Snow in Science, Culture, and Climate

Our Team

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Matthew Sturm, Ph.D., Professor of Geophysics

The U.S. Coast Guard brought Matthew to the Aleutian Islands in 1973 and, with the exception of four years of college, he has been in Alaska ever since.  He is currently a Professor of Geophysics and Chair of the Snow, Ice, and Permafrost Group at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he studies snow. Matthew has authored more than a hundred technical articles and several books, including a children’s book, on snow and ice in the Arctic. He is a veteran of more than 25 long winter research expeditions that have spanned the state. Boating on the rivers of Interior Alaska has been his passion for more than 30 years, during which time he has run everything from a Zodiac with 25 HP outboard to a high performance in-board jet boat. Matthew and his wife Betsy, a retired second grade teacher, have two grown children. They live near Fox, Alaska with their two dogs.

Anika Pinzner, Ph.D. Student

Anika is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Geosciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is using a combination of airborne and on-the-ground measurements and observations to study the reflectivity of snow during the melt season in Utqiaġvik, Alaska. She is also trying to understand how snowcovers on streams affect water temperatures and therefore salmon-egg survival in the State. Growing up in a small town in southern Germany, Anika has come to love the North during visits to Greenland, Svalbard, and Alaska as well her time living in Denmark and Sweden where she received her MSc degree in Environmental Sciences (UCPH & SLU). Her Master’s thesis focused on contaminants in snow, trace metals such as arsenic and lead but also light-absorbing particles such as soot. Anika’s favorite way of spending her time is being outdoors with friends. Floating glacial rivers, fat biking on snowy trails, or hiking to high-mountain lakes, her dog Poquontchn accompanies her on all adventures.

Serina Wesen, Snow Education & Outreach

Serina is from Anchorage, Alaska and joined our team as a snow science educator in October 2021. Serina graduated from the University of Alaska, Anchorage with a BS in Natural Sciences with focuses in Geology and Environmental Science with a minor in Mathematics. Prior to working at the GI, Serina worked with the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) as a Lead Youth Peer Mentor and Summer Director for over four years, conducted summer research at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica, and worked in the Conservation Genetics Laboratory at USFWS. This Alaskan loves to spend time with her dogs: Swix and Zion, travel to new places, and spend time playing outside. Her favorite outdoor activities consist of rock and ice climbing, hiking, sea kayaking, mountain and fat biking, camping and skiing. Serina loves working with students and is excited to teach them about snow.

Hannah Delamere, Student Educator

Hannah is a senior at West Valley High School, scheduled to graduate in the class of 2022 and attend Colgate University as a freshman in the class of 2026, majoring in Environmental Geology. A cross-country skier since three years old, she has lots of experience with snow of all types. Other hobbies she enjoys includes painting, soccer, and any outdoors activity.

Maria Berger, Science Educator

Maria joined the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute as a science educator/ outreach specialist in January 2020. Prior to that, she worked for six years as an education specialist with the National Park Service in Fairbanks, Alaska and with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska. She came to Alaska “temporarily” to work at Denali National Park and Preserve in 2011 but was so captivated with the landscape, way of life, and friendly people that she is still here nine years later. She loves snow and counts cross-country skiing and dog mushing among her favorite outdoor pursuits.

Margaret Rudolf, Ph.D. Student

Margaret is Iñupiaq, born and raised in Alaska. She holds a Master’s Degree in Arctic Engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is currently studying co-production of knowledge methodology as an interdisciplinary Ph.D. student. Her experience in education includes completing the Science Teaching and Outreach certificate program, participating in a science outreach fellowship at a Fairbanks high school, and several years as a science summer camp instructor. Margaret played a key role in a previous (2014-2019) NSF-funded informal science learning project related to permafrost, Hot Times in Cold Places: Permafrost During Climate Change. She continues to contribute her experience and abilities to the Our Winter World project team as an unofficial consultant.  

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

Vicki Coats, Exhibit Research and Development Manager

More information coming soon!

Center of Science and Industry (COSI)

Deborah Wasserman, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, COSI Center for Research and Evaluation

More information coming soon!

Goldstream Group, Inc.

Angela Larson, Owner and Principal

Kelly Kealy, Evaluation Consultant

More information coming soon!