TSC Staff

TSC Leadership

Official photo of the Director of the Ted Stevens Center, Randy "Church" Kee, United States Air Force Maj. Gen. (ret.)

Randy “Church” Kee, Maj. Gen., USAF (Ret.)

Director

Maj. Gen. Randy “Church” Kee, United States Air Force (ret.) was appointed as the Director of the Ted Stevens for Arctic Security Studies on December 14, 2023. From August 23, 2021, to December 13, 2023, Kee served as the TSC Senior Advisor, Arctic Security Affairs, responsible to establish and conduct early operations of the center as Department of Defense’s sixth and newest regional center located at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, near Anchorage, Alaska.

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Kee is responsible for leading the Stevens Center to engage in regional and global security issues through research, communication, and education. The goal of the center is to build strong, sustainable, international networks of security leaders to advance U.S. national security priorities in the Arctic region. Kee is also working with partner nations to ensure a stable, rules-based order in the Arctic that will benefit the United States and all Arctic nations.

In 2020, the President of the U.S. appointed Kee as a Commissioner to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, and from January 4, 2016, to August 22, 2021, he served as the Executive Director of the Arctic Domain Awareness Center, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence in Maritime Research, hosted by the University of Alaska.

During his tenure in leading ADAC, a DHS Science and Technology Office of University Programs, U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Arctic Research Community recognized the center for contributions to “operator relevant” Arctic science and technology innovations, education and convergence events specifically oriented to address the challenges and to “enable the decision maker” in Arctic maritime crisis response.

In volunteer “pro-bono” capacities, Kee serves a Global Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Polar Institute; Network member of the Canadian Hosted North American and Arctic Defense and Security Network; he is the designated U.S. lead for a technology working group hosted by the Chief of Naval Research in support of the International Cooperative Engagement Program for Polar Research. From late 2018 until early 2023, Kee served as the Co-chair of the Alaska Civilian Armed Services Team, a State of Alaska Advisory Board to the Governor.

During his 30-year military career, Kee led at the squadron, group, wing, and Air Operations Center levels. General Kee’s staff assignments include U.S. Transportation Command, HQ USAF, and the U.S. Joint Staff in both Operations plus Strategic Plans and Policy Directorates. He is a command pilot and prior qualified navigator, and logged 4,700 flying hours, 700 of which were in combat (Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan). While in uniform he contributed to U.S. Arctic Strategy, supported domain awareness technology development, and defense support to regional crisis response. He has considerable political-military, defense policy and security cooperation experience.

He culminated his military service as Director of Strategy, Policy, Planning and Capabilities for U.S. European Command (ECJ5/8) in Stuttgart, Germany. He holds three master’s degrees: Organizational Leadership, Air Mobility/Logistics Management, and Strategic Studies.

His U.S. Air Force biography is available at:  www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/108465/major-general-randya-kee.aspx.

Craig Fleener

Deputy Director, Lt. Col., Alaska National Guard

Craig Fleener was appointed as the Deputy Director of the Ted Stevens for Arctic Security Studies on December 14, 2023. From January 2022 to December 2023, Fleener served the Deputy Advisor and Chief of Staff, for Arctic Security Affairs at the Stevens Center. In addition to his duties at the Stevens Center, Fleener serves in a traditional guardsman role with the Alaska Air National Guard.

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Fleener was born and raised in Alaska. He’s from Fort Yukon, a small town on the north bank of the Yukon River, eight miles above the Arctic Circle in northeastern interior, Alaska near the Yukon, Canada border.

He has a 35-year military career where he began as an enlisted U.S. Marine from 1986-1990. He transitioned to the Alaska Air National Guard in 1991 where he still serves today. He received his U.S. Air Force commission in 2001 from the Academy of Military Sciences. He has served as a supply warehouseman, a .50 caliber machine gunner, a KC-135 air refueling aircraft crew chief, maintenance controller, and maintenance officer. Fleener has participated in active deployed service in the U.S. Central Command region. He currently holds the rank of Lt. Col. serving in the Alaska Air National Guard as an intelligence officer with the 176 Airlift Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Most recently, he served on active duty for 16 months as the Chief of Staff and Arctic Cell Deputy to the Eleventh Air Force commander.

