Staff Directory

Executive Director - Maribeth Murray
403-220-7516

Murray’s  research is focused on human and marine system dynamics in the Arctic and sub-Arctic, emphasizing the integration of climate, historic, oceanographic and ecological data to better understand how the Arctic functions as a system with people integral to that system. In recent years, she has been engaged internationally in the development of an integrated Arctic Observing System that provides both scientific and societal benefits, including for Arctic Indigenous people, adaptation planning, renewable resource management, and operational services among others. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Polar Knowledge Canada, the Board of Directors of the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, and the Board of the Canadian Network of Northern Research Operators. 

Prior to coming to the University of Calgary in July 2013, Dr. Murray was on the faculty at the International Arctic Research Center in the Northern Studies Program of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She holds the position of Executive Director of the International Study of Arctic Change where she is responsible for the development of an internationally supported, ongoing program of arctic environmental change research, science planning and stakeholder engagement. 

Maribeth Murray Publications

Manager, Research Data & Information Services - Shannon Christoffersen Vossepoel
403-220-4033

Biography: Shannon Vossepoel joined the Arctic Institute of North America in June 2012. Prior to working at AINA, Shannon worked for several years in public libraries and historic sites. Shannon has a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alberta, a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Calgary, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Calgary. She is an institutional member of the International Arctic Science Committee/Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks Arctic Data Committee, 2016-2018 Chair of the Polar Libraries Colloquy, and a technical team lead for the Canadian Consortium for Arctic Data Interoperability (CCADI).

ASTIS, Information Analyst - Lynda Howard
403-220-4055

Biography: Lynda Howard joined the ASTIS project in the Spring of 1990. Her research and consulting background is in the area of social impact assessment, with a focus on land-based people and the impact of development on their communities, social relationships and cultures. Her work with Dome Petroleum in its Northern Affairs Department and with the Arctic Institute's Native Employment and Training Study provided a context that continues to be useful in regard to much of her work as an Information Analyst with the ASTIS project. Working for ASTIS has given her opportunities to work in the North, on occasion, and the much valued flexibility in work and holiday schedules so that she can seek out good conditions for play time in the mountains. Lynda has several degrees from the University of Calgary: BA in Sociology, and Masters from the Faculty of Environmental Design and from the Faculty of Communications and Culture.

Lynda Howard Publications

ASTIS, Information Analyst - Lynne Howard
403-220-4032

Biography: Lynne Howard joined the ASTIS project as an Information Analyst in 1981. She holds a B.A. in Archaeology and Art History from the University of Calgary and a Diploma of Horticulture from Olds College.

Lynne Howard Publications

Editor, ARCTIC Journal - Karen McCullough
403-220-4049

Biography: Karen McCullough has been editor of the journal ARCTIC for more years than she cares to remember. Dr. McCullough earned both a BA and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Toronto and an MA in Archaeology from the University of Calgary. Her doctoral research focused on the prehistory of the ancestral Inuit Thule culture on the central east coast of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian High Arctic. When not staring into a computer screen or reading manuscripts, she finds joy in being with her lovely daughter Claire, hiking and cross-country skiing in the Rockies, watching birds, and listening to opera.

Karen McCullough Publications 

Institute Manager - Mary Li
403-220-8373

Biography: Mary Li joined the University of Calgary in 2006. Prior to this, she had been working as an accountant in different industry sectors including construction, investment and property management. Mary graduated from Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, in 1999 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. She is also a certified general accountant. In her spare time, she enjoys being part of the nature, camping and boating with her husband and two lovely kids in the beautiful Rocky Mountains and small towns in British Columbia. She also enjoys singing, hiking and cooking.

Administrative Assistant - Melanie Paulson
403-220-7515

Biography: Melanie returned to the University of Calgary in February 2011, after a two-year hiatus spent in the retail sector at the perpetually busy Apple Store. Melanie graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1996 with a Master of Science degree in Organic Chemistry, but realized soon thereafter that she preferred the administrative aspects of the laboratory to synthesizing new compounds. She enjoys interacting with the AINA members via all methods of communication. When not at the front desk, she likes to pack in as much hiking and camping with her husband and three kids as our short Canadian summers allow.

Kluane Lake Research Station, Manager
867-841-4561

Mailing Address: AINA, Kluane Lake Research Station
Mile 1054 Alaska Highway 
Yukon 
Y0B 1H0 

ASTIS, Information Analyst - Vinay Rajdev
403-220-7928

Vinay has previously worked as a researcher for the Arctic Institute and for the Health, Environment and Indigenous Research Group at Trent University. Vinay’s Arctic background includes working with Inuit communities on food security in Arctic Canada, risk communication on contaminants, social and economic issues affecting communities, climate change and health impact, and water issues. He has also worked on Inuit knowledge and land use studies. Vinay has experience with Arctic geography, indexing and data entry, and web-site development. He holds a BSc in Environmental Science from Trent University and a Master of Resource and Environmental Management from Dalhousie University.

Graduate Student- Kent Spiers
403-220-5775

Kent Spiers is a Ph. D. student at the Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary, working with Dr. Maribeth Murray. His research interests include community health and well-being, and the relationship of communities with their environment. Kent's work includes Alaska and Arctic Canada. For his doctoral dissertation, Kent is examining and evaluating the success of community-based monitoring programs.

Kent’s academic career starts back in 2007 when he decided to leave an 8 year career to further his intellectual curiosity.  His academic journey started in Toronto with 1 year at York University.  He then travelled to Alaska on a vacation and ended up living in Anchorage for 5 years.  While he was there he was deeply engaged in campus life at the University of Alaska Anchorage, earned a degree in Sociology and minor in Environmental Studies, was chosen to be the Student Commencement Speaker, and worked as a Research Professional for 2 years. He then moved to Thunder Bay to attend Lakehead University where he earned a Master's Degree in Sociology.  His love of the North started when he was an infant as his family spent most summers living in Dawson City before moving to Fort McMurray, where he spent most of his life. He has a wide range of research interests that include aspects of living in the North, cultural diversity, environmental sustainability and natural resource use. 

