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Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Liz Schababerle, Ecologial Engineer Working in Alaska

Meet Liz, a former ecological engineering student now working in Alaska.


Liz began her Ohio State education in the fall of 2006 as a biology student. She had always wanted to be a marine biologist, but found herself in classes with pre-professional students, and realized there must be a better major for her. Liz found the Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering program her sophomore year and her niche in ecological engineering. During her time as a FABE student, Liz especially loved working on wetland projects.

Liz completed three internships as a student. One of them was in her hometown of Cincinnati working for the Metropolitan Sewer District. Another was here in Columbus working for the EPA. And the third was at Ohio State's Stone Lab on Lake Erie.

After she graduated in the spring of 2011, Liz went back to Stone Laboratory and worked there through October. After the teaching season was over, she wanted to find another adventure. She had heard about the little town of Sitka, Alaska. While she was searching for jobs there, she found the Sitka Sound Science Center and saw that they were working on the SEASWAP program, which involved listening to whales underwater.

Liz moved to Sitka on New Year’s Eve, 2011. She started volunteering at the Science Center almost immediately, while working a full-time job at a local grocery store to support herself. While she was volunteering, the Science Center found out she could use MATLAB, a computer programming and designing tool she learned to use as a FABE student. In March, the Science Center hired Liz to work part-time on the SEASWAP program through the summer. 

While still working full time at the grocery store, Liz moved along in her internship, she worked with recorders made at the Scripts School of Oceanography to record whale sounds. Whales use eco-location (similar to bats) to communicate, move around, and find food. The recorders Liz worked with could record sounds as deep as 400 fathoms (approximately 1200 feet)! This research will hopefully find ways to passively prevent whales from eating off of fishermen's lines.

Liz has since switched to working at the local bookstore. She is currently working on writing grants in order to be able to do more projects in conjunction with the Science Center.