In his civilian career he served his community and tribe as a wildland fire fighter, wildlife biologist, climate researcher, and Director of a regional tribal non-profit providing healthcare, education, and natural resources management services. His duties include serving in elected office.

Fleener was active as a Permanent Participant of the Arctic Council as the International Co-chair of the Gwich’in Council International, one of the six internationally recognized Arctic indigenous groups. The Arctic Council is the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation in the Arctic. The Gwich’in Council International is a non-profit organization that represents Gwich’in in Alaska, United States and the Yukon and Northwest Territories in Canada.

Fleener has served for three different governors of Alaska as the Director of the Division of Subsistence, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game, and as an appointed cabinet member responsible for Arctic Policy and Director of State and Federal Relations where he also served as third in line of succession for governor.

Fleener has also worked in and has a passion for economic development with a focus on rural and tribal development, blue economy, and new opportunities for rural residents of the state. Recently he supported the advancement and construction of broadband throughout rural Alaska.

In 2020, the President of the U.S. appointed Kee as a Commissioner to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, and from January 4, 2016, to August 22, 2021, he served as the Executive Director of the Arctic Domain Awareness Center, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence in Maritime Research, hosted by the University of Alaska.

During his tenure in leading ADAC, a DHS Science and Technology Office of University Programs, U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Arctic Research Community recognized the center for contributions to “operator relevant” Arctic science and technology innovations, education and convergence events specifically oriented to address the challenges and to “enable the decision maker” in Arctic maritime crisis response.

In volunteer “pro-bono” capacities, Kee serves a Global Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Polar Institute; Network member of the Canadian Hosted North American and Arctic Defense and Security Network; he is the designated U.S. lead for a technology working group hosted by the Chief of Naval Research in support of the International Cooperative Engagement Program for Polar Research. From late 2018 until early 2023, Kee served as the Co-chair of the Alaska Civilian Armed Services Team, a State of Alaska Advisory Board to the Governor.

During his 30-year military career, Kee led at the squadron, group, wing, and Air Operations Center levels. General Kee’s staff assignments include U.S. Transportation Command, HQ USAF, and the U.S. Joint Staff in both Operations plus Strategic Plans and Policy Directorates. He is a command pilot and prior qualified navigator, and logged 4,700 flying hours, 700 of which were in combat (Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan). While in uniform he contributed to U.S. Arctic Strategy, supported domain awareness technology development, and defense support to regional crisis response. He has considerable political-military, defense policy and security cooperation experience.

He culminated his military service as Director of Strategy, Policy, Planning and Capabilities for U.S. European Command (ECJ5/8) in Stuttgart, Germany. He holds three master’s degrees: Organizational Leadership, Air Mobility/Logistics Management, and Strategic Studies.

His U.S. Air Force biography is available at:  www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/108465/major-general-randya-kee.aspx.

Ted Stevens Center Staff

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  • Official photo of Allan Alcancia.

    Allan Alcancia

    Executive Assistant

  • Lillian “Doc” Alessa, Ph.D. 

    Lead, Special Programs Chief Scientist, USSOCOM, MacDill AFB, Florida

  • Jereme M. Altendorf

    Commander, US Coast Guard Senior Arctic Service Lead

  • Rahsaan Ash

    IT Services; Dep Prgm Mgr/Site Lead, ACT1 Federal

  • Dieter E. Bareihs

    Program Manager, ACT1 Federal

  • Matthew T. Bell Jr., RADM, USCG (Ret)

    Dean, School of Arctic and Climate Studies

  • Tim Brennan

    Web Developer and Designer, ACT1 Federal

  • Gail E. Chambers

    Curriculum Developer, ACT1 Federal

  • Official photo of Sabrina Collins.

    Sabrina Collins

    Talent Manager (HR Specialist)

  • Elizabeth E. Copes

    Participant Programs Manager, ACT1 Federal

  • Cody Dees, Ph.D.

    Professor (Associate) International Security

  • Linda K. Denning

    Associate Director for Mission Support

  • Official photo of Christine Duprow.

