CORVALLIS, Ore. - Outstanding scholarship, character and contributions to the community have earned Anchorage native Britta Hinrichsen Oregon State University's 2004 Outstanding Senior Woman Award.
Hinrichsen, who graduated summa cum laude this June from OSU's Honors College, is spending the summer working for the National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at the Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center. Her undergraduate degrees are in environmental science and environmental economics, policy and management.
The OSU award is sponsored by the American Association of University Women to further the advancement of women.
A 2000 summa cum laude graduate of Robert Service High School, Hinrichsen will work in Alaska entering river observations into a data system for use in forecasting models and updating and creating databases until the middle of August.
"I am very happy to be back in Anchorage this summer," she said. "I have gone hiking, canoeing, camping, fishing, and biking. Alaska is such an amazing place."
As summer wanes, she plans to head back to school.
"I am moving to South Royalton, Vermont, to attend Vermont Law School for its environmental law program." Hinrichsen is enrolled in the joint juris doctor/master of studies in environmental law program for the Class of 2007.
"I am not sure exactly what type of job I will want after attending Vermont Law School," she said, "but I want to work with ocean law and policy. I could easily see myself working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or another government agency. I hope to end up in the Pacific Northwest, but who knows where the jobs will be when I graduate.
"I have always been fascinated with the ocean. With my oceanography minor through the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at OSU, I was able to participate in research cruises during the past two summers - one off the coast of California, another in the Gulf of Alaska. As much as I enjoyed the research and loved being at sea, I felt that I could be more beneficial through law and policy."
Hinrichsen plans to integrate her scientific background with a legal education to enable her to analyze and improve ocean policies.
"The oceans supply a wealth of knowledge and resources. I hope to find more sustainable ways to use marine resources so future generations can continue to study and enjoy our oceans."
While at OSU, Hinrichsen served as newsletter editor for the campus Policy and Law Society and also worked on the College of Agriculture Sciences Student Advancement, Recruitment and Retention Committee, as well as the college's Writing Committee.
She is also one of the principle authors of a law and policy review concerning the gray wolf in Oregon.
"It's a paper to analyze the relationship between the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act and to determine how economic interest has standing in relation to wolves in Oregon," Hinrichsen said.
An accomplished cellist, Hinrichsen performed with the OSU Symphony.