ARCUS Staff

Office of the Executive Director

Robert Rich
Executive Director
Robert Rich

Bob is delighted to have joined the ARCUS team as Executive Director in May 2015. He has spent his time post-Ph.D. as a scientific association leader connecting scientists from many disciplines, institutions, and countries with the resources needed to succeed. He’s previously worked in professional development, science policy, research grants, member services, volunteer support, and strategy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society.

Bob is actively involved in the association community and in national and global science conversations, where he hopes to effectively represent the important work of Arctic researchers. He holds a B.S. from M.I.T., a Masters from Harvard, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, all in chemistry. As a researcher, he studied the interactions of small molecules with enzymes and other proteins. Now, he supports the interactions of small (and large) research groups to work together to create substantial results.

He lives in Bethesda, MD and works out of the ARCUS DC office (when not in Alaska). Outside of work, he enjoys skiing, orienteering, sailing, watching baseball, and playing strategy games.

Kristina Creek
Director of Community Development
Kristina Creek

Kristina joined the ARCUS team in October of 2008, shortly after relocating to Fairbanks from South Carolina. She became the Executive Assistant in December 2008, was promoted to Executive Coordinator in December 2009, and in October 2015 accepted her current position.

Kristina enjoys getting to know the many different organizations and people connected with and by ARCUS, and learning about the research and policy developments happening throughout the Arctic. Her favorite ARCUS initiatives include membership and community development, the Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook, and helping to coordinate and report on events such as the NSF Arctic Field Safety Risk Management Workshop.

Outside of ARCUS, Kristina’s interests include travel, literacy, learning to play random instruments, photography, and her pound-puppy Kira. She recently upgraded from a dry cabin, and now, at least temporarily, counts laundry among her favorite activities.

Helen Wiggins
Director of Programs
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.

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.

Liz Bowman
Executive/Program Assistant
Liz Bowman

Liz is new to ARCUS as of October 2015. She has a BA in International Studies with a concentration in Global Resources and Development from the University of Idaho and is working on her Masters in Arctic Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her Arctic exposure started in Rovaniemi, Finland as an exchange student and continued as an intern assisting with U.S. Arctic Policy. Liz has also been a Research Assistant for various Arctic projects in geography and other social sciences. Aside from her Arctic interests, Liz enjoys being crafty and is an avid quilter. She lives and works in Fairbanks, a place she loves to call home, with her husband Rob, daughter Elsie, and St. Bernard, Boots.

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.

Brit Myers
Project Manager
Brit Myers

Prior to joining ARCUS as a Project Manager in May 2015, Brit was an Arctic Research Fellow with the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies Canadian Studies Center. She holds a Master’s degree in Marine & Environmental Affairs from the University of Washington and another from the University of Oregon where she studied nonprofit management, arts and administration. Brit is based in Seattle, WA. When not working with ARCUS on programs like the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), you might find her wandering Pacific Northwest riverbanks with her dog and fly-fishing husband, snapping pictures of bees, exploring Puget Sound for nudibranchs and lumpsuckers, or enabling the inveterate Settlers of Catan addictions of her family and friends.

Lisa Sheffield Guy
Project Manager
Lisa Sheffield Guy

Lisa joined ARCUS in 2015 as a Project Manager for SEARCH. She has been working in Alaskan marine ecosystems since 2002 and is excited to continue working on Arctic issues as part of the SEARCH team. For the past five years, she has been the Research Coordinator for NOAA’s Synthesis of Arctic Research (SOAR) and Ecosystems and Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (EcoFOCI) programs. Lisa earned B.S. and M.Sc. degrees in Wildlife Science at Oregon State University where she studied seabirds as indicators of climate change on St. Lawrence Island, AK. Her professional interests include the impact of changing climate on ecosystems and communities, science communication, and marine ecology. Lisa lives in Pescadero, CA with her husband and two young sons.

Janet Warburton
Project Manager
Janet Warburton

Janet Warburton joined ARCUS in October 2000. Her primary focus as Project Manager is developing and implementing education related projects that help ARCUS meet its mission. For over a decade, she has administered ARCUS' signature education program, PolarTREC - Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating. She is also currently working The Arctic in the Classroom, a program that focuses on citizen science projects in the Arctic. She is currently ARCUS' representative for University of the Arctic.

Prior to joining ARCUS, she worked and lived in the Arctic in Kotzebue, Alaska. She has worked both with the federal government and local school districts developing and revamping science education programs to be more place-based as well as focus on both natural resource management and local knowledge. She has an extensive background in developing student programs, as well as a background in marine mammal management and environmental education. Outside of ARCUS, she has served as President of Alaska Natural Resource and Outdoor Education Association, treasurer on Alaska Science Teachers Association, and is advisor for Polar Educators International as well as a mentor for the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists.

Administration and Finance

Terri Atkins
Accounting Clerk
Terri Atkins

Terri joined the ARCUS team as the Accounting clerk in May 2014 and is looking forward to this new adventure.

Terri was born and raised in Minnesota, where she met her husband. After they were married, he joined the Army, so Terri spent the next 23 years moving around a lot. They both settled in North Pole in July 1998.

Terri earned her Associate's degree in Accounting from the University of Hawaii and her Bachelor's degree from the University of Phoenix while working for The Boeing Company.

Terri's main interests include learning new things; sewing; cross-stitching; reading; cooking; walking the dog; spending time with friends; and spending time with family, especially playing with the grandchildren.

Ada Bower
Business 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.

Information Technology

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, including recording conferences and meetings, editing promotional outreach videos videos for ARCUS and PolarTREC, and making them available online. Joed also maintains and updates the Internet Media Archive, the Arctic Calendar, and a lot of other media and web content. 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 large sculptures, hiking, camping, petting dogs, and eating tasty food. Come May or June, Joed feels like something just isn't quite right, and he has to return to Fairbanks to get in some midnight sun.

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.