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Jeanette Koelsch was born in Anchorage, Alaska to Joe and Grace Cross, and moved to Nome in 1982 when she was about ten years old. Her maternal grandparents were Jane and Jack Antoghame from St. Lawrence Island. After graduating from Nome-Beltz Senior High School, she attended Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, graduating with an undergraduate degree in general science. Her first professional job after college was in 1994 as a summer seasonal park ranger with the National Park Service at Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. Her duties included escorting scientific research projects into the field. Within a year, Jeanette was also working as an interpretive ranger during the winter months where she helped develop educational curriculum and hosted school programs in Nome and the surrounding villages. By 1996, she was hired full time as the interpretive park ranger, and eventually won the Alaska Region Freeman Tilden Award for her educational work, including a PBS documentary and a CD-ROM program called "Science in Our Lives" that included oral history interviews with elders, combining scientific and cultural elements, and games for children. From 1998 to 2009, Jeanette worked for Kawerak Incorporated helping to develop economic development plans for their villages. Since 2009, she has served as the superintendent of Bering Land Bridge National Preserve where she is proud to play a role in promoting good stewardship of park resources both to local community members and the visiting public.