Administrative Specialist: IGAC, JISAO
Collen joined JISAO in October 2009 to work for Sarah Doherty, the Executive Director of the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) research group under the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. Collen is excited to be part of the JISAO team, and since May, has been working with the JISAO administration staff on a variety of duties including, assisting JISAO Director Tom Ackerman, and providing support on travel, outreach activities, and special assignments. She will also be writing Spotlight articles about JISAO employees, so if you're reading this and have not yet been featured, be prepared to receive a call from Collen in the upcoming year.
Collen's career as an environmentalist started as an intern documenting the development of energy policies in King County, and professionally at the Grant County Public Utility District (PUD) working on fisheries research on the Columbia River. She morphed into a program manager there and at the Snohomish County PUD as well. At Snohomish, Collen did field research on electromagnetic fields (EMF) and started a Northwest EMF research group. She was on-call 24 hours a day to supervise spill cleanups for both utility groups. After ten years she reached burnout and decided to operate a retail and wholesale rock and mineral business which allowed her to travel internationally to mines and to serve as a board member of the Snohomish and Cascade Land Conservancies.
In her teens, Collen won a scholarship to attend the Law of the Sea Conference in Caracas, Venezuela, and took graduate level oceanography courses from the University of Virginia while still a senior in high school. She planned on researching marine mammals as a college professor but the geographers who taught environmental science at Central Washington University encouraged her to become a science writer. Collen also announced science news on the radio and has stayed close to science by managing research programs for 25 years.
In 2001, Collen was hired as the program manager of the Northwest Center for Particulate Matter and Health (PM Center), UW's portion of a five university research effort funded by the EPA to study the health effects of 2.5 micron size particulate matter air pollution, also known as PM2.5. JISAO's Dave Covert was one of the Principal Investigators on this grant. Collen wrote an award winning history of air pollution clean up efforts in Seattle while at the PM Center. She also worked for Marina Alberti in the Urban Design Research Lab which focuses on biodiversity issues in the Puget Sound region, and Pat Stayton in Bioengineering where she managed a group of 25 post docs and graduate students working on drug delivery to fight cancer, HIV, and malaria.
When Collen learned that the oceans have absorbed a large percentage of their capacity to absorb CO2 emitted by fossil fuel burning (related video), she saw her lifetime of environmental commitment come full circle from the oceans to the land to the atmosphere and back to the oceans. She identified climate change as the science direction she wants to pursue until she's too dead to breathe, so she enrolled in the online course Decision Making for Climate Change offered through UW, University of British Columbia, University of California at Irvine, and Northwestern University.
When Collen isn't gardening, she's either reading, doing Sudoku, or making jewelry. She teaches meditation, mineralogy, and palliative care classes for HIV positive people, and has an undying passion for astrology as a psychological tool.