Faculty Profiles

Core Faculty

Our core faculty are your teachers, mentors, and guides throughout the quarter. The average student-to-faculty ratio is 5:1 or lower.

Aliette Frank, Ph.D., Member of the Faculty, The Evergreen State College. Aliette is an environmental explorer and teacher with an interdisciplinary degree in Science, Storytelling and Sustainability Education from the University of British Columbia (Trudeau Doctoral Scholar). Her B.A. from Dartmouth College is in Environmental & Evolutionary Biology and she is a creative nonfiction nature writer and natural science illustrator with expeditionary experience. Aliette's field research started with glacier surveys on the Juneau Icefield, Alaska and observational studies of endangered mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in Africa. She has written for publications such as National Geographic World, Nationalgeographic.com, National Geographic TravelerNew York Times- Scientist at Work, Journal of Environmental Studies & Sciences, and National Wildlife. Her drawings are on display at Dartmouth College's Dana Biomedical Library, and starting this spring, at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. She is a certified Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician. http://aliettefrank.com

Max Neale, M.S., Environmental Policy & Planning. Member of the Faculty, The Evergreen State College. http://maxneale.blogspot.com

Nicholas Dankers, Safety Staff.

Elizabeth Kimberly, Backcountry Instructor.

Participating Faculty

Your unique learning experience in the Wrangells is also due to a large and diverse set of participating faculty. They include long-time community members, park rangers, artists, writers, policy makers, and scientists conducting research on climate change, hydrology, ecology, glaciology, and anthropology.

Ben Shaine, Ph.D., Resource Faculty, The Evergreen State College. Ben participated in research and policy advocacy during congressional designation of the national park in Wrangell-St. Elias, has more than forty years experience working with college field programs in the Wrangells, published a novel set in the McCarthy area, and is actively engaged in park management planning issues. www.livingonunstableground.com

Barry Hecht, Senior Principal Hydrologist and Geologist, Balance Hydrologics, Inc. Berkelely, CA. Barry has been conducting hydrologic, geomorphic, and hydrogeologic research in the southern Wrangells and Copper Basin since 1972, including co-authoring the aquifer management plan for the region, and conducting geomorphic mapping of glacial deposits around the Kennecott Glacier.

Billy Armstrong, Ph.D. student, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Tim Bartholomaus, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences, University of Idaho. Tim is a glaciologist, geophysicist, and professor whose research reveals the factors leading to fast glacier flow and rapid ice loss. Tim and his students apply a variety of field, satellite-based and modeling techniques to uncover the physics of glacier change in Alaska, Greenland, and elsewhere. Water flow through glaciers and iceberg calving are particular focuses of his work, and he is an expert on the glaciers of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. http://tbartholomaus.org

Sarah Brey, M.A., Environmental Humanities. After also studying restoration ecology and landscape architecture at the University of Michigan, she has completed at least one thousand miles of backcountry trips. Currently Sarah lives in Anchorage.

Sophie Gilbert, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology, University of Idaho. Sophie studies how animal behavior, populations, and communities respond to environmental change. The goal of her work is to improve conservation and management of wildlife in the modern world. She collaborates closely with management agencies, non-governmental organizations, and stakeholders to identify wildlife research questions that are important for society and ecosystem health, and answers these questions in a diverse array of habitats and systems, from Alaska's temperate rainforest to Canada's boreal forest and the rugged landscapes of the Mountain West. http://www.gilbertresearch.org

Karen Mager, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Environmental Sustainability, Earlham College. Karen is a wildlife ecologist who takes an interdisciplinary approach to addressing environmental problems. She loves to teach outdoors and conduct collaborative field research with students.

Stephens Harper is district ranger with the National Park Service and a 15-year McCarthy resident. He addresses unique aspects of NPS management in Alaska, including the evolving relationship between this agency and local communities. 

Margot Higgins, Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at University of California, Berkeley.

Melissa Keevil, M.A., holds degrees in geology and environmental studies. Her projects have involved Wrangells students in studies of bluff stratigraphy, talus slope formation, and marmot behavior. When not in the Wrangells, she works as an environmental educator.

Kristin Link, B.A., has a certificate in Science Illustration from California State University Monterey Bay. She teaches field sketching and is involved with programming at the Wrangell Mountains Center. www.kristinillustration.com

Leif Mjos, B.S., is a broadly trained naturalist and summer resident of McCarthy. He is interested in topics such as avalanche ecology, which link ecology and geology. When not in Alaska, he works in the lower 48 to conserve desert tortoises.

Mark Vail is a 30-year local homesteader with a Naturalist/Historian background, sharing stories and insight into homestead living and boreal forest ecology.


Banner photo: The crossing. Photo credit: Sophie Gilbert.