Meet the Staff
The Staff are a dedicated crew of JIRP alumni who make the logistics and operations of the field season work smoothly. They come from all corners of North America and the Basque Country of Spain, and they each come to Southeast Alaska in the summer to bring their experience and skills to the expedition.
Annie has been working continuously with JIRP for the past six years, most recently as the Assistant Operations Manager and as the faculty lead for the growing Science Communication curriculum. Annie is finishing up her M.Sc. at the University of Maine using computer modeling to answer questions about glacial erosion in coastal Alaska. Before graduate school, Annie worked as a middle school science teacher, a field assistant on a research ship, and a trip leader in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. She earned a B.A. in Geology from Carleton College in 2011.
Annie couldn't imagine a better place to work than JIRP. She loves working with such a motivated crew of scientists and educators and firmly believes in JIRP as a positive agent in bringing up the next generation of earth scientists.
When she's not keeping JIRP running and working on her thesis, Annie spends most of her time in the woods, running, hiking, skiing, and trying (in vain) to tire out her relentlessly energetic dog, Dixie.
Annie on JIRP: "When I landed in Juneau as a JIRP student, it took me 20 whole minutes to figure out I had found my new friends. Every day with JIRP since then has affirmed that this is where I want to be: on the ground, figuring out how the natural world works, and pushing relentlessly forward in science research and science education."
First a JIRP student in 2008, Newt immediately felt a deep and unquestioning connection to the people and places that JIRP brought together. Since then he has been returning as a member of the field staff most years since 2010, playing roles ranging from Safety Staff to Carpenter to Operations Manager. Newt graduated from Colby College with a degree in Geology. He worked for several years in the sciences, first doing research and field work for the NY State Geological Survey, and later teaching earth science to middle schoolers. Currently Newt works as a carpenter/woodworker, and spends as much time as he can in the outdoors hiking, biking, skiing, motorcycling, and travelling.
Newt on JIRP: "JIRP to me is about the ultimate combination of learning, the environment, and most importantly the community. Getting a chance to share these aspects with folks each summer is a privilege I do not take lightly, and I continue to enjoy immensely."
Ibai has been the Safety Manager at JIRP since 2015. He's been climbing and skiing since he was young, and has explored several new ice climbing routes in Patagonia and the Himalayas. When not at JIRP Ibai works as a mountain guide in the Pyrenees, Alps, Norway and the Greater Caucasus. He also teaches courses in snow/avalanche safety, expedition logistics and risk management. In his free time Ibai combines mountain guiding with carrying out glaciology research on the glaciers of the Pyrenees and Tierra del Fuego, addressing questions related to Glacier Change, Glacial Geomorphology, Permafrost, and Geo-Hazards; he also teaches Geography at the University of the Basque Country. His last expedition to the Chilean Patagonia was focused on exploring the Cloue Icefield; understanding glacier change and ascending previously un-climbed summits in an expedition sponsored by the National Geographic Society.
Ibai on JIRP: "Guiding JIRP has been one of the most fulfilling experiences; the combination of Nature, Books and Action makes it a completely unique and unforgettable experience for every person in the program and I feel privileged to be part of it."
Assistant Operations Manager
Annika is an artist, commercial fisher(wo)man, outdoorswoman, and four season JIRP field staffer. After graduating from Carleton College in 2014 with a degree in Biology, Annika has been exploring connections between people and place and studying environmental science and climate stories around the world – from Chile to New Zealand, and back home in Southeast Alaska.
Annika has been a leading light in the growing science communication and art curriculum at JIRP. In addition to this work, she is excited to step into the Assistant Operations Manager position this summer.
Annika on JIRP: "Exploring and learning from wild places and the people who make their homes there is what I love most. JIRP is a beautiful blend of this -- full of deep belly laughter, immense snowscapes, and inspired learning.
Allie hails from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. These days she is living in Munich, Germany as the official JIRP Ambassador to Europe. Allie's student experience at JIRP in 2015 convinced her to return as Safety Staff in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Allie earned her B.S. in Geographical Biogeosciences from University of British Columbia is 2010 and her M.Sc. in Cartography at the Technical Universities of Munich, Vienna, and Dresden in 2017. When she's not at JIRP, look for Allie flying her kite on a mountain peak, cooking up a curry, or inflicting her questionable German on the locals.
Allie on JIRP: "I can’t wait to see some familiar JIRP faces and to meet all of this year’s new students."
Olivia grew up far from ice and snow in the (still beautiful) Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She graduated from Amherst College with a BA in Geology and Law, Jurisprudence, & Social Thought in 2016. Olivia came to JIRP in the summer of 2016 having never before encountered cross country skis, crampons, or ice axes and promptly fell in love with the Icefield and the JIRP community. Since leaving the icefield, she's worked at an environmental law firm, moved to New Zealand, and written most of a masters thesis on the response of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to past climate changes.
When not working on the aforementioned thesis, Olivia has spent the past year and a half walking, running, and climbing around in the mountains, playing banangrams in backcountry huts, skiing up and down hill, and aggressively adopting NZ slang.
