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Donor Perspectives
Spotlight: Héloïse Chenelot,
SFOS Research Staff (Marine Invertebrates), and Cold Water Diver

by Teresa Thompson, SFOS Development Officer

Héloïse is an affable young woman who always has a smile to share.  She is a UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences alumna (2003) with a Master's Degree in Biological Oceanography.  She likes us so well, she works for SFOS as a research staff member.  I met with Héloïse to ask her about her philanthropic nature and why she gives. 

Héloïse Chenelot

Héloïse is one of the first SFOS staff members to become a donor.  I asked her what she likes about SFOS.  She immediately said, "the people are great," which I happen to agree with her.  "I feel extremely lucky to work here; I love what I do and have a lot of fun, but it's also for a greater purpose.  It is wonderful to be able to participate in projects that explore and strive to better understand the amazing marine life of Alaska" Héloïse told me.  "It is also very rewarding when we are able to share those experiences with the public and see people realize how important it is to study, protect and respect those ecosystems".  She enjoys the great outdoors and has a passion for protecting it as well.  She is grateful to live in such a beautiful place.  She also likes to support nature organizations (such as The Nature Conservancy, The Ocean Conservancy, and the National Wildlife Federation), hoping that her contributions can help preserve a healthy and wild planet for future generations. 

Héloïse Chenelot

I asked Héloïse why she gives.  She said she wants to give back.  "Especially because I have been fortunate to have people helping me along the way, it makes me want to give back".  While attending UAF as a grad student, she was given a scholarship toward the end of her studies.  She said that it was so helpful because it allowed her to focus on finishing writing her thesis without having to worry about funding. 

Héloïse also believes in taking care of people.  Héloïse gives to United Way because she knows it's the best way to help the most people.  Small amounts added together make a significant difference. 

Héloïse asked me why I was talking with her because she didn't think of her gift as large.  I told her, it's not the amount of the gift – it really isn't – it's the fact that she is giving.  For example, just think if every SFOS alum (650) gave $25 a year – that would add up to over $16,000! Or if every staff member gave $25 a year (approx.100) that's $2,500! Added together, that's almost $20,000 – students can do a lot with $20,000.  And, by the way, $25 a year adds up to just under seven cents a day.  Who can't afford that?

Won't you consider giving a gift to support students at the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences? As Héloïse put it, "every little bit helps."


For more information on giving to the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, please contact Teresa Thompson, SFOS Development Officer, at, or 907-474-1867.