Speaker Bios

Portraits of Richard AlleyRichard B. Alley is the Evan Pugh Professor in the Department of Geosciences, and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Alley has ranged from Antarctica to Greenland to help learn the history of Earth’s climate, and whether the great ice sheets will fall in the ocean and flood our coasts.  With over 260 scientific publications, he has been asked to provide advice to the highest levels of government, and been recognized with numerous awards including election to the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society.  He hosted the recent PBS miniseries Earth: The Operators’ Manual, and has been compared to a cross between Woody Allen and Carl Sagan for his enthusiastic efforts to communicate the excitement and importance of the science to everyone.

gcA9jTiEPenVCJbrZ9PQbIbe2fwC8R9WKvOiFvOyXi0Jennifer Francis earned a B.S. in Meteorology from San Jose State University in 1988 and a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington in 1994. She is a Research Professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University, where she taught courses in satellite remote sensing and climate-change issues, and also co-founded and co-directed the Rutgers Climate and Environmental Change Initiative. Her research focuses on Arctic climate change and Arctic-global climate linkages. She and her husband circumnavigated the world in a sailboat from 1980-1985, including Cape Horn and the Arctic, during which her interest in weather and the Arctic began.

SnzjiEVJIXx6k50RpjsSvquWBBRPdP0HFEmyBEb6K4sJonathan White joined the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Sep 2015 as the Vice President for Science and Strategy. Prior to this he had a distinguished 32-year career in the U.S. Navy and retired at the rank of Rear Admiral.

White’s passion for the ocean and ocean science began at a very early age as he grew up near Florida’s Gulf coast. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanographic Technology from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1981 and holds a master’s degree in Meteorology and Oceanography from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. After working at sea as a civilian oceanographer on board a seismic survey vessel, he was commissioned through Navy Officer Candidate School in 1983, and served for as a surface warfare officer for four years.

White joined the Navy’s Oceanography Community in 1987. He had numerous operational assignments at sea and ashore. White commanded the Naval Training Meteorology and Oceanography Facility, Pensacola, Florida, and was the 50th superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.

White was selected as a flag officer and honorary chief petty officer in 2009 and served as commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. He was promoted to the rank of rear admiral (upper half) in August 2012 as he assumed his duties as the Oceanographer and Navigator, which included duties as director of Task Force Climate Change, and Navy deputy to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

EI7GcB3ww14da6f0MdTMgzIt_t0YR7JSZXXn1IvUV9s,w4gKB4jtS7960MqlRNBlI6JvtCOo8SDiue19lufxmYARobert Max Holmes is a Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. Dr. Holmes is an earth system scientist who studies large rivers and their watersheds and how climate change and other disturbances are impacting the cycles of water and chemicals in the environment. He is particularly interested in the fate of the vast quantities of ancient carbon locked in permafrost in the Arctic, which may be released as permafrost thaws, exacerbating global warming. Dr. Holmes has ongoing projects in the Russian, Canadian, and Alaskan Arctic, and in the tropics in the Amazon and the Congo. He is committed to engaging students in his research projects and to communicating the results and implications of his research to the public and to policy-makers. Dr. Holmes recently served for two years as Program Director for the Arctic System Science Program at the National Science Foundation.

dWV-hS17mS9eXQf-B8JULQzjgDjQY6cy-uKevyYTZgsNatalie T. Boelman received a Ph.D. degree in earth and environmental sciences from the Columbia University, New York. She spent one and a half years as a Postdoctoral Scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology, Stanford, CA. Currently, she is an Associate Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY. Her lab group studies how Arctic flora and fauna are responding to climate change via field surveys, remote sensing, bioacoustics, and animal tracking techniques. Boelman grew up in Vancouver, Canada, and received her undergraduate degree in physical geography from McGill University, Montreal, PQ.

2Ct2rCPbV35aHcgxTZJcm4jrmdnfxdPU4pEq19iL1jkGwen Holdmann is the Director of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP), which is an applied energy research program based at the University of Alaska Fairbanks focusing on both fossil and renewable/alternative energy technologies. ACEP is a highly interdisciplinary program with over 30 affiliated faculty spanning a wide range of energy-related disciplines.

Prior to joining the University of Alaska, Gwen served as the Vice President of New Development at Chena Hot Springs Resort near Fairbanks. While at Chena, Gwen oversaw the construction of the first geothermal power plant in the state, in addition to numerous other innovative energy projects ranging from hydrogen production to cooling a 10,000ft² ice museum year-round using 150°F hot water.

