Monday, April 16, 2018

SNRE names outstanding students for 2017-2018

The School of Natural Resources and Extension has named its outstanding students for the 2017-2018 year — Kimberly Diamond and Sagen Maddalena.

Kimberly Diamond
Diamond will be recognized in the agriculture and horticulture area and Maddalena for natural resources management.

Diamond, who is from Anchorage, started life at UAF as a biology major, but she switched to natural resources management because she wanted to study the environment and liked the social component of the degree.

 “It’s so interdisciplinary, she said. “It’s kind of hard to explain to people, but it gives you a good foundation to go many directions.”

In her case, she discovered an interest in environmental law and policy while earning the degree. She has enjoyed taking political science courses and, in particular, Julie Joly’s course on public lands law and policy. After some time off, and possibly an internship, she may apply for graduate school in environmental policy or law school.

The graduating senior has been an active researcher while at SNRE. Diamond has participated twice in the UAF Research and Creative Activity Day. Last year, she studied the dormancy and viability of invasive European bird cherry seed and this year is surveying commuters to identify perceived barriers to commuting by bicycle to campus.

Diamond said she likes the student group at SNRE and the small, friendly school. She is working this semester as a research assistant for Associate Professor Pete Fix on his recreation surveys for the Bureau of Land Management. She may continue the work this summer or participate in an internship of some kind.

Diamond grew up at the base of the Chugach Mountains and enjoys rock climbing, cross-country skiing and backcountry skiing.

Sagen Maddalena
Diamond and Maddalena will be honored at any awards breakfast Saturday, April 21, at Wood Center. Maddalena won’t be at the breakfast because she will be competing in a World Cup rifle competition in Korea.

Maddalena, the co-captain of the UAF rifle team, is considered one of the best shooters in the U.S. She will return for finals, graduate and then compete in Munich before relocating to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. She would like to compete in the 2020 Olympics.

Maddalena got her first shooting experience with a 4-H club. She thought she might try it out but after the first meeting, she said, “I was hooked.”

Maddalena, who is from central California, chose to study at UAF because she wanted a school that had a good rifle team and a natural resources management degree.

She found both in Kentucky and UAF and figured Alaska would have more opportunities to study forestry, which is her prime interest.

She became interested in forestry after working for a timber and brush management company following high school. Also, a large fire in 2013, known as the Rim Fire, burned to within a few miles of her family home, which is near Yosemite National Park. The forest was particularly vulnerable to fire and western bark beetle infestation because of drought conditions.

“It was at that point I realized the importance of forest management,” she said.

Sagen Maddalena competes internationally
with an air rifle. UAF photo by J.R. Ancheta
Since several forestry faculty have retired, Maddalena completed some independent and directed study with John Yarie and Karen Hutton, who works for the U.S. Forest Service. That allowed her to work one-of-one with foresters and to go out in the field with resource foresters, which was a great opportunity, she said. She is studying forestry management with an emphasis on sustainable harvesting and forest restoration.

Maddalena enjoyed in-depth and detail-oriented courses such as Mingchu Zhang’s soils class and Julie Joly’s law and policy course . She also particularly liked Susan Todd’s introductory natural resources management class.

At some point in the coming year, she plans to join the Army’s marksmanship unit that trains and competes.

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