect policy ideas with people, integrate indigenous ways of knowing into policy making, and help advance issues impacting Alaska Natives and all Alaskans to build a strong and vibrant foundation for future generations. Andrea received her Bachelors of Arts degree in government from Georgetown University, and most recently worked as a legislative assistant for Senator Mark Begich in Washington DC, as lead advisor for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and lead for telecommunication issues in the Senate Commerce Committee. She is a tribal member of the Native Village of Kwinhagak and a shareholder of Qanirtuuq Corporation and Calista Corporation.

Ben Stevens is Koyukon Athabascan from Stevens Village, Alaska. Ben was raised along the Yukon River, spending summers in the traditional family fishcamp. He is the Director of the Hunting and Fishing Task Force at Tanana Chiefs Conference, advocating for hunting and fishing rights of Alaska Natives. He was instrumental in developing the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission to increase the voice of Subsistence fishers along the river. Ben previously served as Executive Director of the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, a tribal consortium in Alaska’s eastern interior. Prior to serving as the Executive Director, Ben was CATG’s Policy Analyst and Self-Governance Coordinator. Ben has also served in regional and state-wide capacities involving health care and natural resource program development. In his hometown of Stevens Village, he helped the Tribal Council develop a Tribal natural resource management program designed to protect and preserve resources the Tribe relies upon. Ben is an active hunter, fisherman, and traditional drummer.

Alex Whiting developed the Native Village of Kotzebue’s Environmental Program in 1997 and has directed the program as the Environmental Specialist since then. A large part of the focus has been researching the ecology of Kotzebue Sound and integrating indigenous knowledge and local experts into scientific research projects. The program is well known for developing community based seal research projects, including being the first to successfully satellite tag bearded seals in Alaska. His work at the Tribe received recognition for Environment Excellence by AFE in 2011 and he received the Denali Award from AFN in 2015. He obtained a Fisheries Certificate from Sheldon Jackson College where he worked in the hatchery raising king, coho, pink, and chum salmon, in addition to maintaining the saltwater aquaria for exhibition and educational purposes. He has also worked in commercial fisheries in Sitka and Kotzebue, as a technician for ADF&G in salmon and herring fisheries, as a flyfishing guide in Bristol Bay and the Kobuk River, in fish processing plants in Sitka and Kotzebue, and is the owner of Arctic Circle Fly Shop and has a line of Alaska fishing, hunting and trapping t-shirts under the Arctic Man moniker.