Introducing Samantha Beck, our first Watershed Alliance Graduate Assistant at SUNY Plattsburgh

By Anna Marchessault
March 05, 2024

Lake Champlain Sea Grant is pleased to welcome our first Watershed Alliance Graduate Assistant based at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh. In this position, she will be assisting with leading education programs and outreach events for K-12 audiences. She is especially interested in environmental communications and enhancing existing Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts within these programs. While in this role, Samantha is pursuing a master’s degree in Ecology & Natural Resources at SUNY Plattsburgh. 

"We're so fortunate to have Samantha join our team at SUNY Plattsburgh,” said Tori Herkalo, Watershed Education Coordinator at SUNY Plattsburgh. “As we work toward expanding our reach in New York schools of the Champlain basin, Samantha's experience in environmental education and communications will allow us to reach untapped audiences in K-12 education moving forward."

Samantha received her bachelor’s degree from SUNY Plattsburgh in Environmental Science. She is originally from Pennsylvania where she grew up exploring local creeks and learning about the water systems around her. Much of her undergraduate work was in collaboration with Dr. Kim Coleman, a Lake Champlain Sea Grant funded researcher who has since moved to the University of Vermont Rubenstein School.

After her undergraduate degree, Samantha held multiple positions in the environmental sciences, from lab and field work, to education and outreach. She worked for the University of Georgia’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences as a Research Technician before moving to Vermont as an Americorps fellow at Audubon Vermont. At Audubon, Samantha led community science and outreach events, especially within diverse and underrepresented communities.

In her graduate assistantship with Lake Champlain Sea Grant and the Lake Champlain Research Institute, Samantha will conduct qualitative analysis of project evaluation, assemble education toolkits on the subject of watershed education, and disseminate outreach and education materials for use by K-12 teachers in the Lake Champlain Basin. This research aligns with her goal of creating more equitable spaces in science communication, and builds on her previous research and professional experiences.

“I am eager for the opportunity to participate in a program that will challenge and encourage my passion within this field,” said Samantha. “The acquisition of this degree and knowledge will contribute greatly to my future goals of accessible environmental community outreach.”