Cathy Marona Shrestha ’84

DEGREES: B.A. in economics; M.A. in South Asian studies, University of Wisconsin at Madison

JOB TITLE: Administrative officer, the Marine Mammal Commission

FAVORITE TRINITY MEMORY: Hanging out with great friends on the Main Quad on a brilliant fall afternoon.

What is the Marine Mammal Commission? The Marine Mammal Commission has existed since the early 1970s and has been dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals. Our mission is to provide independent, science-based oversight of policies and actions of federal agencies addressing human impacts on marine mammals and their ecosystems. One initiative that interests me is our engagement with native Alaskan communities. Our leadership traveled to remote parts of Alaska and met with local leaders in a series of listening sessions in 2016. The commission wanted to receive input regarding marine mammals and to enhance communication and consultation with Alaskan native communities to understand their concerns. This effort is ongoing, and we have continued to engage with Alaska.

What is your role there, and what do you enjoy most about your work? I handle the budget and finances and many other back-of-the-house issues. I enjoy finding solutions to problems and the variety of all the issues that we deal with every day. I also enjoy working with a truly excellent group of people, one of the best groups I have ever worked with.

What are the biggest challenges you face? Having enough hours in the day. And since I am submitting this at 11:30 p.m. on the due date, I would say one of my biggest challenges is procrastination!

You spent time in the Peace Corps. Why was that important to you? I was in Nepal for two years. I joined soon after I graduated from Trinity, and it really opened my eyes to other parts of the world where life is very different from what I had been accustomed to. It helped me understand other cultures and beliefs. It really changed my life to live in another country and culture and to experience a very different life. I met some wonderful lifelong friends.

How did your time at Trinity prepare you for your career? In so many ways! Because of my Trinity education, I feel that I can learn new information and adapt to a world that is constantly changing. 

What was the most memorable course you took at Trinity? Russian literature—I didn’t know anything about the subject, and it opened a whole new world of books to discover.

Did you have a professor who was particularly influential? Who was it, and why? There were so many outstanding professors at Trinity, but I would like to mention Dr. Gastmann [professor of political science, emeritus] in particular because he was in charge of the World Affairs Club. I met some great friends in that club. I joined because I had always been interested in foreign countries and international issues. The club held a lot of events, such as Model UNs, which were interesting and fun; I really enjoyed participating in that group.