Polar Careers Outside Academia

This page features conversations with some polar scientists who have pursued careers outside of academia, in hopes of sharing a bit about the various paths outside of academia that polar scientists can transition to if they’ve determined academia isn’t for them. In academic spaces, we often have ample opportunity to learn about what a pathway into academia might look like, but less so about these other options. Learn more about each featured person by clicking on the drop-down menu labeled “A Conversation with...”.

We acknowledge that there are still big gaps in career pathways that are featured and are excited to grow this resource through time. If you know of someone you think would be a great person to feature, please send the recommendation our way by emailing psecco@colorado.edu.

This page was initially created in conjunction with Kristen Rahilly with the Center for Oldest Ice Exploration (COLDEX) in the summer of 2023. Thank you so much to each of these individuals for sharing their time and career pathways with PSECCO and COLDEX to start creating such a page for early career folks to reference while they each consider their own next steps.

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Anthony Powell
Anthony Powell

antzkiwi@gmail.com 

He/Him 

Filmmaker - Education outreach, science documentation, camera technology in science 

Telecommunications and Electronics formal training, filmmaking and photography informal 

 

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Curtis LaBombard
Curtis LaBombard

clabombard@usgs.gov 

He/Him 

Curator - NSF Ice Core Facility 

B.A. - Geography, focus in Russian studies and Photography 

Masters work in Special Education and Project Management 

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Danielle Serratos
Danielle Serratos

danielle.serratos@novascotia.ca 

She/Her  

Director/Curator - Museum administration, Science Communication, & Paleontology 

B.S. & M.S. - Geology 

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A man in a black sweater and white collared shirt smiles in a large, white building.
Dr. Aaron Goldner

Aaron_Goldner@appro.senate.gov 

He/Him

Staff on Senate Appropriations Committee – Government Funding for Energy Focused Agencies 

Ph.D. – Climate Modeling 

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A man with a white shirt, blue hat, and blue backpack smiles in front of a flowing volcano.
Dr. Bruce Molnia

glacier1@verizon.net

He/Him

Senior Science Advisor for National Civil Applications

Ph.D. - Geological Oceanography 

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A man in a seersucker button-down shirt smiles in front of green foliage.
Dr. Chris Cox

He/Him 

Physical Scientist – Cryosphere Science 

Ph.D. – Environmental Science 

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Gifford Wong
Dr. Gifford Wong

gwong@ida.org

He/Him

Science Policy - Research Staff Member

Ph.D - Earth Sciences, Honours in Antarctic Studies, B.A. - Asian American Studies

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A large white building stands with a sign stating "Los Alamos Project Main Gate - passes must be presented to guards"
Dr. James Lee

jamesedlee@lanl.gov 

He/Him 

Earth Sciences – Research Scientist 2 at Los Alamos National Laboratory 

Ph.D. – Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science 

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Navy blue background with white text stating "McKinsey & Company"
Dr. Jan Lenaerts

jtmlenaerts@gmail.com  

He/Him 

Research Science Manager, Climate Analytics – McKinsey and Company 

Ph.D. – Polar Meteorology 

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Joe MacGregor Pic
Dr. Joseph MacGregor

joseph.a.macgregor@nasa.gov

He/Him

Research Physical Scientist - Cryospheric Sciences Lab at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

B.S. - Geophysical Engineering, Minor: Public Affairs for Engineers

Ph.D - Geophysics

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A woman with blonde hair and a gray beanie with white sunglasses smiles. She is wearing a large coat and is in the mountains.
Dr. Julia Rosen

Julia.rosen@nasw.org  

She/Her 

Freelance Journalist – Earth and Environmental Science 

Ph.D. – Geology (Ice Cores and Paleoclimatology 

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A woman with long brown hair is smiling at a podium with two microphones and a compute in front of her. She is wearing glasses and a black blazer.
Dr. Morgan Seag

Morgan.seag@gmail.com  

She/Her 

Global Mountains Director – International Cryosphere Climate Initiative 

Ph.D. – Geography 

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Vector logo of a purple and cyan lotus flower with a person meditating outlined in the middle.
Dr. Nadine Nereson

She/Her 

Medical & Wellness – Vice President Product Development 

Ph.D. – Geophysics 

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A woman with brown hair and glasses, wearing a red rain jacket, smiling on a walk along the shores of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula in Seward, Alaska.
Dr. Nikoosh Carlo

nikoosh.carlo@gmail.com  

She/Her 

Ph.D. - Neuroscience 

Koyukon Athabascan  

CEO and Founder of CNC North Consulting  

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Dr. Shad O'Neel grins at the camera wearing a climbing helmet
Dr. Shad O'Neel

Shad.oneel@gmail.com  

He/Him 

Research Physical Science at US Army Corps of Engineers

Ph.D. – Geophysics 

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Kate Koons
Kate Koons

katherine.koons.contractor@usap.gov

She/Her

Field Risk Manager - U.S. Antarctic Program

B.A. - Cultural Anthropology