Nikki Durkan

Upper School Science

B.A. University of Colorado, Boulder

Her research on the effects of logging in Routt National Forest as a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder may have spurred Ms. Durkan’s interest in Steamboat Springs and its alpine ecosystem. As the Environmental Science and Biology teacher, Ms. Durkan’s diverse field experience also spans beyond the woods to waters. She worked previously as a naturalist for the Pacific Whale Foundation, becoming an expert on reef ecology, local marine mammals such as the Humpback Whale, the geology of the Hawaiian Islands, and local green sea turtles. Following a coral reef ecology course with field experience diving in Cozumel, she received her SCUBA certification and also learned to free-dive up to 40+ feet for extended periods of time. During the summer of 2015, Ms. Durkan spent three weeks aboard the NOAA ship Oscar Dyson working with scientists monitoring Alaskan pollock populations as part of NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program. Her science classes can be found all over campus, collecting water and soil samples, planting seedlings to prevent erosion, and monitoring wetlands. Ms. Durkan studied abroad in Italy and has traveled throughout Europe, Central America, and Asia. Her travels inspired her to enroll in a variety of humanities courses in college and ignited a passion for learning and teaching about the diverse ecosystems and cultures of our world. She strives to generate this same excitement in the geography course and GIS program. Ms. Durkan and her husband Josh Smullin (SSWSC Nordic Coach), welcomed their son, Simi, to the world in May 2017 and their daughter Stella in 2019. Ms. Durkan is an avid skier, whether it’s cross-country, alpine, or snowboarding and she loves to hike and bike in the summertime.