Wednesday, September 10, 2014

SNRE student lands legislative aide job

Rep. David Guttenberg (D-Interior/Wade Hampton) formally welcomed two new staff members to his Fairbanks office Sept. 9. Samantha Straus began working for Rep. Guttenberg in August after returning home from 26 months of Peace Corps service in The Gambia, West Africa.

Connor MacDonald also joined Rep. Guttenberg’s team in August after interning for U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and working at the UAF Women’s Center as a student assistant to Kayt Sunwood, the center coordinator.

Samantha Straus
Straus, 29, first came to Fairbanks in October 2010 to join the Master's International program, which enables graduate students in natural resources management to combine their degree programs with volunteer environmental work in the Peace Corps. She is presently finishing her thesis on forest management in The Gambia. Originally from Arizona, Straus now claims Alaska as her home.

“Samantha worked on community gardens in her village in the Peace Corps, a project I’ve been working on here in interior Alaska for the past 12 years,” Guttenberg said. “Her interest in community organization and natural resources management should complement our team nicely.”

MacDonald, 19, was born in Seattle, and has lived in Alaska practically all of his life. He is Athabascan on his mother’s side and spent much of his childhood learning the history, traditions and practices of his maternal heritage. He has many interests and is presently deciding which to focus on in his studies at UAF.

“Connor’s background and experience make him a welcome addition to our team,” Guttenberg said.  “Now, he’ll get to see how we run things at the state level. I’m sure he’ll find it’s a little different than how they do business on the federal side.”

David Guttenberg
The recently hired aides join Chief of Staff Meredith Cameron and bring Rep. Guttenberg’s office crew up to full strength. “It’s great to have the office fully staffed with eager workers interested in the issues at hand and who want to work to better understand our political system,” Guttenberg said. “District 38 constituents will enjoy working with Meredith, Samantha and Connor.”

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