Post-doctoral Fellow-Patty Wells
403-220-5775

In October, Patricia (Patty) Wells joined the institute team through the Eyes High Postdoctoral Program established by the University of Calgary. She is involved in a SSHRC-funded research project aimed at understanding human and marine interactions within the Arctic system over the last 1000 years. Patty’s role is focused on gathering climate information from historical documentary sources, including the journals of fur traders, expedition leaders, ship’s logs, and commercial whaling and sealing records of the past 400 years. These written records have the potential to characterize climate conditions at a seasonal or annual level and to track the ecology of marine mammals, sea birds, and other species within the system.  Furthermore, they will be integrated into existing syntheses of paleoenvironment, past human adaptation, regional climate, and sea ice evolution. The project will address both short- and long-term trends across a broad area extending across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, from the Beaufort Sea in the west to the Labrador Sea in the east. The broad temporal and geographic scope of this project will enhance and human responses and inform developing frameworks for understanding future change. Patty’s academic background is in zooarchaeology, particularly as it pertains to Arctic Small Tool cultures—the Groswater and Dorset—in Newfoundland and Labrador. She has conducted butchery and settlement and subsistence studies and analyzed osseous tool industries to understand the social and technical practices of Arctic cultures in the region. In addition, Patty has conducted research involving a number of documentary sources such as the records of the Hudson Bay Company, northern exploration journals, and newspapers. She is delighted to be combining her archaeological and documentary research interests in this important project.

Patricia Wells Publications

Post-doctoral Fellow-Ravi Darwin Sankar
403-220-5775

Dr. Sankar joined the Arctic Institute of North America (AINA) at the University of Calgary as an Eyes High Postdoctoral Fellow. His addition to the team of researchers at the AINA will aid an ongoing project that seeks to determine the interactions between human/marine and climate systems.  Prior to joining the institute, Ravi completed his PhD in Geological Sciences at Florida State University (USA). His dissertation focused on quantifying the effects of sea-level change and increased storminess on coastal morphology along sandy coastlines. His research was instrumental in predicting shoreline retreat and land loss rates along barrier-island settings, which served as a catalyst to planning future coastal zone management strategies that address the near-term effects of climate change on coastal environments. Dr. Sankar completed his M.Sc in Geology at Florida State University as a Fulbright scholar, and his undergraduate degree in Physics and Environmental Sciences at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad. He has also taught courses in Geology, Physics and Science at an amalgamation of Universities in the USA, Canada and the Caribbean.

Post-doctoral Fellow-Mike Moloney
403-220-8751

Mike has recently joined the Arctic Institute working in collaboration with Maribeth Murray on archaeological materials obtained from Mink Island, Alaska. The collection, comprising largely faunal material, represents a 6500 year period of occupation and exploitation of marine resources in the area. For this project specifically Mike will focus on building a working database of the more than 100,000 samples in order to facilitate a diachronic understanding of the biogeography of the area, and investigate the impact of climate change on marine fauna, particularly during the Neoglacial. Prior to joining the institute, Mike was completing his PhD in archaeology at the University of Calgary. For his doctoral studies, Mike investigated the application of innovative computer-based spatial modelling to the examination of shipwrecks and shipboard societies. As an underwater archaeologist he has worked on submerged sites around the world, including Canada, the UK, Thailand, and Sweden. Mike is very excited to be working on climate change studies with the Arctic Institute, expanding his research horizons.

Post-doctoral Fellow- Henry Penn
403-220-7294

Dr. Henry (Harry) Penn joins the Arctic Institute of North American (AINA) as a Postdoctoral researcher on the Genome Canada and Alberta GENICE project. The GENICE project will use microbial genomics to generate, science-based knowledge on the role and potential of bioremediation – the biodegradation of oil by naturally occurring microorganisms – in arctic waters for oil spill mitigation. Harry will support AINA to develop the Environmental, Ethical, Economic, Legal and Social Aspects (GE3LS) components of GENICE in partnership with Northern communities and organizations. Policies and strategies informed by genomics research will enable an improved capacity for environmental protection through safer shipping and oil exploration in the Arctic. Prior to joining the Institute, Harry completed a Master’s in Civil Engineering at Loughborough University in England before travelling to the University of Alaska Fairbanks for his Ph.D. His doctoral research was centered broadly around water infrastructure and water security, with a focus on the role of human capital and responding to change—both climatological and sociocultural. His thesis used water security as a lens through which to evaluate the effects of social and environmental changes on Alaska’s rural communities, and interviews and participant observation with key community members including city planners and infrastructure operators to develop theoretical frameworks for increasing community capacity.

Post-doctoral Fellow-Matthew Ayre
403-220-7928

Matthew Ayre received his Ph.D. from the University of Sunderland in the United Kingdom. His doctoral studies, under the Leverhulme Trust–funded ARCdoc project, helped  to further our understanding of the Arctic climate through historical documentary maritime observations. Matthew’s research is specifically concerned with extant logbooks of British and American Arctic whalers who plied their trade in Baffin Bay in the east and the Beaufort Sea in the west, along with logbooks of Arctic explorers. These rare documents contain daily observations of natural phenomena from weather and sea ice to flora and fauna, allowing for a detailed view into the Arctic past. Matthew is dedicated to unlocking the meaning of these detailed narrative descriptions and has spent time in Arctic waters making sea ice observations to compare historical definitions of sea ice with terms currently in use.