    Christine Duprow, Ph.D.

    Curriculum Development Specialist

  • Kelsey Frazier, Ph.D.

    Acting Associate Director Research and Analysis

  • Kathryn B. Friedman, Ph.D.

    North American Arctic Policy Advisor, ACT1 Federal

  • Jessica Galli

    Administrative Support Specialist

  • Olga (Olgy), M, Gary

    Curriculum Developer, ACT1 Federal

  • Official photo of Irina Gleason-Kumisbayeva

    Irina V. Gleason-Kumisbayeva

    Senior Event Coordinator and Planner

  • Official Department of Defense photo of Courtney Guinan.

    Courtney M. Guinan

    Events Program Planning Manager, ACT1 Federal

  • Matthew J. Hickey

    Associate Director for Strategic Engagement

  • Shannon Jenkins

    U.S. Coast Guard Senior Arctic Policy Advisor in Marine Transportation Systems Directorate (CG-5PW Arctic)

  • Maranda S. Kan

    DHS Representative for TSC

  • Connor N. Keesecker

    Deputy Registrar/Support, Act-1 Federal, Contractor

  • Official Department of Defense photo of Joel Kopp.

    Joel A. Kopp

    National and Arctic Interest Chair

  • Amber E. Kurka

    Supervisory Public Affairs Specialist

  • Official photo of David Madera.

    David Madera

    Supervisory IT Specialist

  • Official photo of Elizabeth "Elle" Parry.

    Elizabeth “Ellee” Parry

    Research Analyst, Arctic Awareness

  • Official photo of Lori Mitchell.

    Lori Mitchell

    Senior Travel Manager

  • Randy Pennington

    Protocol Officer

  • Michael K. Perez

    Deputy Associate Director of Mission Support

  • Matthew A. Rhodes, Ph.D.

    Professor of International Security

  • Official photo of Jason Roe.

    Jason “Olaf” Roe

    Multimedia Specialist

  • Official photo of Dominick Ruggio.

    Dominick Ruggio

    Jr. IT Consultant, ACT1 Federal

  • Nicole A. Rumsey

    Deputy Associate Director for Combatant Command Programs

  • Official photo of Xerex "Rex" Santella

    Xerex J. Santella

    Program Services Support Specialist, Human Domain Solutions

  • Official photo of Matthew Schell.

    Matthew C. Schell

    Deputy Associate Director, Research & Analysis

  • Terrence Shanigan

    Deputy Associate Director of Strategic Engagement

  • Hannah J. Smith

    Strategic Communications Specialist

  • Tracy D. Smith, Brig. Gen., WAANG

    Deputy Dean School of Arctic and Climate Studies

  • Mary Kate Soliva

    Senior Event Program Planner

  • Official photo of Haliehana Stepetin.

    Haliehana M. Stepetin, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor of Arctic Security Studies

  • The official photo of CAPT Joseph Grant Thomas, Jr., U.S. Coast Guard

    Joseph “Grant” Thomas, Jr.

    Captain, U.S. Coast Guard Liaison & Instructor

  • Dwayne A. Wood

    Training and Curriculum Developer, ACT1 Federal

Official photo of Allan Alcancia.

Allan Alcancia

Executive Assistant

Allan Alcancia joined the Ted Stevens Center in July 2023 as the Executive Assistant. In this role, Allan focuses on the management of a wide variety of essential administrative support functions, process development, and special assignments. Prior to joining the center, he served at the Forest Service-Alaska Regional Office as the lead Administrative Support Assistant for four program areas including Public Affairs, Tribal Relations, Civil Rights, and Employee Safety & Wellness. His areas of responsibility included fiscal management, purchasing, personnel on/offboarding, travel, procurement, and property management. Alcancia was the 2023 USDA Secretary Honor Awards recipient for his involvement in the implementation of the $25 million investments program in Southeast Alaska.

In addition to his comprehensive administrative role, Alcancia also supported website maintenance, SharePoint page development and data management, media monitoring and analysis, graphics and survey design, Government Publishing Office requisitions and order management, and the creation and implementation of Forest Service events and activities with emphasis on protocol standards. Before his move to Anchorage, Alcancia completed a detail assignment on capacity building and partnership coordination with the Office of the National Forest System in Washington D.C.

