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What Our Alumni Are Doing

Nathaniel Charbonneau - Marine science emphasis 2005


Nathaniel Charbonneau is an aquarist at the Denver, Colorado Aquarium. He prepared for the position by completing a Marine Science concentration for his Environmental Science major. The courses in the concentration included General Ecology, Cell Biology, Marine Phycology, Marine Invertebrates, Tropical Biology, Paleobiology, Marine Ecology, Limnology and Organic Chemistry. Four of those were taken during summer sessions at the Marine Station at Rosario Beach on Puget Sound near Anacortes, Washington.

Nate's senior project choice reflected his marine science interests testing the viability of a Puget Sound anemone to oil spills, "Anthopleura elegantissima's response to a timed exposure of petroleum hydrocarbons." Following graduation he applied for an internship with the Alaska SeaLife Center at Seward, Alaska on Prince William Sound, not far from the site of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He is pictured feeding a baby octopus at ASLC. If you're in Denver, perhaps just passing through, stop in and visit Nate and his aquarium friends.

Ruwan Randeniya - Wildlife/Photography emphasis 2005


Ruwan Randeniya, ready to enhance his nature photography skills, arrived at Walla Walla University from Sri Lanka via Takoma Park, Maryland. Working with his advisor, he developed a concentration in Wildlife/Photography consistent with the opportunities listed in the Bulletin. He also was one of the first students to complete a photography minor. He has traveled widely and taken fantastic nature pictures, some of which are on this web site.

Shoreline Seaweeds: Marine Algae commonly found on the beaches of Puget Sound was the title of his senior project for which he developed a guidebook including a dichotomous key to identify marine algae regularly encountered in the area. It is used in nature classes for middle and high school students as well as by any beach walker with the urge to learn more about the algae seen along the shoreline.

He decided to take a year as a student missionary to teach science classes, including environmental science, to high school students on the Pacific Island of Pohnpei. Coming from a family of teachers it is no surprise that he is now Summer Director for Outdoor Environmental Education for the Greater Seattle YMCA. And that provides him with the opportunity to continue improving his nature photography portfolio. He even squeezed in some post graduate courses at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California.

Robby Kohley - Wildlife/Ecology emphasis 2000


Without a doubt, Robby Kohley's favorite college course was Ornithology. Before he graduated in 2000, he loved working on a breeding bird inventory of the Blue Mountains in Oregon and Washington with Mike Denny, widely-known naturalist and bird scientist on assignment for the U.S. Forest Service in Walla Walla.

His first job after completing his Environmental Science degree, concentration in Wildlife/Ecology, was with a United States Geological Survey team in Hawaii National Park sampling forest bird communities along an elevational gradient for an avian malaria study in Hawaii. His reports were, "You can't imagine the birds I saw today. Every day there are some new awesome species to add to my list. Seeing them and hearing their calls is great."

Working for the Point Reyes Bird Observatory as conservation scientist assistant in recovery of the endangered San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike was his next job, "a real learning experience." As a research field biologist for the Institute for Wildlife Studies on San Clemente Island, he participated in population monitoring of the threatened San Clemente Sage Sparrow. Then it was for the University of California-Berkeley that he was research fellow on the threatened California Black Rail project.


"National Geographic Handheld Birds", a program that uses bird songs/calls, illustrations, and species accounts to cross-index data for bird identification, contains thirty species accounts including 15 seabirds authored by Robby. These were solicited by The National Geographic Society, the American Birding Association and Cornell University.

Robby was crew leader for the Institute for Wildlife Studies of San Diego in the Northern Mariana Islands for the endangered Mariana Swiftlet Diet and Insect Availability Project. He supervised and directed the sampling of aerial insects on Saipan and Rota and the collection of the Swiftlet guano from caves on Saipan during the wet and dry seasons in collaboration with local and federal agencies. Later he served as project lead for the Endangered Mariana Swiftlet Translocation Project for recovery of this species. See more at

Beginning his work with the San Diego Zoological Society in 2004, Robby, as conservation research fellow of endangered species, conducted behavioral observations of the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrikes to assess pair compatibility, parental care, and foraging and flight development of release bird candidates. When research coordinator he oversaw management and release of several critically endangered Hawaiian bird species, including the Hawaiian Crow which is extinct in the wild.

Shanna Bailey - Water emphasis 2000


Shanna Bailey Olson is an Environmental Science graduate with a concentration in the water environment and a minor in English. She began employment with the Bureau of Land Management (US Department of the Interior) as a hydrologist in the southwest Oregon town of Coos Bay. Re-establishing habitat for threatened and endangered salmonid species was a major goal of BLM activities in Coos Bay.

After more than a year with the BLM, Shanna moved back to the dry side of Oregon to work for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). A water quality specialist, she splits her time between office and field. High quality surface waters lead to healthy ecosystems where spawning, maturing and returning anadromous fish are regaining a place in the region's water.

While a student, Shanna worked part time with the US Army Corps of Engineers in Walla Walla in environmental planning. Her favorite classes were Hydrology and Receiving Water Analysis, no surprise that she is doing the work she is today. She worked on a senior project with Robby Kohley developing "A Plan for Renovation of Doan Creek through the Walla Walla College Farm". Her part in the project was establishing hydrologic history of Doan Creek which was little more than a farm ditch and comparing it to Cold Creek, parallel to Doan and about a half mile north. Cold Creek had received much less agricultural impact and became a model for revovation of Doan Creek.

Shanna's classes in the Water Environment concentration included Geology and Soil Mechanics, Hydrology, Environmental Engineering Systems, Receiving Water Analysis, Organic Chemistry, Equilibrium and Analysis, Engineering Mechanics and Fluid Mechanics. She would share more of her experiences with those who had an interest

Carlos Campos - Water emphasis 1998


Jamaica was home for Carlos Campos (1998) before he came to Walla Walla College. Now Southern California is his home where he works for Disneyland Resorts, responsible for Resort Environmental Affairs. Right, that's part of the Magic of the Walt Disney Company. The Water Environment was his concentration in the Environmental Science major and his senior project was entitled, "In Situ Bioremediation at a Tetrachloroethylene Contaminated Site Impacting Groundwater."

Having a significant background in soils and water, Carlos first worked for firms contracting with the United States Department of Defense cleaning up armed forces bases in Hawaii, Guam and southern California. A week in Guam and a week in Hawaii was a typical month's schedule. Now that he and his wife have two children, travel to the islands takes a lower priority and the great job with Walt Disney Company may even provide some extra perks for the family.

Several significant courses in engineering in addition to chemistry and biology have made it possible to provide a wide variety of service for his employers. These include Fluid Mechanics, Environmental Engineering Systems, Engineering Materials, Contracts and Specifications, Surveying and Engineering Economy.

Sharon Parrott Albertsen - Air Environment 1997

The first WWU environmental science graduate chose the air environment for her concentration. Her senior project title was "Evaluating Auto Emission Testing Programs and Looking at Walla Walla's Need for a Program." Considering her interests in sustainability and renewable energy along with her own considerable mathematics and physical science skills, it is no surprise that she decided to also complete a mechanical engineering concentration in a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree as well.

Homemaker, wife and mother might best describe her chosen emphasis since college days but not to the exclusion of a continuing professional interest. She is now a part-time student at the University of Colorado-Boulder, enrolled in a masters program, Building Energy Systems. Many of life's decisions by Sharon and husband Kevin reflect a personal commitment to minimize their environmental footprint.



Last update on May 21, 2015