We're less than two weeks away from welcoming this seasons volunteers to the Center for Coastal Conservation!  Once here, they will be assisting us in developing a series of long-term ecological monitoring projects and gathering data on a number of critters - including humpbacks, sperm whales, sea otters...even bats! - for various projects we are working on this year.   We're very excited about both the projects and the team we've assembled.  Read on to learn a little bit about each team member.  And please consider contributing to our crowdfunding campaign to help outfit the center with gear for this season (click here to learn more).


Leonie Mahlke

I am from Germany and currently in the final stages of obtaining my Bachelor degree in Biological Science from the University of Rostock. After several weeks of report writing, I'm now looking very much forward to set sail again and meet the amazing creatures the sea holds. During the past 5 years I have held positions both as a volunteer, research assistant and marine naturalist in New Zealand, Italy and the Azores and have become passionate about working on the ocean. I am very excited about coming to Alaska and being part of a great team to support the research the AWF conducts. It is also the first time for me to observe humpback whales in their feeding grounds (fingers crossed for some bubble feeding!). And honestly, I can't wait to see us all dressed up in those Mustang suits :-) 


Andy Rogan

Whilst I grew up in London and have dual citizenship with the UK and USA, nowadays I am somewhat of a nomad-spending my time hopping between these two countries and others around the world. After completing a BA in Archaeology & Anthropology I made the switch to science, finishing an MSc in Animal Behavior in 2012. I have spent the bulk of my career with cetacean research & education non-profit Ocean Alliance which has included three summers studying Sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico. Almost all of my research experience has been in tropical waters, and I’m incredibly excited to go up to Alaska and work in one of the whale hotspots of the world. I’m most excited about getting stuck in to the research in a location I’ve wanted to work in for a long time.


Robert Szucs

I'm from Hungary, got my Masters degree in Geography and GIS there at the University of Szeged, and have lived most of my life there, but in recent years I was lucky enough to work with GIS in South Africa, England, and the Dutch Caribbean as well. Coming to the Alaska Whale Foundation and working with whales for the first time (and seeing them up close only for the third time) is probably my biggest ever dream coming true. Try to beat that, future employers. I'm eagerly looking forward to this experience and the chance to meet marine biologist in the field, as I plan to pull off a miracle and somehow keep working in whale reasearch with a Geography degree, at least for a couple of seasons.


Jilann Lechner

I'm from Vancouver British Columbia and am currently finishing up my BSc in biology at Simon Fraser university. Over the past few years I've worked as a marine naturalist for a whale watching company in Vancouver, and in between school and work I've had the opportunity to help out with various conservation projects on the coast.  I've especially enjoyed my time in Northern British Columbia helping collect data on the summer populations of humpback and fin whales, and have also been lucky enough to help out with ongoing projects monitoring the migrating salmon smolts in the Broughton Archipelago. I'm interested in connecting people with our natural coast and wildlife, both as an educator and through conservation research. I'm thrilled to visit Alaska for the first time and meet the Warm Springs bay community, and can't wait to help out with their exciting research.