TA at Work

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Technical Assistants at Work in Micronesia and South Pacific

The Group

American Samoa

Jen Shaffer is a graduate student in the Environmental Studies Department at the UO. In June, she will begin collaborating with the Power Authority to design a public education campaign promoting a new energy efficiency building code. Jen will use her experience in environmental research to participate in the exploration of alternative energy and appropriate technology. She is looking forward to contributing to the awareness of environmental issues and how daily decisions impact the environment.

Under the auspices of the Coastal Management Program, Ethan Taylor will assist the Public Awareness Coordinator with an environmental survey and assessment. The results of the survey will be used to guide local conservation efforts. Ethan recently completed his first year as a graduate student in the Environmental Studies department at the UO. Prior to graduate school, Ethan was a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama where he worked in a small rural village as an environmental educator.

John Black will be working with the Historic Preservation Office to implement a Geographic Information System. For the past year, he has served as a computer specialist for the Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management, where he is pursuing a Master of Community and Regional Planning. John's experience overseas includes teaching history and English in Tokyo and traveling extensively.

Jen Shaffer, Ethan Taylor, John Black


Kim Grover will be working with Commerce and Industry to assist in the promotion of the benefits of sustainable ecotourism development. Specifically, she and her counterpart will be assessing potential nature-based tourism development. Kim is a masters degree student in Anthropology at Oregon State University. Her experience with ecotourism was gained while working for an ecotour company in Colorado.

This year, the Kosrae Island Resource Management Program and Malem Municipality will receive assistance from Jessica Cote concerning coastal erosion and sedimentation. Jessica is working towards her masters degree in Ocean Engineering at Oregon State University, focusing on nearshore processes. By combining her marine resource management field experience and engineering knowledge, Jessica hopes to help the environmental planners of Kosrae to implement a proactive solution to slow the erosion of their coastline.

Kristin Bonner is a graduate student in Community and Regional Planning at the UO with a focus on training and community development. She will train employees of the Departments of Health Services and Commerce and Industry in the use of computer applications. She has experience as a teacher and volunteer coordinator. Kristin enjoys working in organizations and communities to transfer planning skills that will assist people to meet their established goals.

Beth La Fleur will be traveling to Kosrae to assist in the implementation of a community monitoring strategy for the Utwe-Walung Marine Park. Beth is a 2nd year graduate student in Community and Regional Planning with a focus in environmental planning. Prior to her graduate study, Beth worked as a conservation assistant for the Pacific Rivers Council in Eugene, Oregon, where she gained a deep interest in water resource planning and community involvement.

Kim Grover, Jessica Cote, Kristin Bonner, Beth La Fleur

Marshall Islands

Dan Miller is a masters degree student in the Community and Regional Planning Program at the UO. His interests are in outdoor recreation and sustainable tourism planning. This June, Dan will be assisting the Jaluit Atoll Development Association to develop an ecotourism marketing plan. Additionally, he will be assisting the Marshall Islands Environmental Protection Agency to designate an aquaculture Conservation Area. His past work experience includes resource management and recreation planning.

The College of the Marshall Islands will be hosting returning Technical Assistant Arnim Fischer to help improve their computerized student database. The administrative staff would like to evaluate the progress of students, identify problem areas, and increase student retention. A Fulbright scholar from Germany, Arnim is a graduate student in Landscape Architecture at the UO. He has a background in database management and statistical analysis. In 1995, Arnim assisted the Kosrae Island Resource Management Program with a solid waste management strategy.

Dan Miller, Arnim Fischer

Northern Marianas

This September, Todd Sigaty will be assisting the Land and Natural Resources Division with the management of protected areas on Rota. Specifically, he will help with the implementation of the Sabana Habitat Conservation Plan. Todd has a background in international environmental law and conservation. He was previously the judicial clerk for the Chief Justice of American Samoa; as part of his work he helped establish the National Park of American Samoa. He is currently completing a masters degree in International Studies at the UO.

