Marcy Summers, Director, Alliance for Tompotika Conservation

Marcy gets some help feeding an injured maleo. (© Steven Caldwell/AlTo)

Marcy Summers,                      Director

Marcy Summers is a 4th-generation native of the islands of the Puget Sound, Washington, USA. She has a bachelor’s in Comparative Religion from Harvard University and a master’s in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from University of Maine, and is currently working on a PhD at Newcastle University, U.K.

Marcy has been the recipient of a number of awards for leadership and innovation, including the Switzer Foundation’s Fellowship for Environmental Leadership and the Maine Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. For 13 years, Marcy worked as a scientist for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in the United States, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. She left TNC in 2006 to co-found AlTo.

Sukendra Mahalaya, PhD          Senior Manager for Operations

Sukendra “Ken” Mahalaya was born in a rural area of West Java. Raised primarily by his grandmother, Ken’s academic abilities were recognized early on with a scholarship to IPB (Institut Pertanian Bogor), Indonesia’s premier agricultural college, where he earned both a BS in Soil Science and an MS in Communication for Development. Ken also received a full scholarship to complete a PhD in Natural Resource Management at University of Adelaide in Australia.

Ken’s work experience includes 13 years as a government agricultural official and a researcher for the International Potato Center (CIP). Later he spent another 13 years leading a project for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) doing outreach to farmers in Papua to improve their pig husbandry and sweet potato farming, which was recognized as one of the five most successful ACIAR projects in the world. Ken joined AlTo in 2018.

Tompotikan Staff

AlTo’s staff are a terrific group–all very smart, able, and dedicated as individuals, but perhaps more importantly, cohesive and mutually supportive as a team.

AlTo’s in-country staff, at our base camp Home Sweet Home

(© Sandhy Bawotong/AlTo)

Left to Right: Ahmad Muh. Nur, Conservation Officer
Noval Suling, Government Relations Manager
Wiranto Abas, Conservation Officer
Adrianus “Sandhy” Bawotong, Conservation Officer and Maintenance Manager
Ritfan “Ipan” Djano, Conservation Officer and Artist
Pandji Kresno, Field Program Manager
Moh. “Pandy” Isfandri, Conservation Officer
Agustian Laya, Program Coordinator
Maryati Abiduna, Conservation Education and Outreach Specialist
Vivi Tan Oga, Assistant Field & Research Manager
Not pictured: Mega Pumalasari, Operations Assistant   

U.S. Staff

Galen Priest, PhD                              Senior Science Advisor and Outreach Specialist

Galen Priest grew up in Colorado, U.S.A. His lifelong interest in the natural world led him to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the College of Wooster (Ohio), and then a PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, where his research focused on interactions between ants and wood-boring beetles in the Brazilian Cerrado.

Galen’s work experience includes conservation outreach and research efforts in the United States, Brazil, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. He is also an accomplished musician (bagpipes) and hand-engraver. Galen joined AlTo in 2020.


Steve Sears                                                Data Analyst

Steve Sears is a longtime resident of Washington State and recently retired from over 40 years as a teacher and head of the Math Department at Vashon Island High School. Since 2000, Steve has made numerous journeys to Indonesia, where he has helped to train math teachers in Bandung, West Java. Steve joined AlTo (part-time) in 2011.