New program directors within Division of Polar Programs

Dr. Thomas Wilch appointed Antarctic Earth Sciences Program Director

Dr. Thomas Wilch has joined the Antarctic Sciences Section as Program Director for Antarctic Earth Sciences (AES). He replaces Dr. Mark Kurz, who managed the AES program from April 2013 to September 30, 2015. Dr. Wilch has worked on a variety of Antarctic research projects, including two that focus on using volcanic records to reconstruct the history of the Antarctic ice sheet and on the multi-national ANDRILL project, which drills deep into Antarctic sediments to study glacial history and predict future climates. He comes to NSF from Albion College in Albion, Michigan, where he is Chairman of the Department of Geologic Sciences. A Quaternary geologist, he specializes in glacial geology, physical volcanology, and paleoclimate history. He holds a M.S. in Quaternary Studies from University of Maine, Orono, Maine, and a Ph.D. in Geology from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico.

Dr. Christian Fritsen appointed Program Director for Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems

Dr. Christian Fritsen has assumed the responsibilities of Program Director for the Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Program in the Antarctic Sciences Section of the Division of Polar Programs. Dr. Fritsen is a Research Professor in the Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at the Desert Research Institute. He also served as DRI's Vice President for Academic and Faculty Affairs, is a member of the graduate faculty in Hydrology and Environmental sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno, and has served as Director of both the Nevada Space Grant Consortium and Nevada NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. Dr. Fritsen earned his Bachelor's degree from Montana State University in 1990 and a doctorate in the biological sciences, with an emphasis in oceanography, from the University of Southern California in 1996. Dr. Fritsen succeeds Dr. Charles Amsler, a rotator from the University Of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Amsler returned to his university at the end of July.

Dr. Diane McKnight appointed Program Director for Arctic System Science Program

Dr. Diane McKnight, of the University of Colorado, has been appointed as a program director in the Arctic‬ Sciences Section in the Division of Polar Programs. Dr. McKnight's primary assignment is to join Dr. Neil Swanberg in managing the Arctic System Science (ARCSS) Program. She began her service at NSF on June 15, 2015. Dr. McKnight comes to NSF from the University of Colorado where she holds an appointment as Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering and a Fellow of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. She also served as founding director of the Center for Water, Earth Science and Technology. Dr. McKnight is a hydrologist who studies coupled ecological, biogeochemical and hydrologic processes in lakes, streams, and watersheds, primarily in polar and mountain regions. She is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Michael E. Jackson appointed Program Director for Antarctic Research Facilities and Special Projects

Dr. Michael E. Jackson has joined the Antarctic Sciences Section of the Division of Polar Programs as Program Director for Antarctic Research Facilities and Special Projects. Dr. Jackson comes to NSF from Trimble Navigation where he was responsible for the hardware and software portfolio for the geosciences including seismic, geodetic, atmospheric and space weather activities. Before his tenure with Trimble, Dr. Jackson was the co-PI and Director of the UNAVCO-led Plate Boundary Observatory and later the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth components of EarthScope. Prior to EarthScope Dr. Jackson was the Network Operations Manager at the UNAVCO facility. He has chaired and participated in numerous review panels for the NSF, USGS, NOAA, and NASA. He has authored over 60 articles and abstracts on tectonics, volcanology, atmospheric water vapor, and technological innovations. Dr. Jackson holds a B.S. in geology from the University of New Mexico, as well as a Masters in geological sciences and a Ph.D. in geophysics, both from the University of Colorado.