Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

APECS is very pleased to have elected our 12th 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..

Jilda Caccavo - President 2018-2019

Jilda Caccavo 2018 1University of Padua - Italy / Germany

Greetings from Berlin, via Italy, hailing from Brooklyn, NY. I just completed my PhD on the population structure of the keystone species the Antarctic silverfish. My research interests involve combining 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.

I joined the APECS Council for the 2016-17 term and worked in multiple capacities before being elected to the Executive Committee for the 2017-18 term. I am excited to have the opportunity to be part of the APECS ExCom for the 2018-19 term, continuing to support the ambitious projects of the Council, the day to day business of running APECS, and realizing the overarching goals of each ExCom’s mandate: providing opportunities for and supporting early career Polar researchers.

Jennifer Cooper - Vice-President 2018-2019

Jennifer Cooper 2018 copyUniversity of Kansas - United States

Greetings from the Midwest of the USA! Somewhat of an academic nomad, I have lived and studied on 6 continents throughout my life. Hailing from Shingle Springs, CA, I completed my undergraduate education at Cornell University (2014) in astrophysics, geophysics, and archaeology, where I primarily studied volcanoes around the globe, including those in Antarctica, with various satellite data. I then decided to turn my eyes towards the sky and change fields to galaxy evolution and cosmology, completing a Msc in Physics (2017) at Cal State LA/UCI, and continuing on to a PhD program in Physics at the University of Kansas. There are a wide range of facilities in this field located in Antartica, and other telescopes around the world are located at high altitude, which allows me to delve into multidisciplinary areas of study.

I’ve been a member of the Council since 2015 and have thoroughly enjoyed the sense of community, network, and opportunities APECS has provided and working towards common goals. After gaining leadership experience through various project groups and chairing the organizing of the 2018 APECS World Summit, I was the 2017-2018 Council-Co Chair. I'm also the APECS representative to SCAR Astronomy & Astrophysics and on the board of USAPECS. As an enthusiastic and dedicated individual, I’m looking forward to working together with everyone to help facilitate the evolution of growth of APECS while continuing to support early career researchers.

Clare Eayrs - Vice-President 2018-2019

Clare Eayrs 2018New York University Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

I am working as a research scientist in the Center for global Sea Level Change at New York University Abu Dhabi. We are a very small community of polar researchers in Abu Dhabi, and I love the extensive network of friendly polar scientists that I have met through APECS. I am relatively new to polar research, having taken up this position only a couple of years ago. I am interested in Antarctic sea ice, in particular on waves in sea ice and the interactions between sea ice and ice sheet margins. I had the opportunity to deploy some wave buoys in the Antarctic Marginal Ice Zone last year on the SA Agulhas II, which was a fantastic experience and I can't wait to get back into the field. My previous background is in modelling European Shelf Sea Ecosystems. I worked for Cefas, UK and the Joint Research Centre, European Commission to look at policy focused questions such as, how do riverine nutrients affect the eutrophication of European coastal waters, the contribution of on-board desulphurisation equipment (open loop scrubbers) on seawater quality, and marine ecosystem response to climate change and trawling.

Juan Höfer - Vice-President 2018-2019

Juan Hofer pictureSouthern University of Chile / IDEAL research center, Chile

My name is Juan Höfer and I am greeting you from a cloudy and rainy city in Chile, Valdivia. I got my PhD. in biological oceanography at the Oviedo University (Spain). During those years, I worked in temperate and sub-tropical seas, studying plankton, especially spatial distributions, population ecology and its role in pelagic trophic webs (i.e. energy and matter fluxes). Two years ago, I moved to the south of Chile as a post-doctoral researcher at the Southern University of Chile and the IDEAL research center. Since then, my research has drifted south and further south (from Northern Patagonia to Southern Patagonia) until I reached Antarctica in summer 2017. Now, and until 2021, I will study the present and future role of Salpa thompsoni and Euphausia superba in the pelagic carbon fluxes of the Western Antarctic Peninsula as the main focus of my post-doctoral project. The drift of my research towards southern latitudes brought me to APECS and shortly after to its council. Joining APECS has been a great experience for me and I would like to be in the next ExCom to help in providing new interesting opportunities for ECRs.

Gabriela Roldan - Vice-President 2018-2019

Gabriela RoldanUniversity of Canterbury, New Zealand

My name is Gabriela Roldan, I am a passionate advocate for the Polar Regions. I’m from Ushuaia, Argentina but live in New Zealand now. I am in the final stages of a PhD at Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury. In my research, I look at the influence of Antarctic geopolitical agendas in the construction of Antarctic identities within the communities of gateway cities. My wider research interests are in polar policy-making, community identity, polar tourism and management, and polar education and outreach. Currently, I hold a position as expert researcher at Gateway Antarctica, connected to a larger international research project titled ‘Antarctic Cities and the Global Commons’. I represent APECS at the SCAR Capacity Building, Education and Training Group (SCAR CBET), 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 - ex-officio

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

APECS Executive Committee Member 2016 - 2018

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.

Hanne Nielsen - ex-officio

Hanne Nielsen 2017University of Tasmania, Australia

APECS President 2017-2018

APECS Executive Committee Member 2015 - 2018

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.

Contact APECS

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