Grad blends passion for conservation with community-based citizen science

Science, Medical Sciences, Libraries

- Lisa Abram

Korolyk. Photo: Kali Moreno.

Eventually every child is asked the question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Stephanie Korolyk has been able to answer it since Grade 2, inspired by nearby tide pools and beaches along the BC coast where she lived—she wanted to be a biologist.

Today, she’s working at her dream job as the executive director of the Laskeek Bay Conservation Society on Haida Gwaii, after completing a degree in biology and environmental studies at UVic.

Korolyk is studying the ancient murrelet in the K’uuna Gwaay Heritage Site and Conservancy outside Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, where half the global breeding population of the small seabird lives.

In 2015, she was the recipient of the Bob Wright Undergraduate Scholarship, given to students who have demonstrated their passion for ocean studies. This helped inspire her to continue on the biology path.

Korolyk further supported her studies as a student assistant with UVic Libraries, following in the footsteps of her mother who works in circulation services.

While working at the help desk, Korolyk’s caring nature was invaluable in handling many stressful situations. Her first-line troubleshooting helped students at exam time with printing problems and finding accidently deleted essays.

But she knew she always wanted to live on Haida Gwaii. Finding work as the circulation supervisor at the library there bridged the gap from academia to her chosen profession.

“It can be difficult to break into the biology field,” says Korolyk. “Working at UVic and Haida Gwaii libraries helped me build a skillset that I now use.”

Part of that skillset was building relationships with the community, which is a big part of her job now. Research at Laskeek Bay relies heavily on the dedication of community volunteers and Korolyk knows without them, the field work under her watch would not be as successful.

“Working at UVic Libraries taught me the importance of lifelong learning, and making educational resources accessible to everyone. This guides me as I engage with the new biologists of all ages who volunteer at Laskeek Bay. It’s exciting to be furthering a cause that’s important to me and the local community,” Korolyk adds.

And thanks to the support of scholarships, the UVic co-op program and work with UVic Libraries, Korolyk is able to graduate debt-free—another major accomplishment for a young biologist making her mark in the world.

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Keywords: convocation, graduation, biology, environmental studies, student life, alumni, community, citizen science, wildlife

People: Stephanie Korolyk


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