Canvas and ice

Emily Burke Begins Elsaesser Explorations

June 23, 2020
Elsaessor Fellow Emily Burke.

Elsaessor Fellow Emily Burke.

SEA Semester Assistant Scientist Emily Burke, the recipient of the 2020 Armin E. Elsaesser III Fellowship Award, has begun exploring the rugged coastline of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula for her Elsaesser project, “Canvas and Ice: A Sailing Study of Alaska’s Changing Fjords." She has created a website and will soon begin posting updates.  We encourage you to follow her progress!

In a two-month summer voyage, Emily plans to “live lightly on the water,” aboard a 30-foot sailboat, Katabatic. She will travel west from Seward, AK, to visit as many fjords, coves, and islands as weather permits. Emily will keep a detailed, illustrated journal documenting her observations about the biology and geology of the area. She will also make natural history prints with linoleum, assemble cyanotype prints from natural material, document the changing landscape by repeating historical photos of glaciers, and make audio recordings both above and below the sea. Her art will be incorporated into an educational pamphlet on the region.  Emily also hopes to promote sailing as a low-impact way of exploring the region’s fjords.

A graduate of Harvard University with a degree in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Emily is an assistant scientist and medical officer at Sea Education Association, and has sailed on both the SSV Corwith Cramer and the SSV Robert C. Seamans. For the past six summers she has worked as a sea kayak guide and deckhand based in Seward.

The Elsaesser Fellowship was established in 1987 in memory of Armin E. Elsaesser III, who taught Maritime Studies at SEA Semester and sailed aboard the SSV Westward. It’s intended to help one person each year investigate a marine or maritime subject of personal interest, and follow a dream that has been elusive because of the demands of work or study. Projects must be unrelated to their current professional activities and reflect a creative and independent approach to the pursuit of knowledge.  SEA alumni, faculty, staff, and former employees are eligible. Awards range from $5,000 to $10,000.

Contact: Douglas Karlson, Director of Communications | 508-444-1918 | |

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