Gwen moved to Alaska in 1994, shortly after graduating from Bradley University with a degree in Physics and Mechanical Engineering. Gwen is the mother of three children – Leif, Marais, and Lael. She is married to Iditarod and Yukon Quest musher Ken Anderson, and the couple maintain a kennel of about 50 dogs outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. They live off grid in a house they built themselves, and generate their own power through a combination of solar PV, wind, and diesel generator.

Gwen is an Arctic Fulbright scholar and has been the recipient of several awards throughout her career, including an R&D 100 award, Project of the Year from Power Engineering Magazine, the Alaska Top 40 Under 40 Award.


Alyson Azzara is a Senior Maritime Advisor for the U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System.  She works on issues related to vessel safety, navigation, infrastructure, and environmental stewardship, including Arctic issues. Previously she served as a researcher in the Marine Program of the International Council on Clean Transportation, where she worked on issues related to the air quality and climate impacts of shipping at international, national, and local levels.  She has a Ph.D. in marine biology from Texas A&M University.

Mark Brzezinski (US Ambassador to Sweden, 2011- 2015) is Executive Director of the U.S. Government’s Arctic Executive Steering Committee, a White House body that sets priorities across Executive Branch agencies under the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. His appointment is a consequence of the focus on the Arctic by President Obama, who last September became the first U.S. President to visit the Arctic region. Prior to his service as Ambassador, Brzezinski served on the National Security Council staff under President Clinton, first as Director for Russia and Eurasia, and then as Director for the Balkans. He was also a partner at a Washington, DC law firm and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Scott Doney is a Senior Scientist and Department Chair for Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  His research interests involve exploring how the global carbon cycle and ocean ecology respond to natural and human-driven climate change, which may act to either damp or accelerate climate trends. A current focus is on ocean acidification due to the invasion into the ocean of carbon dioxide and other chemicals from fossil fuel burning.

Craig Fleener was born in Anchorage and raised in Fort Yukon. He serves as the Arctic Policy Advisor for the Governor of State of Alaska, and as a Major in the Alaska National Guard.  Previously he was the Deputy Commissioner and a Division Director with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. Fleener, a Gwich’in Athabascan, has been involved in efforts to manage biodiversity in the region and to provide a voice for Gwich’in Natives. His experience includes serving as Executive Director of the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, and chairing the Gwich’in Council International.

Anne Hollowed is a Senior Scientist with the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center. She studies the effects of climate and ecosystem change on fish and fisheries, and leads the Status of Stocks and Multispecies Assessment program. She was a lead author on the Polar Chapter of Working Group II in the 5th Assessment Report of the IPCC.  She has been an active participant in several large research programs including the US GLOBEC Northeast Pacific Program, the Southeast Bering Sea Carrying Capacity Program, the Bering Sea Project, and the ICES/PICES Strategic Initiative on Climate Change Effects on Marine Ecosystems. Anne is an Affiliate Professor with the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington.

James (Jim) Kendall serves as the Regional Director of BOEM’s Alaska Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Region. Previously he served in research management positions in BOEM’s Gulf of Mexico and headquarters offices where he was, as is now, in the forefront of the Bureau’s science-informed decision-making processes. He is an active proponent for the better use of Traditional Knowledge in decision-making processes and an advocate of using ocean exploration to support the stewardship of OCS resources. Dr. Kendall has a Ph.D. in oceanography from Texas A&M University and did post-doctoral work in marine biology. He is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute, and of the Senior Executive Fellows Program of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Gregg Treinish founded Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation in 2011, with a passion for both scientific discovery and exploration.  National Geographic named Gregg Adventurer of the Year in 2008 when he completed a 7,800-mile trek along the Andes Mountain Range. In 2013 he became a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work with ASC. He was also named a Backpacker Magazine “hero,” and one of Men’s Journal’s “50 Most Adventurous Men.”  Gregg holds a biology degree from Montana State University and a sociology degree from CU-Boulder.

Fran Ulmer has served as chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission since March 2011. The State Department appointed Ms. Ulmer to serve as Special Advisor on Arctic Science and Policy, to help guide their efforts during the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Previously she has served on the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, and chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), and as a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at UAA. Ms. Ulmer served as an elected official for 18 years as the mayor of Juneau, a state representative, and as Lieutenant Governor of Alaska.