David Cairns - President (Term ends 2025)
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas
David Cairns is a Professor and the Department Head of the Geography Department at Texas A&M University. His primary research interests are on the impacts of climate change on vegetation at short and long time scales in a variety of environments. The focus of his work is on ecotones, the transition zones between different vegetation types. Most of his fieldwork has been accomplished at tree line in the western United States, Alaska, and in northern Sweden. He also has projects in two other sensitive environments: saltmarshes on the coasts of Denmark and Texas, and tundra environments on the North Slope of Alaska. Dave uses a variety of approaches including population genetics, dendroecological methods, and simulation modeling to answer questions about how these environments respond to climate change.
Peter Webley - Secretary (Term ends 2026)
University of Alaska Fairbanks
I have a passion for business development and technology transfer from an academic environment into the private sector. I am a Research Professor of Remote Sensing as well as the Associate Director of Research at the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI), Geophysical Institute, UAF. As well as Deputy Director of the UAF technology transfer office, Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization (OIPC), I am a Program Manager at UAF’s Center for Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship (Center-ICE) and lead the instruction of the NSF funded I-Corps site program as well as managing the summer-based Students to Starts program.
I was the Vice-President of UAF’s first start-up, V-ADAPT, Inc., formed in 2013 and have successfully licensed intellectual property, been awarded small business innovation research projects and a US patent as well as been inducted into the State of Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame 2016 – 2017 class.
Kaare Sikuaq Erickson - Treasurer (Term ends 2026)
Ikaaġun Engagement, LLC
Kaare Ray Sikuaq Erickson is the Principal and team lead for Ikaaġun Engagement, based in Unalakleet and Anchorage, Alaska. Sikuaq was raised on the Bering Sea coast and has family scattered across northern Alaska from Unalakleet to Shishmaref to Utqiaġvik. Sikuaq was taught to provide for his communities through subsistence and leadership; to be aware of problems facing Arctic communities; and to find creative, realistic, and effective ways to alleviate or solve those issues. Sikuaq spent nearly two decades immersed in cultural studies and has most recently spent several years developing and implementing creative, effective, and efficient outreach, engagement and K-12 education programs for high profile Arctic research projects. Sikuaq's unique upbringing and specialized training allows him to successfully fulfill his role as cultural broker connecting Arctic communities and Arctic research entities.
Julie Raymond-Yakoubian - Executive Committee Member-at-Large (Term ends 2024)
Julie Raymond-Yakoubian is the Social Science Program Director for Kawerak, Inc. Kawerak is located in Nome, AK and is the Alaska Native non-profit Tribal consortium for the 20 federally recognized Tribes of the Bering Strait region of Alaska. Julie has been living and working in Alaska for over 20 years, and working in the Bering Strait region for over 12 years. Her work is currently focused on collaborations with Tribes on topics such as the connections between subsistence and identity, the cultural importance and meaning of non-ordinary experiences and knowledge, a variety of Traditional Knowledge documentation and Knowledge application projects, and work on Tribal research sovereignty - including protocols, guidelines, and toolkits related to research. Julie has a PhD and MA in Anthropology as well as an MA in Northern Studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Cheryl Rosa - Executive Committee Member-at-Large (Term ends 2025)
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Note: Until July 2025, Dr. Rosa is on detail to the University of Alaska Fairbanks as the Director of the Animal Resources Center and Attending Veterinarian.
Dr. Cheryl Rosa is Deputy Director and Anchorage-based Alaska Director of the United States Arctic Research Commission (USARC). Dr. Rosa is trained as a Wildlife Veterinarian and Wildlife Biologist and has worked with subsistence communities on the North Slope and in the Russian Far East on a wide range of studies involving wildlife health and zoonotic disease, marine mammal stranding response, subsistence food safety and oil spill/offshore discharge research. Presently, she is involved in running USARC’s Alaska Rural Water and Sanitation Working Group, the Arctic Renewable Energy Working Group and the Arctic Mental Health Working Group.
She received a PhD in Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University and a BS in Animal Science and a BS in Zoology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Helena Buurman - Board Member (Term ends 2026)
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Dr. Helena Buurman is a Research Development Officer at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she supports researchers in bringing new ideas to life. She is actively engaged in academic, military, and community-based research efforts in Alaska.
Originally from Scotland, Dr. Buurman moved to Alaska to pursue graduate studies in volcano seismology and volcano monitoring. Her passions for earth science, communication, and the outdoors have guided her career in natural hazards research, operations, and community engagement across the state of Alaska.
Stacey Fritz - Board Member (Term ends 2024)
Alaska Adaptable Housing LLC
Stacey Fritz, PhD, is a Cultural Anthropologist with Alaska Adaptable Housing, LLC, based in Fairbanks, Alaska. She has 20 years of experience working with Indigenous communities in the Arctic. Her doctoral thesis at the University of Alaska Fairbanks traced the legacies of the DEW Line in the western Arctic, and she spent a decade working in public land management in the Arctic. Dr. Fritz works on housing insecurity issues, innovative building projects, remote Arctic logistic challenges, and specializes in tribal consultation, outreach to communities, sociocultural impact analysis, environmental justice, and mitigating impacts from resource development. In her current position, she works to advance sustainable housing for northern residents and regional economic development through distributed manufacturing of durable goods using local resources, Indigenous-led self-building initiatives, and innovative building science. She also contributes to guidance on energy justice, renewable energy projects in Alaska Native communities, and compensation for Alaska Native participants in research and government processes.
