A Fish-Out-of-Water: Leaving the World of Ichthyology Behind for a Summer in the Alaskan Wilderness

Published by Katlyn Fuentes on

Hello again, everyone! I’m back and ready for another season with the Mosaics in Science Diversity Internship!

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on this website – so much has changed for me over these past eight months! To briefly catch you all up to speed, since last summer:

Katlyn Fuentes processing a juvenile Chinook salmon; photo by Katlyn Fuentes.
  • I returned to school and completed/presented my undergraduate thesis project (I wrote species descriptions for two new species of fishes!) and as of December, I am now o-fish-ally graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and a minor in Anthropology!
  • I spent most of January and February celebrating this achievement by going on a solo road trip along the West Coast to explore and visit family and friends – including those I met last year in Point Reyes National Seashore!
  • In April, I worked at a remote National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research station in South Eastern Alaska tagging and fin-clipping juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in preparation for their release into the wild.

And now, I am gearing up for another fun-filled summer with the Mosaics in Science, this time as a Biology Assistant at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Skagway, AK. What can I say – I guess I just can’t get enough of that fieldwork life!

Katlyn Fuentes holding a leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata) at the University of Washington Fish Collection; photo by Sarah Yerrace.

Unlike most of the fish-related work that I’ve been doing over the past four years, this summer I’ll be setting aside my aquatic gear, such as waders and seine nets, in favor of other equipment better suited for terrestrial-focused (aka “land-based”) fieldwork. That’s right folks, this major Fish-Enthusiast is going to be helping to collect biological data for a variety of decidedly un-fish-related projects like bat acoustic monitoring, plant phenology, and insect and amphibian monitoring!

While I’m sure I’ll be feeling a bit like a “fish out of water” at first, I’m excited for the opportunity to connect to my roots – having briefly worked at both entomology and botany museum collections in the past – and expand my knowledge of the conservation and management of terrestrial ecosystems!

So stay tuned for more details as I set off for what’s sure to be another grand summer adventure!

Until next time,


Katlyn Fuentes

Katlyn is a recent graduate from the University of Washington in Seattle with a B.S in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and a minor in Anthropology. This summer she will be returning for her second session as a Mosaics in Science intern, working as a Biology Assistant with the National Park Service at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Skagway, Alaska. After completing this internship, she plans on pursuing a career that combines her passions for scientific communications and the conservation/management of Earth's natural resources.

1 Comment

Denise Fuentes (aka: Mom) · May 21, 2019 at 9:49 pm

I’m interested in reading more “blogs”, as your writing has become part of my new favorite summer reading list!!
PS: Ilyatwttm&b!!

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