Caitie Sheban

MA, Marine and Environmental Affairs, Nuu-chah-nulth
Caitie Sheban kneels next to a black dog and smiles in front of the Seattle skyline.


Caitie is a second-year graduate student in the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. With a B.S. in Environmental Science from the Ohio State University and experience working as an AmeriCorps member in southeast Ohio, Caitie has roots in building community resilience through strengthening local food systems. Promoting just economic opportunities for rural communities can also restore degraded landscapes and make space for culture to thrive.

After living in Seattle for five years, Caitie came to UW to learn more about the environmental history of the Salish Sea and the native peoples that have protected the rivers and coastline that define the Pacific Northwest. Learning about the colonial traumas to people, cultures, language, and land are essential to understanding our current relations and inform us how to move forward. In wanting to understand how both Western science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge inform decision making around resource management, the opportunity to study the Nuu-chah-nulth language is one Caitie is honored to have. As a non-native student, Caitie hopes to support the Tseshaht First Nation in its linguistic and cultural revitalization while learning and promoting the words, concepts, and lifeways of this region. Language is a cultural glue and reflection of how we categorize and experience the world.

Caitie currently holds an internship with Seattle City Light working with their Science Policy unit on the federal relicensing of the Skagit hydroelectric project engaging multiple stakeholders, and is working on a capstone project that connects community needs with NOAA’s ecological restoration choices along the Lower Duwamish Waterway in Seattle. Each of these projects are informing Caitie’s understanding of water policy at the city, state and federal levels, public participation in decision making, and transboundary water resource management. Sharing water resources across jurisdictions that have different cultures, standards and priorities means the quality of our relationships across borders is imperative. Caitie hopes we can improve our communications with each other and unite our common goals for the future through the waters we all share.