University of Vermont

Joe Roman Hits the Road, Science Follows….

Gund Fellow, Joe Roman, has this professor gig down!  As soon as the bell rang at the end of the semester, Joe began his road show covering three of his pet projects: invasives, nature writing, and marine ecology.  He’s ending his tour with a yearlong fellowship at his alma mater, Harvard, continuing on his vagabond scientist trajectory.

With finals finished and grades in, Joe started the summer off by hosting a, “Eat the Invaders” talk and class in Starksboro, Vermont.  It’s part of a movement that Joe is passionate about, eating local and combating invasives one bite at a time.  The Burlington Free Press covered the event, which included tips for a Japanese knotweed chutney and garlic mustard pesto. 

His stomach still full, Joe took off for his first taste of Alaska - hard to fathom given his conservation biology background.  Joe has quickly settling into the Sitka landscape as a Scientist in Residency Fellow at the Sitka Sound Science Center.   “Fellowships are awarded to preeminent marine scientists from across the country. The SIRF program brings scientists to Sitka for one-month sabbaticals to allow them time to work undisturbed by their usual daily routine. The program will also provide community engagement opportunities for scientists to share their research and to help improve ocean literacy in our community.”  Joe’s already been enchanted by the local residents, human and non-human alike.  He’s getting the full Alaska treatment with fresh halibut, salmon, and bald eagles flying overhead. 

One of the most beautiful things about Alaska is the people; they are a rich collection of characters, in the best possible way.  Joe’s already become the “whale poop guy”, and was interviewed by Raven Radio about his work on the whale pump.  He was also approached to start an anti-aging cream product made out of invasives.  We love how the best possible combination of science and fascinating ideas follow in Joe’s wake. 

It isn’t all sea lions and intertidal zones, Joe’s teaching a “Naturalist Writing Workshop” for the local community and getting ready for his next adventure, being a resident scientist on the last wooden whaleship in the world.  Joe will be migrating to Massachusetts to launch the 19th century whaling ship, the Charles W. Morgan and serve as an on-board scientist as the ship visits former whaling sites along the eastern seaboard.    

Joe will venture back to Vermont to pack up before he heads off to his alma mater, Harvard, to spend the year as a visiting fellow.  He’ll teach one class and spend the rest of his time neck-deep in science, writing, and we’re sure cooking up some inventive and fun ideas.