Dr. Island’s Curriculum Vitae

     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 (Admiralty Bay, Admiral Lake, Whidbey Island, Coupeville, WA). Acknowledgements: Whidbey Camano Land Trust and Whidbey Island Research Station.

fullsizeoutput_4b13     For little over a year, from August 2018 through the present, I have been documenting marine-foraging river otter behavior and seasonal prey-selection along the Puget Sound.  Largely this work has involved an area along Admiral’s Cove on Whidbey Island. If you observe river otters, please submit your report! LINK

Aspen Shirley, a Pacific University, Psychology post-graduate joined me at WIRS to collect fecal samples for a glucocorticoid comparative study with captive, rescued river otter at the Oregon Zoo.

PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2021! Captive River Otter Project, College of Arts and Sciences, The Oregon Zoo. Student Researchers: Brook Smith (Psychology, 19′), Emmeline Win (Biology, 2018), Rebecca Slyngstad (Biology, 2019),  Sarah Strack (Biology, 2020), Julia Manfredini (Environmental Science, 2020), & Kristen Newberry (Psychology, 2020) – Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science

     The goal of this longitudinal project was to document the activity budgets of two permanent North American River Otter residents, Tilly (female) and B.C. (male, now deceased) in the Cascade Field and Stream Exhibit at The Oregon Zoo. We observed these two otters for three years, recording their behavior during foster care of Little Pudding (relocated to the Maryland Zoo), pre-pup behavior, as well as Tilly’s parenting of Nellie (relocated to Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn, New York) and Tucker (relocated to the Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square in Saginaw, Michigan) and 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 published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science in February of 2021.  Please refer to the Publication page for a link when the article is live.   The current Oregon Zoo North American river otter residents include: Tilly, and her two foster pups, Flora and Hobson.

PUBLISHED! Captive Sea Otter ProjectCollege of Arts and Sciences, The Oregon Zoo. Student Researchers: Hannah Claussenius-Kalman (Psychology, 18′) & Julia Wengeler (Psychology, 18′) – Zoo Biology1     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). Currently, the Southern Sea Otter residents at the Oregon Zoo are Juno (female) and Lincoln (Lincoln).

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 Equity, College 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                                                           

PUBLISHED! 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′)