Michelle Theriault Boots is a journalist in Anchorage, Alaska. She moved to Alaska after graduating from the University of Oregon's literary nonfiction graduate program and working for the Associated Press in Johannesburg, South Africa.  She is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News and a former board member of the Alaska Press Club. Her reporting on topics including homelessness in Anchorage, deaths in Alaska jails and prisons and tiny schools threatened with closure in Rural Alaska has been recognized with awards from the Alaska Press Club and Society for Features Journalism. She was a 2017 Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism fellow at Ohio State University. She lives in Anchorage with her family. Her very favorite Alaska story of all time involved riding the Tustumena ferry.


Laurel Braitman PhD is a New York Times bestselling author, historian and anthropologist of science. She is the first Writer-in-Residence and the Director of Writing and Storytelling at the Stanford University School of Medicine where she is helping medical students and physicians communicate more meaningfully--with themselves and their patients. She holds a PhD in Science, Technology and Society from MIT and is a Senior TED Fellow. Her last book,  Animal Madness (Simon & Schuster 2015) was a NYT bestseller and has been translated into eight languages. Her next book (forthcoming, Simon & Schuster) is about growing up, mortality and how we might live with the perspective of a terminal disease without the dire prognosis. Her work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, Good Morning America and Al Jazeera. Her stories have appeared in The Guardian, on Radiolab, in The Wall Street Journal, Wired, National Geographic and other publications. She is a Contributing Writer and frequently performs live for Pop Up Magazine, a live magazine the New York Times has called a “Sensation.” She has taught interdisciplinary courses at Harvard, MIT, Stanford School of Medicine and Smith College and she loves collaborating with musicians, scientists, artists and other folks-- helping them communicate better with the audiences that matter most.

Laurel splits her time between Kodiak, Alaska and Berkeley, California with her partner and a few million wild salmon.



Candace Nielsen is the daughter of Dailey and Paul Schaack. She grew up in Nelson Lagoon commercial salmon fishing before moving to Cold Bay when fishing could no longer support her family. Her dad retired from the Department of Transportation and her mom still works for PenAir in Cold Bay. Candace graduated from Mt. Edgecumbe High School in 2010. After her daughter Brooke was born in 2013 she settled back in Cold Bay with her husband, Matthew Nielsen. In 2016 their son Wilder was born and they’re due for their 3rd baby in February 2020. Since returning to Cold Bay she has become very involved in local politics. She spent several years on the City Council, serving as Mayor for 2 of them. Currently Candace serves as the Director of the public library and is an active member of the local EMS Squad. She is also working towards her bachelors in Rural Development through UAF. 

Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Wilder @wilderphoto

  • Facebook
  • Instagram

©2019 by Bering Sea Women's Conference.