Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

APECS is very pleased to have elected our 11th Executive Committee. These leaders are responsible for working with our members, advisors and partner organizations to continue to develop our organization to be a resource for early career scientists interested in the polar and cryospheric regions.

They meet every two weeks on a conference call to discuss new opportunities to help us all develop our careers. Read the summaries of their meetings and find out more about the role and responsibilities of serving in this capacity.

If you would like to contact the Executive Committee, just send them an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Hanne Nielsen - President 2017-2018

Hanne Nielsen 2017University of Tasmania, Australia

My name is Hanne Nielsen, I live in Hobart, and I have a passion for all things Antarctic. Over the last 3 years I have been writing my PhD at the University of Tasmania, where I split my time between the English Department and the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. My research looks at representations of Antarctica in advertising media – I ask how Antarctica has been used to sell various products and services over time. This topic reflects my wider research interests in Antarctic Humanities and Social Sciences research: In 2013 I completed a Masters of Antarctic Studies at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), examining representations of Antarctica upon the theatrical stage, and I am currently the Early Career representative on the SCAR Humanities and Social Sciences Expert Group Executive Committee.

I first travelled to Antarctica in 2011 as part of the University of Canterbury’s Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies, and I have since returned for several seasons, spending time lecturing on Antarctic cruise ships. I have been involved in both the APECS leadership since 2014, and with the local APECS Oceania branch since 2012.

Jilda Alicia Caccavo - Vice-President 2017-2018

Jilda Alicia Caccavo.jpg

The University of Padua, Italy

My apartment in Italy is home to an Antarctic researcher plush toy my parents gave to me when I began my PhD at the University of Padua studying the population structure of the keystone species the Antarctic Silverfish. Attached to the toy is a note I found in one of my childhood drawers which reads: Name: Jilda Alicia Caccavo, Age: 9, Job: Future Marine Biologist.

I am proud to say that 20 years later, I am fulfilling that dream, employing multidisciplinary techniques including genetics, otolith chemistry and trophic analyses to understand the health of Antarctic fish populations in order to gauge what impacts climate change and anthropogenic disturbances will have on them.

Becoming involved in the Antarctic sphere during my PhD and having worked on the APECS council for the past year in multiple capacities, I’m eager to work with the APECS Executive Committee to support like-minded, passionate, Polar scientists in their initiatives and pursuits.

Jean Holloway - Vice-President 2017-2018

Jean Holloway

University of Ottawa - Canada

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa, Canada. My research interests are focused around determining how permafrost is responding to climate change in the Canadian Arctic. After completing my MSc (Geography) at Queen’s University, I joined the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics at the University of Ottawa. At Queen’s, I worked in the Canadian High Arctic looking at features related to permafrost thaw, and during this time I fell in love with the North!

My current research is focused on determining the impacts of forest fires on discontinuous permafrost in the south-western Northwest Territories, Canada. Little work has been done to quantify the impacts of fire on permafrost in this region, even though the increasing frequency and magnitude of fires has the potential to accelerate permafrost loss.

Working on large multi-disciplinary projects in northern communities has made me realize that science communication is a vital part of conducting research, and I strive to make this an important part of my projects moving forward.

Gabriela Roldan - Vice-President 2017-2018

Gabriela Roldan 1Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury - New Zealand

My name is Gabriela and I live in beautiful New Zealand! I'm a social scientist in the making, as I'm finishing my PhD this year. My research interests are in Antarctic geopolitics and Polar community identity, particularly in the gateway cities. I am also interested in the science-policy interaction and how to bridge these two working environments for the benefit of the Polar Regions. I am passionate about Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and I have an extensive experience in Antarctic tourism, education and outreach. I have an Honours degree in Tourism Management from the University of Patagonia, Ushuaia Campus (Argentina) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies from University of Canterbury (NZ). I have recently started a postdoctoral position as Gateway Antarctica (NZ) and I have been awarded the COMNAP Fellowship 2017.

Before getting involved in academia, I worked extensively in project management with an Antarctic focus, particularly implementing marketing strategies to develop the Antarctic tourism industry, developing curriculum-based Antarctic Education Programmes for children and Community Engagement programmes in Antarctic matters. In addition, I have collaborated with the Council of Managers of Antarctic National Programs (COMNAP) annual meetings, I have represented the regional government at the Reunion of Managers for Latin American Antarctic Programs (RAPAL) and currently, I am a member of the steering committee for SCAR Capacity Building, Education and Training Advisory group (SCAR-CBET). In addition, in my spare time, I work for a small non-profit foundation for ecological restoration in remote islands ( and I travel frequently to Antarctica working as a naturalist for ecotourism expeditions.

Alexander Thornton - Vice-President 2017-2018

A.E.Thornton 2016University of Alaska Fairbanks - United States

I am a Master’s student in Marine Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where I research feeding ecologies of Pacific walruses in a changing Arctic using stable isotopes from growth layers of teeth. I received my first Master's from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where I studied marine biodiversity and conservation of Earth's polar regions and completed analyses with NOAA’s SWFSC on how different mating strategies affect recovery rates of dolphins impacted by fisheries. Outside of school, I co-founded a SCAR EG-BAMM working group to investigate new, non-invasive field DNA sequence approaches and am training my shelter dog for wildlife detection. I am also currently one of APECS’ Executive Committee members and Representatives to SCAR’s CBET Committee.

In my lifetime, I hope to produce scientific content that positively influences dynamic ocean management and communicate the global value of polar science to a broad audience. I believe that STEAM fields are empowered by diversity and multi-disciplinary approaches, so am proud to work alongside early career scientists from around the world as we make strides towards meeting intersectional goals.

Alice Bradley - ex-officio

Alice Bradley 2016Dartmouth College, United States

APECS President 2016-2017

APECS Executive Committee Member 2015 - 2017

I am a Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado Boulder with the Aerospace Engineering department and the Remote Sensing, Earth and Space Sciences focus area. My research looks at how changes in sea ice cover lead to warming in the upper layers of the Arctic Ocean, how that heat delays freeze-up in the fall, and how the whole process manifests as thinner first-year ice cover the following spring. I also work on projects developing novel observational methods for Arctic research, including microbuoys and unmanned-aircraft based systems. Prior to coming to CU Boulder, I grew up in Alaska and went to Dartmouth College.


Ruth Vingerhagen - ex-officio

Ruth Hindshaw 2015

University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

APECS President 2015-2016

APECS Executive Committee Member 2014 - 2016

My research aims to understand biogeochemical processes in polar/alpine environments with the main focus on constraining how chemical weathering is affected by glaciation. The chemical weathering of silicate rocks is a key feedback mechanism for the stabilisation of Earth’s climate by regulating the carbon cycle. I work with isotope tracers (Ca, Sr, Li) in stream water, together with the analysis of rock samples and laboratory experiments in order to identify which chemical reactions are occurring, with a particular focus on seasonal variations.

Contact APECS

APECS International Directorate
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A45
14473 Potsdam
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