President Biden appoints US Arctic Research Commission commissioners



WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden announced six commissioners to the United States Arctic Research Commission (USARC):

  • Michael Sfraga, President
  • Elizabeth ann cravalho
  • David michael kennedy
  • Mark D. Myers
  • Jackie A. Richter-Menge
  • Deborah Vo

The United States depends on the USARC commissioners to provide informed advice and rational, unbiased assessments of actions to maintain our position as a science-guided Arctic nation. The President’s appointments reflect his commitment to ensuring that USARC’s focus on the goals and objectives of scientific research for the Arctic derives from a wide range of expertise and perspectives. One-third of the appointed commissioners are Indigenous, half are women, and two-thirds are residents of Alaska. The legislation that established the USARC specifies that there should be four commissioners with academic or research experience, two who bring industry perspectives and an Indigenous representative.

Michael Sfraga, President
Dr Michael Sfraga is the founding director of the Polar Institute and the director of the Global Risk and Resilience Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. Alaskan and a trained geographer, his work focuses on the changing geography of Arctic and Antarctic landscapes, Arctic politics, and the impacts and implications of climate change on political, social, economic, environmental and security regimes in the world. ‘Arctic.

Dr Sfraga was Distinguished Co-Investigator for the US State Department’s First Fulbright Arctic Initiative from 2015 to 2017, a complementary program to the US Presidency of the Arctic Council; he held the same position from 2017-2019. He has served as Chairman of the 2020 Committee of Visitors Review of the Section for Arctic Science, Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation, and currently serves on the Science Advisory Board of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. Dr. Sfraga previously held a number of academic, administrative and executive positions at the University of Alaska including Vice Chancellor, Associate Vice President, Faculty Member, Department Chair and Associate Dean. He received his first doctorate in geography and northern studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Elizabeth ann cravalho
Elizabeth “Liz” Qaulluq Cravalho is Vice President of Lands for the NANA Regional Corporation, an Alaskan Native corporation owned by the Iñupiaq people of Northwestern Alaska. She is responsible for providing strategic leadership and management of programs focused on environmental protection and development of NANA lands for subsistence purposes by shareholders and local communities. Ms. Cravalho previously worked in external affairs, representing and advancing NANA interests in various policy areas, including Arctic opportunities, indigenous representation and responsible resource development.

In addition to her time at the NANA, Ms. Cravalho served on the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission for two years, during which time she provided recommendations to the Alaska Legislature on Arctic policy issues. She is also a past board member and chair of the Alaska Humanities Forum, where she has supported building social bridges between Alaska’s geography, cultures, and diverse communities. She holds a Master of Science in Organizational Development from American University and a Bachelor of History from Colorado College.

David michael kennedy
David Kennedy has been Chairman of the US Arctic Research Commission since March 2021. Mr. Kennedy has over 50 years of experience and leadership in science, research, environmental management and development of national laws and initiatives. His experience in the Arctic is vast: after six years as a US Air Force pilot based in Alaska, Mr. Kennedy worked at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks as Director of research facilities, then director of the spilled oil research team. focusing on the pollution problems of the Arctic. This led to a 30-year career with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), culminating as Senior Policy Advisor for the Arctic Region, where he addressed policy goals, objectives and programs until 2020.

His most recent job, prior to his first retirement from NOAA in January 2014, was in the role of Assistant Deputy Secretary of Operations at NOAA where he led the agency on drafting and implementing the national strategy. for the Arctic region and the development of the integrated strategy. Arctic Management Report. Following his retirement in May 2014, Mr. Kennedy returned to NOAA in the role of Senior Policy Advisor for the NOAA Arctic Region. In this role, he looked at the goals, objectives and programs of NOAA in the Arctic. Mr. Kennedy is a recognized national expert in the field of pollution emergency response; contingency planning; development of innovative technologies; matrix and collaborative management of programs; and a series of coastal issues focusing on development, climate change, energy and coastal resilience.

Mark D. Myers
Dr Mark Myers has been engaged in Arctic research, resource management and policy for almost four decades. He is the Director of Anchorage-based Myenergies and is engaged, through Deloitte and the US Department of State, in overseas capacity building in government resource departments in the Arctic, Balkans and Eastern Europe. Previously, he held leadership positions with the State of Alaska, the University of Alaska, and the US Department of the Interior. These positions included the Director of the US Geological Survey, the Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner, the Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Alaska State Geologist, and the Director of the state of oil and gas. Dr. Myers spent 26 years in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve as a pilot and intelligence officer. He holds a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree in geology with a specialization in clastic sedimentology and in the interpretation of paleoenvironments and deposit systems.

Dr. Myers has served on numerous advisory committees for the Federal and State of Alaska governments, including the Alaska State Research Committee, the National Petroleum Council, the Hydrate Advisory Committee of Methane, the steering committee of the US Global Change Research Program and as a senior member of the US Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee. He has also been involved with the Arctic Council, as a member of the US delegation to the 2015 Arctic Council Senior Officials meeting and as a member of the US delegation to the working group. on sustainable development and the working group on scientific cooperation.

Jackie A. Richter-Menge
Dr Jackie Richter-Menge began her arctic research career in 1981, when she joined the US Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in Hanover, in New Hampshire. Dr Richter-Menge worked at CRREL for 34 years, gaining first-hand experience in the Arctic by leading or participating in more than 20 field programs. She continues to work as a research affiliate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Dr. Richter-Menge’s research aims to understand the impact of global warming on the Arctic environment with a focus on sea ice cover. Its work improves short-term forecasts to support daily activities and operations, and long-term projections to plan for future climate-related changes. Jackie especially enjoys education awareness. She has devoted part of her career to teaching students and the general public about the polar environment and the particularly pronounced effects of global warming on the Arctic region.

Dr. Richter-Menge received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2016 in recognition of her research achievements. She received the Medal of Military Excellence for Civilian Service in 1994, 2012 and 2017 and the Bronze Order of the Fleury Medal in 2017.

From 2005 to 2020, Jackie was the editor of the online Arctic Report Card, published annually with support from the NOAA Climate Program Office. She was co-chair of the National Science Foundation’s Arctic Research Support and Logistics report, “Increasing Arctic Accessibility Over the Next Twenty Years,” and the National Academy of Sciences report, “Seasonal-to-Decadal Predictions of Arctic Sea Ice: Challenges and strategies. She also chairs the Scientific Steering Committee of the US Navy’s Arctic Underwater Science Program, supporting a unique partnership between the military and civilian research community in the collection of environmental data.

Deborah Vo
Deborah Vo joined the Rasmuson Foundation in January 2021 as a program manager within the program team, the Foundation’s grantmaking team. She is a longtime Alaskan woman whose expertise ranges from tribal governance to health care and community development. She recently worked as a Special Assistant for Rural Affairs to US Senator Lisa Murkowski. During her nearly seven years in Murkowski’s office, Ms. Vo represented the senator at rallies, advised her on rural issues and accompanied her on her travels in rural areas. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Elms College and an MBA from Alaska Pacific University.

Ms. Vo was born and raised in St. Mary’s on the Lower Yukon River, the youngest of 10 siblings. She began her career as the first female city manager in her hometown. She has also served as a Tribal Administrator, Health Planner facilitating tribal management of Alaska Native health services statewide, and Executive Director of the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, a former advocacy group. of the rights of the 229 tribes recognized by the federal government of Alaska. Ms. Vo has also worked for two companies as part of the Community Development Quota program, which channels fishing investments into jobs, education and other benefits in 65 communities in western Alaska. She managed rural energy planning for the Alaska Energy Authority.



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