Alcancia credits his broad range of experience, both in Alaska and the lower-48, as the catalyst for his successful four years with the Forest Service. He provided programmatic support to inbound and outbound delegations of the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Scholarship Program; International Visitor Leadership Program; and the J1 Work Travel Program. He also gained extensive volunteer experience at the United Service Organizations Office; America’s Cup; and the International Children’s Games.

He was the former chair of the Juneau Sister Cities Committee, and former board member of the Juneau World Affairs Council. Alcancia graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering, and a member of the Protocol & Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association.

A consummate volunteer, independent traveler, novice hiker, stamp collector and food truck habitue. Alcancia was born in the Philippines, fluent in Tagalog, and a student of American Sign Language, and Spanish.

Lillian “Doc” Alessa, Ph.D. 

Lead, Special Programs Chief Scientist, USSOCOM, MacDill AFB, Florida

Dr. Lillian “Doc” Alessa is President’s Professor at the University of Idaho and Affiliate Faculty with George Mason and Texas A&M universities. She is currently in split service as Lead, Special Programs and Senior Scientist with the Ted Stevens Center and Chief Scientist and Arctic Lead with U.S. Special Operations Command. Her federal service spans decades including as a Defense Intelligence Senior Level Special Adviser to the Office of the Director for National Intelligence, a Senior Arctic Advisor to the Pentagon and Deputy Chief of Global Strategies with the Department of Homeland Security. She has 30 years of Canadian and U.S. federal experience in the Arctic, cumulatively managing a $16 billion dollar portfolio that includes Canadian and U.S. service between Canadian Department of National Defense, Canadian Armed Forces, U.S. Department of Defense, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, among others. She has dedicated her career to specializing in resilience science focused on national security, intelligence, and defense across interagency, intergovernmental, multinational and commercial sectors.

Jereme M. Altendorf

Commander, US Coast Guard Senior Arctic Service Lead

Commander Jereme M. Altendorf joined the Ted Stevens Center on November 15, 2023. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, he was assigned to Sector Anchorage where he was the program manager for Sector Anchorage’s Arctic Operations where he managed a $1.2M annual budget that ensured Coast Guard regulatory missions were completed throughout rural Alaska. CDR Altendorf is also a subject matter expert with regards marine environmental protection, specifically oil and chemical spill planning, preparedness, and response. Before his time in Alaska, CDR Altendorf coordinated the US Coast Guard’s Maritime Security efforts for the 2017 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC, and the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA. He served as the Training Officer for the Coast Guard’s National Strike Force Atlantic Strike Team, Hazardous Substance Response Specialist for the Strike Force Coordination Center, and Operations Officer for the Pacific Strike Team.

CDR Altendorf graduated from Creighton University with a B.S. in Chemistry and Environmental Science. He went on to get a Master’s in Engineering, with an emphasis in Environmental Engineering, from the University of Missouri and a M.B.A. from George Washington University and is a Certified Hazardous Material Manager (CHMM) and Project Management Professional (PMP). He has spent over 20 years working for various agencies of the federal government (EPA, Coast Guard and Dept. of the Interior) regulating the actions of the public and private sector as it relates to the handling of hazardous waste, managed million-dollar environmental Superfund and oil spill cleanup projects, assisted in the investigation and prosecution of environmental civil and criminal cases, and responded to all types of oil and chemical spills in rivers, bays, and oceans.

Rahsaan Ash

IT Services; Dep Prgm Mgr/Site Lead, ACT1 Federal

Rahsaan Ash joined ACT1 Federal in support of the Ted Stevens Center on 21 February 2023. Prior to supporting the Stevens Center, he was a Systems and Network Engineer for the 673rd Civil Engineering Group on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. He is a former US Army Infantryman, serving from 2006 until 2017.

He holds a BAS in Business Administration, with a specialization in Cybersecurity from Wayland Baptist University. In October of 2023, he became a ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Practitioner. He is also a graduate of the Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC)’s Information Technology program, based in Seward, Alaska.

