Sarah grew up in South-central Alaska. She got her undergraduate degree at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF), with a major in biology. She has always been a hands-on scientist from wanting to be a Veterinarian as a child to five summers elbow deep in fish slime, collecting data on sport caught king salmon. While at UAF she was offered a summer job as a seabird research technician on the Pribilof Islands, in the middle of the Bering Sea.
From that first summer working with seabirds on Sarah was completely hooked, and has worked multiple field seasons on five seabird breeding islands. She has spent over half of the last three years living and working at Tern Island Field Station, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, studying and monitoring its many seabird species. Her largest focus whilst on Tern has been studying the Tristram’s Storm-petrel, documenting their increasing population and addressing factors limiting their reproductive success; both in the colony (burrow collapse, possible effect of temperature in nest boxes, conspecific activity), and from outside factors effecting chick survival, such as plastic ingestion.
Sarah thesis research addressed multiple aspects of Tristram’s Storm-petrel reproductive biology; studying reproductive success, chick growth, and the effects of plastic ingestion, nest boxes in the hot sun and conspecifics on chick survival.
After defending her thesis in May 2015, Sarah moved to the Aleutian Islands to work on seabird monitoring in the Alaska Maritime Wildlife Refuge.