The University of Alaska Fairbanks has hired Susanna Pearlstein as the new director for the Matanuska Experiment Farm and Extension center near Palmer.
Pearlstein, a postdoctoral researcher based at the Environmental Protection Agency in Corvallis, Oregon, will start her new job April 3. She will provide leadership and administrative oversight for the academic, research and Cooperative Extension Service outreach programs based at the farm, which is owned by UAF.
Pearlstein is excited about the new job. As an ecohydrologist for the EPA, she said she enjoyed working with community members. She served as the outreach coordinator and researcher looking at the effects of fertilizer management practices on groundwater quality. Pearlstein also wrote grants that funded agricultural research and she looks forward to finding new revenue and options for the farm.
“I’m inspired by the multiple opportunities at the Matanuska Experiment Farm,” she said.
Pearlstein has visited Alaska many times, including as a member of interagency hotshot crew that fought wildfires on the Kenai Peninsula in 2007. She enjoys cross-country skiing, beekeeping and hiking and is enthusiastic about coming to Alaska.
Milan Shipka, the director of the UAF Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said Pearlstein impressed the hiring committee with her knowledge of the farm, her background and her enthusiasm.
“She’s got some really good ideas and brings new energy to the position,” he said.
Pearlstein grew up in Washington, D.C., and attended college in British Columbia and in Arizona. She earned her doctorate in soil, water and environmental science from the University of Arizona in 2015.