In the Spotlight is an opportunity for the campus community to get to know one another better. The goal is to build Eastern’s community by becoming familiar with the faces of faculty and staff members.
Name: Leslie Cornick
Title: Associate Dean
Department: College of STEM
Number of years at Eastern: 4 months!
Brief personal/professional description: I’m a vertebrate physiological ecologist by training, working primarily on marine mammals. My research has focused on the physiological constraints on foraging behavior, and how these animals are able to respond to changes in the environment by changing their foraging behavior. I grew up in Southern CA, attending UC San Diego for my undergraduate degree in biological anthropology. I went to San Francisco State University for a master’s in physiology and behavioral biology, and Texas A&M University for my PhD in wildlife ecology. I did my doctoral research in Alaska, and then an NSF Post Doctoral Fellowship studying Weddell seals in Antarctica. I was a professor of marine biology, policy, and statistics and director for the Marine Physiological Ecology Laboratory for 13 years at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, where I also served for three years as chair of Marine and Environmental Sciences and dean of Research and Sponsored Programs. During my time at APU I worked primarily on research aimed at conserving the endangered population of Cook Inlet beluga whales, which included training and certifying undergraduate students as marine mammal observers. My graduate students have also worked on fur seal ecology, stable isotope analysis of Steller sea lion development, killer whale vocalizations, and beluga whale and sea lion respiratory physiology.
My other professional passion is marine conservation, and I’ve served as a board member for the Society for Conservation Biology, as a senior policy fellow for the Marine Conservation Institute, and science advisor for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. I continue to collaborate with colleagues in Alaska and internationally to understand the impacts of climate change on marine resource subsistence access for indigenous communities. I’m currently editing a special issue on this topic for Frontiers in Marine Science. I’m also continuing to work with the Marine Conservation Institute, serving on the Science Council for the GLORES project, which incentivizes exceptional marine protected areas to achieve the goal of 30 percent ocean protection worldwide by 2030.
Favorite book: Whatever I’m currently reading – right now it’s anything by Ann Patchet. Also just about anything about evolution.
Favorite movie: Young Frankenstein, Princess Bride, and The English Patient.
Favorite restaurant: Crush Bistro in Anchorage (but Moose’s Tooth has the best pizza!)
Favorite quote: The only thing we save by protecting the oceans is ourselves. ~Sylvia Earle
Favorite vacation: Wine tasting in France
If I could do anything today I would: Cycle across Italy!