Samara Trusso joined the Pennsylvania Game Commission in March 2005 as the wildlife management supervisor for the southwest region of the state. In that capacity, she is responsible for overseeing annual wildlife population and habitat surveys, wildlife disease monitoring, bear check station operations, the region’s public/private landowner technical assistance program, providing supervision to regional biologists, and she contributes to the development of comprehensive game lands plans within the region among other duties. Samara also conducts public programs about wildlife and teaches Principles of Wildlife Management at the Ross Leffler School of Conservation, the nation’s oldest training program for wildlife conservations officers.
In 2012, Samara was nominated to, and graduated from, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Leadership Development Institute. The LDI provides professional developmental programming focused on contemporary leadership issues and is geared toward employees who demonstrate leadership potential and the ability to succeed in positions of greater responsibility within PA government.
Samara has extensive experience in ecological sciences, public affairs, and education. From 1998-2005 she was a program manager with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the professional organization serving as the collective voice of North America's state, territorial and provincial fish and wildlife agencies. At the Association, Samara focused much of her time on the controversial issue of furbearer management and regulated trapping, including research, outreach, and international affairs. In addition, she worked to facilitate inter-agency coordination on issues ranging from CITES enforcement to human dimensions to wildlife diseases. Samara has presented papers at professional conferences worldwide on a variety of topics including furbearer research, agency communications, and public attitudes about wildlife management issues. Samara was on staff in the biology department of Vassar College from 1990-1994 where she managed the research greenhouse and was a technician for classes in the ecological sciences.
In 2006, Samara was honored to be named as part of a group of wildlife biologists recognized by The Wildlife Society’s Group Achievement Award and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Earnest Seton Thompson Award for their work on national and international furbearer management issues. She also received two leadership awards while in graduate school for her service in student government.
Samara has held leadership positions in several professional organizations, including the PA chapter of The Wildlife Society and the Association for Women in Science Syracuse chapter. She is currently a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for The Wildlife Professional, a publication of The Wildlife Society.
Samara graduated from SUNY- ESF with an MS in wildlife ecology in 1998. Her thesis topic was habitat selection by river otters ( Lontra canadensis) in the central Adirondack region of NY. In 2013, she received an MS in communications management from Syracuse University. The subject of her final project was the use of social media by state fish and wildlife agencies. Samara also holds a BA in biology with minors in chemistry and political geography from SUNY-Albany .