He was born in Soldotna, Alaska and currently resides in Anchorage. Rahsaan loves hunting, fishing, and camping with his wife, three children, and German Shepherd.

Dieter E. Bareihs

Program Manager, ACT1 Federal

Dieter E. Bareihs joined ACT1 Federal in support of the Ted Stevens Center on 27 Dec 2021. Prior to supporting the Stevens Center, he served as the U.S. Deputy Director at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He retired in 2018 as a Brigadier General, after serving more than 29 years in the United States Air Force.

He received his commission in 1989 and graduated as a distinguished graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Weapons Instructor Course and is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours in various aircraft, predominantly the F-16.  While on active duty, he served in several operational, command and staff assignments, including twice at Eielson AFB, AK.  In his final active-duty assignment, he served as Director Plans, Programs, and Analysis, United States Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa where he participated in the Headquarters Air Staff study which laid the foundation for the inaugural Air Force Arctic Strategy.

He holds master’s degrees in Engineering Management, Military Operational Art and Science and in National Resource Strategy.

He was born in Pennsylvania and currently resides in northern Virginia.

His USAF biography is available at: https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biographies/Display/Article/581228/dieter-e-bareihs/

Matthew T. Bell Jr., RADM, USCG (Ret)

Dean, School of Arctic and Climate Studies

Former Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District, Juneau, AK, Rear Admiral (Ret.) Matthew T. Bell Jr. joined the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies as Dean On 25 April 2022. He is responsible for the executive education program designed with the end goals of protecting the U.S. homeland, maintaining a favorable balance of power in the region, and promoting a shared approach to regional security and respect for the existing rules-based order. His thirty-six year Coast Guard career includes numerous operational tours in Alaska, including two command afloat assignments in Kodiak and most recently as the Commander, 17th Coast Guard District in Juneau where he was responsible for Coast Guard operations throughout Alaska, the North Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean. Dean Bell is a 1984 graduate from Northern Arizona University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. He entered the Coast Guard in 1985 through Recruit Training Center Cape May and received his commission in 1986 upon graduation from Officer Candidate School. He holds a Master of Science in Chemistry awarded by Northern Arizona University in 1993 and is a graduate of Harvard University, National Preparedness Leadership Initiative.

Tim Brennan

Web Developer and Designer, ACT1 Federal

Tim Brennan joined ACT1 Federal in support of the Ted Stevens Center on May 17, 2023. Tim supports the Ted Stevens Center as a web developer, designer, and digital strategist.

Tim is a highly effective design and development specialist with twenty-six years’ experience designing, developing, producing, and leading large federal and commercial digital initiatives. During his career, Tim has been a director in both large and boutique commercial and federal engagements and has a proven track record of innovation and success. His experience encompasses all areas of media and web design including content management, customized web tools, video, animation, branding, and graphic design. Tim’s recent federal client engagements include DHS, HHS, DOD, GSA, and FCC.

Tim’s specialties include:

  • UI/UX/CX
  • Digital Strategy
  • WordPress/Drupal/SharePoint/Joomla/
  • Graphic Design
  • Data and Analytics
  • Web Content Writing
  • 508 Compliance
  • Scrum Master
  • User Testing and Focus Groups
  • Information Architecture
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • AWS/Server Configuration
  • Wire-framing and Prototyping
  • User-Centered Design
  • Video and Animation

Gail E. Chambers

Curriculum Developer, ACT1 Federal

Gail E. Chambers joined ACT1 Federal in support of the Ted Stevens Center on May 30, 2023. Prior to supporting the Stevens Center, she worked as a Digital Learning Administrator/Lead Instructional Designer for Horizons Control Group, an engineering firm with offices in the United States and Ireland. Gail has 15 years of experience working for government agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations as an instructional designer/developer/ LMS administrator.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Instructional Design and Technology from Walden University, as well as a minor in Human Computer Interaction.

She was born in New Jersey and currently resides in Pennsylvania.

Gail has three adult children, two of whom are social workers and one who works for Homeland Security. Gail enjoys hiking, kayaking, and creating wood-fired pottery in her spare time.

