Valerie Damstra

Burke Center Operations Manager
Staff Council President

Val Damstra headshot
Office:248 Larson-Juhl Center for Science and the Environment
Email:Send a message...


Earned and Honorary Degrees

BS Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste Marie, MI


I am the operations manager for the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation. I was born and raised in Michigan, and moved to the Chequamegon Bay area with my family in 2009.

My background is in watershed protection and community outreach, primarily in the nonprofit sector. Locally I have worked for the Bad River Watershed Association engaging citizens in watershed planning and water quality monitoring, and UW-Extension coordinating partner organizations to collaborate on projects to restore land and water resources.

I also worked as a consultant for Water Words that Work LLC, a marketing and communications firm that helps environmental organizations be successful with water related outreach.

This is my second time working on the Northland campus. I was at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute in 2015-16 as the coordinator of the Chequamegon Bay Area Partnership.

Why Northland?

I'm really excited to have the opportunity to return to the staff of Northland College. I love the small campus and the opportunities it provides to build close relationships with colleagues and students.

Student Involvement

I'm looking forward to engaging with the Burke Center students and helping them discover the variety of talents they can bring to their scientific research. There's more to science than just the study and data collection. Learning how to share that information in a way that's meaningful requires a lot of different skill sets that are fun to explore.


I enjoy spending time with my awesome husband and daughter—preferably doing something outdoors. We particularly enjoy downhill skiing in the winter, and swimming and beach combing for Lake Superior stones in the summer. I also enjoy running, yoga, biking, and metal smithing jewelry.