Heather Jean Gordon - Board Member (Term ends 2025)
Sauyaq Solutions, LLC
Homer, Alaska/Little River, South Carolina
Heather Sauyaq (Soy-uckh) Jean Gordon (she/her) is Iñupiaq and enrolled tribal member of the Nome Eskimo Community. She is the founder/principle consultant for Sauyaq Solutions, LLC working to support Indigenous Nations in self-determination through research, evaluation, and technical assistance. Heather previously worked at the Administration for Native Americans and consulted with other federal agencies, which included working on the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee Arctic Research Plan 2022-2026 and with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on work around Indigenous Knowledge. Heather is currently a Native Children’s Research Exchange scholar, sits on the Board of Directors for the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, and serves on the National Academy of Sciences committee on Co-Production of Environmental Knowledge, Methods, and Approaches. Heather holds a MS in Sociology and a PhD in Indigenous Studies with a concentration in Indigenous Sustainability.
Victoria Herrmann - Board Member (Term ends 2025)
The Arctic Institute
Washington, District of Columbia
Victoria Herrmann is a storyteller and geographer working with communities around the world on climate change adaptation. As a Senior Fellow at The Arctic Institute and Assistant Research Professor at Georgetown University, she has spent the past decade leading research initiatives and directing capacity building programs to support communities on the front lines of climate change to safeguard their cultural heritage. At Georgetown University, she serves as the Principal Investigator of a National Science Foundation-funded Arctic Migration Research Coordination Network, a 600-person initiative with a mission to integrate discipline-isolated research on changing Arctic migration patterns and advance policy-focused outcomes. Victoria is also the Director of Preserving Legacies: A Future for Our Past, a major global program funded by the National Geographic Society that envisions a world where we celebrate our diverse cultural heritage and safeguard every site against climate impacts by empowering communities with the scientific knowledge and technical training to achieve appropriate place and people-based climate adaptation plans. Victoria is also a AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador, program serving as high-profile STEM role models for middle school girls.
A recognized expert in Arctic policy, Victoria has testified before the US House and Senate, served as the Alaska Review Editor for the 4th National Climate Assessment, contributes to major media outlets on climate change, and was named as one of the ‘World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy’ by Apolitical. She has previously served as the President and Managing Director of The Arctic Institute from 2016 to 2021, a White House Fellow, a Fulbright awardee to Canada, a Carnegie Endowment Junior Fellow, and a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge, where she received her PhD in Geography.
Johanna Ikävalko - Board Member (Term ends 2026)
Arctic Centre, University of Lapland
Dr. Johanna Ikävalko received her dissertation at the University of Helsinki, Finland in hydrobiology/sea ice biology. She has lived and done research abroad, e.g. in Germany (Institute for Polar Ecology), Australia (Australian Antarctic Division) and US (University of Santa Cruz, California). Polar field campaigns took her sailing twice to the Antarctic, the North Pole, and several voyages in the frozen Baltic Sea. After her career in science, she has moved to implementation science-based knowledge. In 2009-2013 she was Head of Environment at the Finnish Farmers' and Forest Owners' Association, after which she was the Head of Marine Research Unit, Finnish Meteorological Institute. Johanna has also served as a ministerial adviser at the Ministry of Transport and Communications. During Finland's presidency at the Arctic Council in 2017-2019 she led the priority "Meteorological Cooperation", after which she worked as an expert for the Arctic Council working group Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme Secretariat. Dr. Ikävalko has been directing the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland since 2021.
Cana Itchuaqiyaq - Board Member (Term ends 2024)
Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq is an Iñupiaq scholar activist dedicated to equitable Arctic research and amplifying the voices of underrepresented communities. Cana is an assistant professor of professional & technical writing at Virginia Tech. Her interdisciplinary research combines expertise in the humanities and environmental sciences to develop culturally appropriate and capacity-driven science communication. Cana serves on various boards and committees. She is the non-federal lead of the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee's (IARPC) Participatory Research and Indigenous Leadership in Research (PILR) team and serves on the Board of Directors for the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS).
Chelsea Koch - Board Member (Term ends 2026)
Washington, District of Columbia
Chelsea Koch is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science at American University. She is a marine ecogeochemist focusing on the use of biological and chemical tracers to explore changing marine ecosystems in the Arctic. Her current research investigates how declining sea ice is changing food webs and the impacts of marine plastic pollution, both with an emphasis on subsistence resources. Accordingly, co-produced knowledge with Indigenous communities is a core guiding principle. She is currently participating as a co-production team member with the Study of Environmental Arctic Change. Chelsea has been an engaged member of the early career community as a co-founder of the Early Career Forum with the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee and a board member for the US Association of Polar Early Career Scientists. She was a Knauss Marine Science and Policy Fellow with NOAA in 2014. She also holds experience in the international sector, serving as the Science Officer and Arctic focal point for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Chelsea holds a MS from the University of South Carolina and PhD from UMCES in Marine Science.
Alexis Will - Board Member (Term ends 2025)
WWF US Arctic Program
Alexis is a Marine Biologist for the US Arctic Program. She works on area-based conservation, research, outreach, and shipping projects that contribute to maintaining a healthy Arctic ecosystem for the people and wildlife that live there. Alexis participates in the ArcNet working group. She also supports the Arctic Programme’s work on migratory corridors, underwater noise, and the ecological consequences of climate change. Her background is in seabird ecology and physiology. Prior to joining WWF, Alexis studied how seabird migration, breeding success, diet, and physiology change in response to changes in sea ice and climate regimes over short (5 year) and long (100 year) time scales. Outside of work, she loves backpacking, camping, and skiing (of all kinds).