Dr. Island’s CV

     The goal of the Liberal Arts is the pursuit of an interdisciplinary education, the freedom to pursue all areas of interest, to explore, learn, and celebrate knowledge. This is consistent with my life philosophy to say, “yes!” whenever a new opportunity emerges, especially in the sciences. Once someone is fluent in the scientific method, it is generalizable to all areas of inquiry, why not explore them when questions arise, especially if it allows you to grow as an academic and as a life learner?  As such, my research projects are diverse and consistent with the Liberal Arts philosophy.  See my current projects and college scholars below.



North American River Otter Research (Blakely Island, Willapa, North Portland, and Ridgefield National Wildlife Sanctuary, WA). Acknowledgements: Seattle Pacific University, Associations of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, specifically Bryant White, Program Manager of Furbearer Research 

fullsizeoutput_4b13     For little over a year, from June 2018 through August 2019, I am documenting latrine sites and when possible, river otter behavior at Blakely Island in the San Juan Islands (thank you Seattle Pacific University and the Blakely Island Field Station), along Willapa Bay, Ridgefield National Marine Sanctuaries in Washington and along the Columbia River Floating Home Communities in Oregon to better estimate population density of North American River otters.  If you observe river otters, please email me with the following information: Where you were, how many otters you observed, date, time of day, and the context in which the observations were made.

North American River Otter Research, College of Arts and Sciences, The Oregon Zoo,  Student Researchers: Sarah Strack (Biology, 20′), Rebecca Slyngstad (Biology, 19′), Emmeline Win (Biology, 18′), & Brook Smith (Psychology, 19′)

     The goal of this longitudinal project is to document the activity budgets of two permanent North American River Otter residents, Tilly (female) and B.C. (male) in the Cascade Field and Stream Exhibit at The Oregon Zoo. We have been observing these two otters for three years, recording their behavior during foster care of Li’l Puddin’ (no longer at the Zoo), pre-pup behavior, as well as Tilly’s parenting of Nellie and Tucker (relocated) and currently, Tilly and BC’s post-pup behavior.  Our results evaluate how Tilly and BC’s behavior changed relative to the inclusion and relocation of foster and biological offspring. The results of this project will be submitted for publication to Zoo Biology in September of 2018.

Sea Otter ProjectCollege of Arts and Sciences, The Oregon Zoo. Student Researchers: Hannah Claussenius-Kalman (Psychology, 18′) & Julia Wengeler (Psychology, 18′)  1     This project described a behavioral study of three captive Southern Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) at the Oregon Zoo. For the last fifteen years, the Oregon Zoo has nurtured and housed the two adults, Thelma (female, now deceased) and Eddie (male), who arrived in the zoo’s care in 2000. In the spring of 2014 year, a third southern sea otter, Juno (female) joined the Oregon Zoo from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The goal of this investigation was to better understand visitor density and impact on space utilization, behavioral activity, and enrichment persistence among this population of sea otters. The results of this study. This project yielded three academic presentations and one peer-reviewed publication in Zoo Biology (See Publications).

Wild Sea Otter Population Surveys, Sekui, Washington, PUO College of Arts and Sciences  and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Student Researchers: Hannah Claussenius-Kalman & Julia Wengeler, July 2015

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Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Hannah Claussenius-Kalman, Poster Presentation, September 2015, Salt Lake City, UT

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PROGRAM EVALUATION                                                                                                        Efficacy of an Animal-Assisted Therapy (Activity) Program in Life Skills Development Among Children of Domestic ViolenceCollege of Arts and Sciences, The Little Dog Laughed, Animal Assisted Therapy Program, Monika’s House and Raphael’s House, Portland, OR.  Student Researchers: Michelle Smith (Psychology 16′), April Knowlton (Psychology 17′, Hannah Olson (Psychology, 17′), Lenore Ribera (Psychology, 17′), & Jhoevhana Sabado (Psychology, 17′)


     This program evaluation assessed an animal-assisted therapy program at two domestic violence shelters: Monika’s House and Raphael’s House in Beaverton and Portland respectively. We have completed a three year formative evaluation (see link here) and presented this work at five academic conferences, a manuscript of this work is in preparation for submission to the American Journal of Evaluation. 

The Efficacy of Gender and Sexuality Education and The Center for Gender EquityCollege of Arts and Sciences and The Center for Gender Equity (and Sexual Diversity), Student Researchers: Kaira Bird (Psychology, 20′) & Marissa Williams (Psychology, 19′)


     This program evaluation is in progress. Pacific University’s Center for Gender Equity (and Sexual Diversity) was established 16 years ago.  But to date, no formal evaluation of efficacy has been conducted.  In collaboration with the Director, Martha Rampton, Kaira Bird (20′), Marissa Williams (19′), and I initiated a formative evaluation of CGE to determine both how the Center was meeting their mission goals and in what ways they could better reach their target population needs.  In the fall of 2017, we wrote a qualitative and quantitative psychometric survey to assess the visibility of CGE on campus, as well as the involvement of students, faculty and staff in CGE related programming. A revised survey will be distributed in the fall of 2018, based on our initial data.  A formal report is forthcoming in the spring of 2019.

NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT                                                                            Sensory Predictors of Post-Concussive Syndrome,  College of Arts and Sciences, Student Researchers: Dakota Stewart (Psychology, 17′) & Emma Ferns (Psychology, 18′).     This is a continuation of a former project to assess the prevalence of students with post-concussive syndrome, with a special emphasis on performance athletes (e.g., dancers, theater performers, etc), both within the Pacific community and within the larger Portland area.  This research is a collaboration with the College of Optometry and Dr. Hannu Laukannen.


Fluctuations in Estrogen as a Moderator of Attention,  College of Arts and Sciences, Student Researchers: Emma Ferns (Psychology, 18′) & Monica Vinson (Psychology, 18′).kdSSjMeDRIqOJCsvKv4S+w                                                           

The Moderating Role of Convergency Insufficiency in Dyslexia and Attention, College of Arts and Sciences, The College of Optometry. Student Researchers: Tracy Migrants (Psychology, 18′) & Janie Kiyokawa (Psychology, 19′)