Welcome the New Wrangell Mountains Center Team!
Meet the New Staff
Emily Bass, MSW, joins the WMC as Interim Executive Director. Emily graduated last month from the University of Alaska with a Masters of Social Work. She joined the WMC crew and immediately demonstrated her "git-R-done" style with professionalism and efficiency. She embraces the WMC mission and has the leadership skills to take the organization to its full potential. Emily will focus her energies on the core structure of the organization in preparing for growth opportunities presented to WMC due to its expanded campus and interest for more programs and partners. Emily shared, "One of my goals for the summer is to put in place internal and operational systems that support the expansion of the WMC." Emily brings over 25 years experience in the nonprofit sector. She assisted in founding the New England Disabled Sports program, now nationally acclaimed, to working with a number of Alaska's nonprofits in both supportive and leadership roles. She completed internships with both Rasmuson Foundation and Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, providing her knowledge in community issues, policy, and strong relations between funders and nonprofits. Emily also brings a depth of knowledge about the McCarthy area as 20-year resident.
Kristin Link, BA, is the new Program Development Coordinator. In recent years, she directed and taught successful programs for the WMC. Her combined interest in science and art has always attracted her to the WMC. This summer she will focus on building new partnerships with other organizations in the area, implementing new programs and continuing to grow the number of participants in current WMC programs. Kristin shares, "I am excited about working with and learning from all of the amazing people affiliated with the WMC as well as growing our network in Alaska." Contact Kristin if you have an idea for a program you would like to see happen. Kristin will draw on her experience as a science illustrator, artist and recipient of an Individual Artist Award and a Career Opportunity Grant from the Rasmuson Foundation and the Alaska State Council on the Arts. She has been active in McCarthy for the past couple of summers; exploring the mountain landscape, creating artwork, working for Kennicott Wilderness Guides, and teaching field sketching for the WMC.
Cobi Harris Seslar, M.Ed, new Operations Manager at WMC, is the on-site manager. Cobi brings natural leadership abilities, and we are fortunate she returns to McCarthy after years away. Cobi shared, "I am so excited to be in McCarthy this summer to share this lovely mountain town and community with my husband and 5-year-old son." We know her as a Kennicott Wilderness Guide and a passionate mountaineer. Cobi has over 15 years' experience working as an outdoor professional. Most recently, as a professor of english composition and yoga at Everett Community College. Two seasons working on an expedition in Antarctica give her a strong mind for preparedness, prevention, and safety. Her five years working for Outward Bound give her both professionalism and experience in leading groups to reach high goals. Cobi looks forward to being an integral component of the success of the WMC this season, and reconnecting to her roots here in McCarthy and Kennecott.
Mary Convey is originally from New York. After a brief career working as a business reporter in New York City, she discovered her passion for the kitchen, and went back to school to become a pastry chef. In 2005, she graduated from a Le Cordon Bleu affiliated school in Chicago with a baking and pastry degree. She previously ran bakery kitchens in New York City and most recently, this winter, as a baker for the Anchorage-based restaurant, Ginger. This is Mary's fourth consecutive summer in McCarthy and she is thrilled to be a part of this year's staff at the WMC. She's looks forward to preparing wonderful meals for the WMC staff and participants this season, as well as helping out with gardening and learning more about sustainable living.
A McCarthy resident for nearly 20 years, Dianne Milliard wore many hats during her time here: you may remember her as a museum caretaker, historical tour guide, photographer, purveyor of postcards, or park ranger in Kennecott. Dianne has been away from McCarthy for the last two summers, working as a park ranger at Toklat in Denali. She is happy to be home. Dianne looks forward to spending time building her house in addition to helping with early season operations and playing host for the Wrangell Mountains Center. In her role as host, Dianne welcomes program participants to the Hardware Store and familiarizes them with the facilities and our lifestyle here in McCarthy. She also uses her interpretive skills to teach visitors and program participants about the possibilities of sustainable living exemplified by the WMC. Hopefully, inspiring them to find ways to live lighter on the Earth in their own lives.
Michelle Rodriguez, a work-trade volunteer, joins us June 8th. It's her first time in Alaska and she looks forward to sinking her hands into the earth while gardening. Primarily a singer/songwriter and musical theater composer, she plays ukulele, violin, guitar, and the mountain dulcimer. She looks forward to being inspired by the bigness of Alaska: writing and playing music while in McCarthy. She graduated from Williams College last June and currently teaches theater, music, and art at the Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica.