Deborah Rudis '75

From New Hampshire to Alaska
UNH alumna Deborah Rudis '75

Deborah Rudis, a wildlife biology major from the class of 1975, has found herself a long way from Durham. Find out how she got there thanks in part to the field research and hands-on experiences that have long been one of the cornerstones of a UNH education.

COLSA: Describe your career path.

Deborah Rudis: I spent many summers as a forestry technician with the U.S. Forest Service working on research from the northeast to Montana. Winters ski-bumming made me realize I needed a graduate degree! After completing my master’s degree with fieldwork in northern NH, I found a position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Maryland. 

I left Chesapeake Bay for Alaska in 1989 just in time to work on seabird projects related to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  As a contaminants biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service I worked throughout  Alaska on a variety of projects, with my most memorable experiences in the Aleutian Islands working on WWII sites and seabird studies. In retirement I continue to conduct bird surveys in Alaska.

COLSA: How did your time at UNH prepare you for your work?

Rudis: I learned the most applicable skills and knowledge from courses in my major. Experiencing fieldwork, collecting data, enduring adverse weather, and working as a team were the most useful components of my education.

COLSA: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were an undergrad?

Rudis: That more studying would have been beneficial! I did not miss out on fun at UNH and I’m afraid my grades from my first two years reflected my emphasis on fun!

COLSA: What person or course influenced you while you were at UNH? How?

Rudis: Three professors, two in wildlife and one in entomology were the most influential. I learned the most about science from them.

COLSA: What is your best memory of your time on campus?

Rudis: So many great memories do I really have to choose one!  I loved being part of the Greek system and all the activities associated with my years there. I also was very active in the Outing Club and enjoyed all of our hiking and skiing trips in the White Mountains. I’ll never forget cheering at hockey games, barn dances, and of course ice cream at the Dairy Bar.

COLSA: What advice do you have for students interested in your field?

Rudis: Get in the field as a summer tech, volunteer or intern for some experience before you graduate.

COLSA: What do you miss most about UNH?

Rudis: The camaraderie of my fellow students and the picturesque campus.

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