ARCUS Staff

Office of the Executive Director

Helen Wiggins
Director of Programs and Interim Executive Director
Helen Wiggins

Helen was born in Alaska, raised in Maryland, and spent several years in the South as a graduate student at the University of Georgia and as a GIS analyst. She loves her small drafty cabin and has finally relaxed during her forays into the wilderness, now that she has realized there is not a menacing grizzly behind every tree. Her professional interests lie in interdisciplinary scientific programs, and so naturally she was thrilled to join the ARCUS team in April 2003 as a project manager. In May 2004, Helen accepted the position of Program Coordinator; she was promoted in January 2008 to ARCUS Director of Programs.

Kristina Creek
Executive Coordinator
Kristina Creek

Kristina joined the ARCUS team in October of 2008, shortly after relocating to Fairbanks from South Carolina. She accepted the position of Executive Assistant in December 2008. Kristina enjoys the diversity of the Executive Assistant job, as well as the various opportunities to learn about Alaska and the Arctic. Kristina’s other interests include literature, photography, motorcycles, travel, and recently (to the horror of her housemates), playing the violin.

Administration and Finance

Ada Bower
General Manager
Ada Bower

Ada accepted the position of ARCUS Business Manager in December 2008. Ada was raised in Fairbanks and graduated from Lathrop High School. After graduation her family moved to southern California where Ada graduated from California State University Long Beach. Her career took her into the area of insurance and finance while she continued her education at various institutions. Ada returned to Fairbanks in 1997 when she married her high school sweetheart. Her main interests remain education as well as hiking and walking her dogs and she continues to love the opportunity to experience the Alaskan environment with its beauty, diversity, and expansive land. Ada looks forward to working with the ARCUS team.

Leslie Kitchin
Office Assistant
Leslie Kitchin

Leslie was born in Georgia, grew up in Virginia, and has lived in Fairbanks for over 25 years. She has a BS in Psychology and an MEd in College Student Personnel Services from James Madison University. Previous positions include Campaign Coordinator of United Way and Executive Director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Leslie found her way back to the nonprofit world with ARCUS in July 2011 after devoting herself full time to raising her son and working briefly as a registered radiologic technologist. She is an accomplished horsewoman who currently shares her home with one horse, two dogs, three cats and one teenager. When they can't get her attention, she is probably reading a book. Her ideal vacation from a Fairbanks winter is boogie boarding in Hawaii.

Terri Atkins
Accounting Clerk

Project Management

Betsy Turner-Bogren
Project Manager
Betsy Turner-Bogren

Betsy joined the ARCUS team as a project manager in May 2010. She earned a BA in geology from Carleton College and worked in minerals exploration before moving to Fairbanks with her husband in 1981 to attend grad school and continue her work in economic geology. She soon fell in love with the long ski season and they decided to put down roots. While raising their two sons she promoted public education through volunteer service and managed community and fund development for non-profit agencies. Her sons have now launched careers in engineering and atmospheric science and she is excited to return to the earth science community.

Judy Fahnestock
Project Assistant
Judy Fahnestock

Judy joined ARCUS in September 2008 as a Project Assistant where she is in charge of the Arctic Visiting Speakers program and the Arctic Calendar of Events. She also works on a variety of ARCUS programs and activities, with a focus on Arctic System Science Program (ARCSS)-related projects. She holds a M.S. in entomology from the University of Maryland, and undergraduate degrees from the University of Massachusetts and Paul Smith's College. Her past employment includes sustainability work at the University of New Hampshire, avian research, environmental education, and agricultural and horticultural integrated pest management. At home, she remains occupied while trying to keep up with her two sons. Judy's interests include being a good mom, cooking, braiding rugs, thrift-store shopping and traveling.

Janet Warburton
Project Manager
Janet Warburton

Janet Warburton joined ARCUS in October 2000. Her primary focus as Project Manager is education related projects such as PolarTREC. Janet and her husband Brad have a son, Landon and daughter, Kalena. They share their home with 4 retired sled dogs, and one chubby yellow lab. Any spare time that Janet has is devoted to sleeping, playing with the kids, or playing in the great outdoors!

Sarah Bartholow
Education Project Manager
Sarah Bartholow

Sarah Bartholow is making her roots a bit deeper here in Alaska by accepting the position of Education Project Manager in 2011. She began her Alaskan journey working for Alaska Geographic at the Murie Science and Learning Center in Denali National Park and Preserve. Through her years in Denali, Sarah developed a passion for polar education and facilitating meaningful education experiences for students and teachers. A teacher herself, Sarah worked in the field of environmental education on the California coast, in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains, Interior Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest. Her M.Ed and Graduate Certificate in Education, Environment, and Community are from the University of Washington- Seattle. In her spare time Sarah loves to travel, bird-watch, chop wood, talk to her brothers, and is always rooting for her hometown team: The Boston Red Sox.

Information Technology

B. Zeb Polly
Systems Administrator
Zeb Polly

Zeb joined ARCUS in October of 2000 as the systems administrator. Zeb has lived in the Fairbanks area his whole life and has been working with computers since he was 5 years old. He used to co-host a Goldie Award Winning television program called the "Matinee With Matt & Zeb", but these days he entertains himself with curing various computer ailments and expanding ARCUS' technological capability. When not working, he spends his time playing on computers and attempting to make abstract electronic music. When he grows up he would like to be a robot or possibly a cyborg, but since he already does a great imitation, we suspect he has already grown up.

Ronnie Owens
Web Developer
Ronnie Owens

Ronnie joined the ARCUS team in July of 2004 as a web developer. His interests in the field of computing are manifold. Though he does spend an inordinate amount of time in front of a glowing screen, there are other areas that pique his interest. Of note are a recent stint test driving prototype vehicles for Volkswaggen/Audi, as well as learning the fine art of the pastry chef from an experienced master. Ronnie goes on record as saying that, while indeed exciting, his past vocations pale in comparison to the thrill and satisfaction of learning fantastic new computer skills with which to tackle the challenges presented here at ARCUS.

Joed Polly
Video Production and Content Manager
Joed Polly

Joed coordinates all of the video production at ARCUS and spends his time videotaping conferences, editing the videos, and making them available for Internet viewing. Another task has involved making promotional outreach videos for the annual Arctic Forum and for the PolarTREC program. Joed also maintains and updates the Internet Media Archive, where all of the videos he creates go public, and also where a vast (and ever-growing) amount of digital photos from around the arctic go live for public viewing. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2005, with a degree in Art, Joed has continued to live in the Boston area. In his free time he enjoys making short movies, photography, making sculptures, computering, hiking, camping, sleeping, and eating tasty food. Come May or June, Joed feels like something just isn't quite right with the summer, and he has to return to Fairbanks to get in a few weeks of midnight sun to feel right again.