Penny holds a dual Bachelor of Science in Earth Science and in Conservation and Research Management. Currently, Penny is enrolled in the Masters of Science in Environmental Science program at Alaska Pacific University where she is conducting research for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service on visitor perceptions of crowding in wilderness areas. Additionally, she is employed by the National Park Service and serves as a biologist working on exotic plant management in Denali and Wrangell St.-Elias National Parks. Other interests of Penny’s include getting outside and enjoying the natural world by backpacking, climbing, sea kayaking and traveling whenever she can.
Penny is passionate about decreasing state, national and international dependence on petroleum by developing alternative sources of fuel. It has been her ambition to start a biodiesel cooperative in Alaska ever since her arrival to Alaska a year ago in her biodiesel-converted car, when she discovered that biodiesel was not available in South-central Alaska. Professionally, she hopes to work internationally with developing countries on issues concerning sustainable community development and to continue along her chosen path of environmental advocacy.
Penny is teaching a workshop on biodiesel production and the benefits of using alternative fuel, encouraging the use of biodiesel in campus vehicles and generators and launching a biodiesel cooperative.
With assistance from students, staff and the Alaska Center for Appropriate Technology, Penny is creating a workshop, available to students and community members that will emphasize biodiesel use and production. In cooperation with the Anchorage Public Schools system, Penny is constructing a biodiesel processor that will be used in workshops and also in educational demonstrations for grades K-12.
Through the biodiesel workshops, she hopes to establish a reliable source of non-petroleum based fuel for students and community members of South-central Alaska. The biodiesel cooperative will be the first of its kind in the state. Community outreach for the cooperative will include students, members of the South-central Alaskan community and users of diesel generators. Use of biodiesel in campus vehicles and generators will be encouraged throughout the course of this project.
Alaska Pacific University (APU) is committed to green projects that benefit both the campus and the South-central Alaskan community. A poignant example is the ongoing development of the Kellogg Farm, a campus extension that focuses on community and sustainable living. The Session on Sustainability offers classes with the goal of exposing students to the concept of integrating ecological sustainability into economic development. Development of a long-term biodiesel practicum and use of a biodiesel processor on the Kellogg Campus is consistent with and furthers the green ethos present at APU.