Ann J. Murkowski
Welcome! I leave this page here to provide you with a bit more background on who I am. More pictures coming someday, I promise.
Education: I did my undergraduate work at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, majoring in Biology, and focusing, primarily, on Marine Ecology. My thesis project was examining the demographics of our dominant local kelp, Nereocystis luetkeana. I had a fantastic opportunity to do some research diving after graduating, but quickly developed a longing for graduate school.
I did my graduate work at Western Washington University in Bellingham. At Western, I focused on the evolutionary history of those beautiful kelps and their relatives using molecular techniques. In particular, for those who really want to know, I sequenced a highly-variable region of the genome known as the ITS. Comparing these sequences between species allowed me to reconstruct an evolutionary tree, or phylogeny, that was not influenced by the heavy phenotypic plasticity demonstrated in this group.
Work Experience: I left Western for a position as a research scientist at the UW's Marine Molecular Biotechnology Lab. I spent about a year and a half at UW studying gene expression patterns in diatoms and other algae. In particular, our group was interested in what happens, at the molecular level, when a population decides to reproduce sexually.
I was lured out of the UW and into another research position at a young biotech start-up, Icogen. I stayed with Icogen for nearly five years, working a variety of projects, most of which involved cloning and identifying novel versions of human genes, and attempting to determine their function(s).
Teaching Experience: I taught, briefly, at Edmonds Community College before joining the faculty at North Seattle Community College in 2001. Since joining North, I've been teaching primarily non-majors and the major's-level biology courses, but have also enjoyed working with my colleagues on several inter-disciplinary courses.
Teaching Philosophy: I come to the classroom with a great deal of respect for my students and the life experiences they bring with them. I believe learning should be active, collaborative, and fun! I strive to create opportunities for my students to engage deeply with the material we cover, and connect it to the world around them.
Other Science-y Hobbies: I've spent several summers working with students in Costa Rica. Most recently, I had the pleasure of taking a group of students down from the UW to explore the country and engage in several research and service projects. Among the science highlights, we spent some time looking a seedling dispersal among various species of rainforest trees, and had a great opportunity to assist at a marine turtle refuge on the Pacific coast. You can see examples of some of the student projects from this trip here. We'll be headed back next summer, so let me know if you're interested!
I also love to explore oceanography. I love the interdisciplinary nature of the field, and believe we urgently need to better understand our oceans! I've had the opportunity to spend a few days at sea on the UW's Thompson, and a day aboard SCCD's own boat, the Charles Kane. Just this summer (2009) I spent nine days aboard the Barnes, collecting samples up and down the inlets of the western coast of Vancouver Island. Again, let me know if this is a field that interests you and I'll put you in touch with some other, ocean-goin', folks!
Non-Science Hobbies: In my free time, I love to hike, bike, kayak, travel, or just hang with my dog, Oscar.