Official photo of Sabrina Collins.

Sabrina Collins

Talent Manager (HR Specialist)

Sabrina J. Collins joined the Ted Stevens Center on January 2, 2022. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, she worked as a Human Resources Specialist for the Department of the Air Force as well as the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) with 14 years’ experience.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

She was born and raised in Southern Indiana, and currently resides in Alaska with her active-duty Air Force spouse and 16-year-old twin boys.  

She enjoys hiking, reading, and traveling with her family.

Elizabeth E. Copes

Participant Programs Manager, ACT1 Federal

Elizabeth E. Copes joined ACT1 Federal in support of the Ted Stevens Center on November 10, 2021. Prior to supporting the Stevens Center, she was a Global Events Manager who supported DOD Office of Small Business Programs & USAID hosted events on three continents. Previously, Beth applied her passion for customer engagement, service delivery & process improvement in both the government contracting (FAA & NASA) and not-for-profit administration arenas.

She holds a master’s degree in business administration.

She was born in Spain and currently resides in Virginia.

As an advocate of Servant Leadership, Beth has invested countless hours over two decades leading community service and civic engagement organizations both as a volunteer and executive member of multiple community boards.

Cody Dees, Ph.D.

Professor (Associate) International Security

Dr. Cody J. Dees joined the professorial ranks of the Ted Stevens Center on December 3, 2023. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, Dr. Dees served as an active-duty Air Force 1A8 (Airborne Linguistic Cryptologist), where he acted as a modern day “Wind Talker,” performing real-time encryption, decryption, and translation of target communications, personally ensuring the safety and success of joint force engagements within his target theatre. Following his discharge and pursuit of his academic career, Dr. Dees proceeded to establish himself within the field of educational program administration, most recently holding the position of ‘Chief of General English Curriculum’ for the Defense Language Institute English Language Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Lackland, where he reestablished the institute’s foundational design frameworks, recreated the flagship English Language Training pipeline, and re-drafted internal policies which reduced development costs while improving process continuity and productivity.

Dr. Dees holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. based in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, which has been tailored to focus on the unique sociological aspects of educational culture and in applied language contexts. Having pioneered research in Values Theory, Dr. Dees’ research has created a new awareness of the intrinsic links between values systems and the immersion and transmission of culture, particularly within cross-cultural educational settings.

Born in Midland, Texas, Dr. Dees currently resides in Anchorage, Alaska. He is an artist at heart, a wood and metal worker, musician, linguist, electrician, jewelry designer, silversmith, plumber, freelance author and photographer, and he eagerly seeks out new skills and experiences to add to his repertoire. When asked about his broad range of personal, academic, and professional interests, he stated that they all stem from the desire to better understand “how people people, and why.”

Linda K. Denning

Associate Director for Mission Support

Linda K. Denning joined the Ted Stevens Center in May 2022. As Associate Director for Mission Support, she oversees budget, human resources, travel, information technology, contracting and facilities. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, Ms. Denning was Chief of Operations and Student Affairs at the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (the Perry Center), another member of the Department of Defense’s Regional Center Enterprise. At the Perry Center, she oversaw all operational aspects of the Center’s programs and events, as well as admissions, recruitment and contracting. Ms. Denning was a part of the Perry Center team from 1999-2022.

Prior to her service in the Regional Center Enterprise, Ms. Denning was a linguist and intelligence analyst with the Drug Enforcement Administration and served on active duty in the United States Army in the field of Military Intelligence. She is fluent in Spanish and conversant in Portuguese and Russian.

Ms. Denning holds degrees in International Relations and Economics from the University of California, Davis, and in Computer Science from Mary Washington University. She also holds a Master’s Certificate in Federal Government Program Management from George Washington University.

She was born and raised in California and currently resides in Alaska.

Official photo of Christine Duprow.

Christine Duprow, Ph.D.

