Sam Kurkowski

Sam Kurkowski

Student

Michigan Tech University

Some know her as the Michigan Tech record holder in the 3000m steeplechase, or as a national competitor in collegiate cross-country 6Ks. For her role in the CDL, Sam prefers the official title “Student Volunteer .” Born in the Twin Cities area, Sam found herself in arm’s-reach of the immersive nature offered by the north central United States. She canoed the Boundary Waters, skied the 32 mile Birkebeiner, and along the way nursed an affinity for plants and their habitats. In high school, she was a member of the Conservation Corps of Minnesota. As an undergrad, she assisted a graduate student in analyzing soil and fire return intervals in peatlands across the Midwest. Sam has also worked with the Michigan Tech Research Institute to map vernal pools of Isle Royale National Park, during which she once excitingly found a newt. As a student volunteer for the CDL, she utilizes LANDFIRE data to map wetlands in the Great Lakes region. Currently, she’s a master’s student in applied ecology at Michigan Tech, where she’s also a TA for a wetlands course. Her hope is to continue working with peatlands going into her professional career, as she recognizes them to be vital contributors to the ecosystems they inhabit. Of the CDL she has to say, “It’s a place to learn what you couldn’t in a classroom, and to find connections you’d never imagine having.”

Interests
  • Wetland Ecology
  • Peatlands
  • Wetland Restoration
  • Vernal Pools
  • Carbon Cycling
  • Conservation
  • Running/biking/hiking/skiing
Education
  • MS in Applied Ecology, Expected 2023

    Michigan Tech

  • BS in Applied Ecology, 2021

    Michigan Tech