Pam Kylstra will be assisting the Division of Environmental Quality with their ongoing marine monitoring project. She hopes to obtain a masters degree in Marine Resources Management at Oregon State University. Her area of interest is habitat restoration and community involvement stemming from her fascination with coastal and near-shore environments.

Chuck Schonder will travel to Saipan to help Coastal Resources Management complete a watershed atlas using Geographic Information Systems technology. Chuck is also currently pursuing a masters degree in Marine Resource Management at Oregon State University. He is particularly interested in applying new technology to coastal management decision processes in the dynamic setting of island environments.

Todd Sigaty, Pam Kylstra, Chuck Schonder


Chantel Seely will be assisting Palau Community College with a program assessment of their ten-year educational plan. She holds a Master of Science in Arts Management, with a concentration in community arts, from the UO. Chantel has professional experience in evaluating community needs, and has traveled extensively.

Rebecca Sweatman will also be working at Palau Community College. Rebecca and her Palauan counterpart will be facilitating software training for several of the faculty and staff. She gained extensive computer experience working at a Eugene-based software company after receiving a degree in communications and writing. Rebecca has a special interest in dancing and she is looking forward to seeing and learning about Micronesian dances.

Returning Technical Assistant Matt Van Ess will be working with the Bureau of Lands & Surveys. After completing a technical assistance project with the American Samoa Coastal Management Program last December he has become increasingly aware of the unique opportunities available in island coastal management. Matt is a graduate student in Community and Regional Planning with an emphasis on coastal issues. He is particularly interested in the role of Geographic Information Systems technology as a way of linking education and informed policy development with a healthy environment and economy.

For the past several years Scott Fitzgerald has been involved in a number of archaeological projects in the Caribbean, England, and the United States. He is looking forward to assisting the Division of Cultural Affairs with the preparation of a long-range strategic historic preservation plan for Palau. Scott is currently a doctoral student in Anthropology at the UO. His main interests lie in analyzing prehistoric ceramics, migration and settlement patterns of island voyagers, and theoretical perspectives dealing with cultural evolution.

Chandel Seely, Matt Van Ess, Rebecca Sweatman, Scott Fitzpatrick


Charles Roberts, an Architecture and Community and Regional Planning graduate student at the UO, will be assisting the Historic Preservation Office to document their third canoe-building project for Pohnpei State. In July, Kapingamarangi villagers will build a voyaging canoe on Pohnpei. Charles holds associate and undergraduate degrees in photography and architecture. Prior to attending graduate school, he worked as a shipwright constructing a variety of boats, from small 14-foot dingies to large yachts.

Keith McDade will be working with the FSM Historic Preservation Office to develop a multi-year historic preservation plan. Currently, Keith is pursuing a masters degree in Community and Regional Planning. As part of his studies, he is completing a master plan for the City of Canby Parks and Recreation in Oregon. Keith has worked with Peace Corps as a Volunteer in West Africa and looks forward to spending time in Micronesia.

Christine Mitchell will be working with the staff of The Nature Conservancy to research ways to provide long-term sustainable funding for ongoing government and conservation activities. Christine has recently received her masters degree in Environmental Studies from the UO. She focused her studies on the impacts of development on island nation states. She is interested in the way organizations and individuals work together to protect the unique island ecosystems.

Charles Roberts, Christine Mitchell, Keith McDade

Western Samoa
Aranzazu Lascurain

Aranzazu Lascurain will be the first MSPP Technical Assistant to work on a three-month project in Western Samoa. She will assist the South Pacific Regional Environment Program to develop individualized environmental education curricula for the islands of the South Pacific. Aranzazu has professional experience working for governmental agencies on public education and outreach. She recently received a masters degree in Environmental Studies from the UO.


Denise Walters will be helping the staff at the Yap Community Action Program to increase their grant writing skills and expand their ability to research funding possibilities. Denise is presently pursuing dual masters degrees at the UO. Her primary degree will be in Planning, Public Policy and Management, and the second degree will be in International Studies. She is interested in environmental policy and environmental justice issues.
Denise Walters


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Micronesia and South Pacific Program
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