Olivia on JIRP: "My experience on the icefield in 2016 continues to shape my aspirations, values, and hobbies — I’m stoked to be back at JIRP this year with the opportunity to build another amazing field season with all of you!"
Alex started as a student at JIRP in 2016. He lives in Juneau and has been working as a software developer and moonlighting as a glacier guide and ski instructor. When he's not working, Alex likes to ski uphill, go climbing, and eat copious amounts of ice cream. Other than ice cream, some of his favorite foods include butter, cheese, chocolate, and butter. The Juneau Icefield is Alex's favorite place in the world because it teaches one to live simply and helps create intense bonds between JIRPers (which is why he can't wait to get back!). This summer Alex is looking forward to digging more snow pits, trying interesting pilot bread topping combinations, and taking in the vastness of the icefield while skiing. Alex earned his B.A. in Computer Science from Willamette University in 2015.
Alex on JIRP: "Since there is no ice cream on the icefield, if you are making any dessert that involves batter while on cook crew, I will be your friend and help you clean the bowl."
Andrew originally hails from Cape Elizabeth, ME. For the past four years he's been living in Vermont, going to Middlebury College, and working on his B.A. in Geology. Andrew first got excited about geology and glaciology and science as a JIRP student in 2015. Since then, he's had the opportunity to travel and study ice in the North Cascades, northern Sweden, and New Zealand. Andrew is also interested in other aspects of geology including volcanology and geochronology, which has led him into a year-long thesis using numerical models to study the geochemistry of clinopyroxene from cinder cones in northern California.
Andrew on JIRP: "I am so thrilled to meet everyone and geek out about geology and glaciers with you all this summer!"
Safety Staff and Science Communication Faculty
Drew is an environmental educator, outdoorswoman and freelance writer currently based in mid-coast Maine. She graduated in 2016 from Carleton College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies, and was a JIRP student in 2015. After leaving the Midwest, she worked at Climbing and Sierra Magazine, where she most enjoyed reporting on women in the outdoors and STEM, as well as climate change at the poles. Last summer she completed an AmeriCorps term in field education at Teton Science Schools. She currently teaches environmental issues at Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki, a school for high school juniors, and brings to the Icefield a love of project-based learning; science communication and education.
Kristen Lyda Rees
Kristen Lyda Rees grew up between a small mountain town and a ranch in Utah. In 2012 she moved to Juneau, Alaska when she got an itch for seasonal work. After several seasons guiding on glaciers for a helicopter company and a wilderness trekking company, she returned to school and currently attends University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau where she is finishing up her B.A. in Anthropology and Political Science. She’s taken advantage of excellent local education opportunities, working both with JIRP and as an intern in Governor Walker’s office during the 30th legislative session. When not in class, she’s involved as a student Senator, working for a master boatwright restoring a 1932 Danish Gaff Ketch, or sleeping in the university library. Kristen Lyda participated in JIRP as a student in 2016 and is interested in how humans relate and connect to their environments and resources.
Kristen Lyda on JIRP: “Gaining an interdisciplinary perspective of natural science, human understanding, and science communication has really influenced my life, especially when relating to climate change. JIRP has offered so much to fuel the flame, and I’m excited to be involved.”
Kate grew up in Denver, CO and became well acquainted with the mountains throughout her childhood. She came to JIRP as a student in 2016 and had a summer of deep belly laughs, long days on the glacier, deep snow pits, and warm dinners in the cook shack. Kate will graduate in May (woohoo!) with a B.S. in Watershed Science from Colorado State University. She's been a trip instructor for the CSU Outdoor Program for the last three years and says she's enjoyed the genuine privilege of sharing new ways of having fun in wild and beautiful places with her peers. Kate's favorite things to do include skiing up and down and all around (and laying down some mean face-plants on the downhill), climbing around the West, ripping around on mountain bikes, lounging in the sun, and seeing live music. Most of all, Kate values the time she gets to spend with her friends and family (especially her twin brother, because he hoots and hollers the entire way down the slope when they ski).
Kate on JIRP: "I’m absolutely jazzed to spend another season with JIRP because there are pieces of all the best things – cultivating a deep sense of community in a grand and humbling landscape while asking and investigating critical questions about our surroundings."
Molly is about to finish her bachelor’s degree in Geosciences at Smith College, concentrating her studies on Climate Change. After being a student at JIRP in 2016, she spent a year studying Food Sustainability in Iceland and Arctic Geology in Svalbard, Norway, where she began her thesis on the role of glacial meltwater in the chemical weathering of sedimentary rocks. After working as a guide and field assistant in Svalbard, Molly became interested in the logistical aspects of expeditions, and is very excited to live out her dream of working for JIRP as Lead Logistician this summer. When she is not doing science, you can catch Molly at the rock gym, your local ice cream parlor, or quietly knitting a sock under a tree somewhere.
Molly on JIRP: "Although nothing beats being on the Icefield, I am STOKED to be a part of the team in Juneau this year doing two things I absolutely love: buying groceries in bulk and organizing mail for all of the wonderful people on the glacier!"