Photo by Irene Owsley
PWS Stewardship Foundation Board of Directors
Paul Twardock -- Board of Directors Chair
Author of Kayaking and Camping in Prince William Sound, and Professor of Outdoor Studies, Alaska Pacific University; Anchorage,Alaska
William Melton -- Board of Directors Vice Chair
William Melton began working in Prince William Sound in 2015 as a Sea Kayak Guide. The following year he made his first documentary about conservation and stewardship efforts taking place in the Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area. He spent five years working with Alaska Geographic producing media and coordinating immersive Outdoor Education expeditions designed to introduce participants to the wonders of Alaska's Public Lands. In 2021, he founded a production company focused in outdoor media production that takes him all over Alaska. In the summers, you can still find him working on his roll and camping with his family in Prince William Sound.
Willow Hetrick -- Board of Directors Secretary
Mrs. Hetrick has a BA in marine resource management, and a MS in Natural Resources and Environmental Management and an MPA in Public Administration with a focus in Natural Resource Policy. She was brought home from the hospital in Anchorage to the fish hatchery in Main Bay in Prince William Sound but raised in Moose Pass after the age of 4. She has over 15 years of professional environmental experience combined with a lifetime of local knowledge of Alaska’s natural resources and history. Her work experience includes a variety of marine and terrestrial biology research, collaborating on projects with state, federal, public, NGOs and private stakeholders, state and federal permitting, regulatory compliance, and cultural community sensitivities. Her and her family go somewhere in Prince William Sound countless times a summer but spend most of their time on the island of Latouche at their family cabin.
Allison Carl -- Board of Directors Co-Secretary
Allison graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has been working as a research scientist with the Chugach Regional Resources Commission through an apprenticeship program with her Native corporation. She was born and raised in Anchorage and has Sugpiaq ancestry from Cordova and Hinchinbrook Island.
Doug Penn -- Board of Directors Treasurer
Doug is an educator and school administrator. He has lived and worked in Prince William Sound for the 25 years and travels regularly to the communities of Chenega Bay, Tatitlek, and Whittier. Doug loves introducing others to the majesty and beauty of Prince William Sound and in particular engaging local youth to be future stewards of this wild place they call home.
Victoria Vandersommen -- Board of Directors
Victoria has been working as a guide in Prince William Sound since 2015. She graduated from UAA in 2017 with a B.S. in Environment & Society and conducted an undergraduate research project in the Sound. Victoria has a passion for studying marine wildlife and sharing information about Prince William Sound’s natural history. She is currently working on obtaining a M.S. in Biology at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where she will be researching crustacean gene expression in Antartica.
Kelly Bender -- Board of Directors
Kelly is co-owner of Lazy Otter Charters with her husband Mike. Kelly started her career in Prince William Sound in the 80s working on tour boats between Valdez and Whittier. After working small cruise ships and tour boats throughout the Pacific Northwest, Southeast Alaska and Kenai Fjords, she returned to Whittier and her first love, Prince William Sound, where she joined Mike at Lazy Otter. Mike and Kelly raised their family in Prince William Sound and both continue to work preserving the wilderness quality of the Sound. Kelly is the President Greater Whittier Chamber of Commerce.
Emma Kramer -- Board of Directors
Ms. Kramer spends each summer as a salmon gillnetter in the Copper River and the Prince William Sound, and runs their fisherman-direct business out of their home in Girdwood, Alaska. She and her husband raised their two children in the cabin they built by hand, and still maintain their off-grid lifestyle today. Alaska has been home for Ms. Kramer since 1999, prior to that she was raised in Wisconsin and attended UW Madison. Living in Alaska was a dream since her childhood, as she'd listened to her great-grandmother share stories of her life in Dawson City and Nome during the Gold Rush. Determined to live more sustainably every day, Emma set out to live her dream of a modern day frontier life, and has been off-grid for two decades. Being a part of the PWSSF community is an important way to be a steward of the ocean.
Victor Shen -- Board of Directors
Victor grew up in Whittier, Alaska. He left the state to earn a BS in Forestry conservation and wildland fire management from Humboldt State University. Victor started guiding sea kayak trips in PWS in 2004 and has continued that to this day. He spent a few summers working for the USFS in the Chugach NF wilderness program and Mt Baker - Snoqualmie NF wilderness trail crew. In addition to guiding, Victor has worked as a field instructor for NOLS and a trip leader for Alaska Geographic. Currently, Victor is teaching high school students at a residential school and volunteers with Alaska Trail Stewards.