Curriculum Development Specialist

Dr. Christine L. Duprow is the Curriculum Developer for the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies. As the lead curriculum developer within the team serving the center, Christine develops, plans, and executes Arctic security related course materials. Dr. Duprow is also a key part of the TSC’s work using human center design practices and facilitation. She recently completed her Doctorate in Education with an E-Learning specialization from National University. Prior to supporting the Ted Stevens Center Dr. Duprow was an Anchorage School District Department Chair and lead educator. Dr. Duprow is a transplant to Alaska via the U.S. Airforce and served for 23 years as a signals specialist and classified courier. She lives in Anchorage with her husband, children and pets.

Kelsey Frazier, Ph.D.

Acting Associate Director Research and Analysis

Dr. Kelsey Frazier serves as the Acting Associate Director for Research and Analysis at the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, a distinguished U.S. Department of Defense Regional Center. With eight years of dedicated service since 2016, Dr. Frazier has forged a reputation for expertise in Arctic geophysical change, risk assessments, and the implications of Arctic climate and environmental changes on regional and national security.

Dr. Frazier earned a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, specializing in the interplay between thermal-fluid dynamics and extreme Arctic conditions, as well as the nuances of climate science within the Arctic domain. This expertise laid the groundwork for Kelsey’s significant contributions to maritime navigational safety and the development of gravity-driven oil spill models for the Arctic. These initiatives not only enhance incident response preparedness but also spotlight risk areas for Alaskan communities.

Collaboration with U.S. Coast Guard, District 17, and Sector Anchorage has been pivotal in Dr. Frazier’s research, particularly in developing models for oil spill responses and Arctic maritime sea ice navigation. Dr. Frazier’s insights have graced the stages of esteemed conferences such as Arctic Frontiers, the UK Arctic Science Conference, and the Seventh International Symposium on Arctic Research (ISAR-7). A recent highlight of Dr. Frazier’s career was chairing the Arctic Shipping Summit in Montreal and hosting a panel at the Arctic Circle Assembly that integrated Indigenous and local perspectives into broader societal views on the Arctic.

As a mentor, Dr. Frazier guides two young female engineers and invests in the next generation of talent through long-standing volunteer work with local robotics groups. This mentorship reflects Dr. Frazier’s dedication to fostering inclusivity and innovation in STEM fields.

Looking to the future, Dr. Frazier is passionate about leveraging AI to enhance Arctic domain awareness, anticipating a technological leap in the region alongside burgeoning commercial investment in Arctic cargo shipping. Staying abreast of the latest developments through conferences and academic journals, Dr. Frazier is poised to lead in this dynamic and rapidly evolving field. Dr. Frazier’s vision for a safer Arctic is not only a professional commitment but also a personal aspiration, rooted in the well-being of fellow Alaskans and the broader Arctic community.

Kathryn B. Friedman, Ph.D.

North American Arctic Policy Advisor, ACT1 Federal

Dr. Kathryn B. Friedman joined ACT1 Federal in support of the Ted Stevens Center in July 2022. She also serves as a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Canada Institute). Kathryn is a recognized foreign policy expert, with two decades of experience collaborating with and advising US, Canadian, and European government officials on security, borders, migration, and transboundary water challenges. Her work sits at the intersection of law, security, geopolitics, and governance. Prior to supporting the Stevens Center, she served on the faculty at the University at Buffalo where she directed a law and policy program on the US-Canada relationship.

Kathryn holds a Ph.D., with a concentration in international relations and comparative politics, and a J.D., magna cum laude, with a concentration in international law. She served as a Fulbright Fellow (Germany) and an Abshire Inamori Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. Kathryn clerked for two appellate judges and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kathryn was born in New York, and currently resides in Buffalo, New York.

Jessica Galli

Administrative Support Specialist

Jessica Galli joined the Ted Stevens Center in August 2022. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, she worked at the Group Command Section of the PACAF Regional Support Center as the Civilian Liaison and Executive Support Specialist. She has worked on JBER since November 2017 and has held multiple key positions.

Galli served in the U.S. Coast Guard, and she holds a degree in Homeland Security Management.

She is from Annapolis, Maryland and currently resides in Wasilla, Alaska with her partner Jason, their daughter Adrianna and their two dogs, Baloo and Mojo. She loves riding snowmachines to their cabin in the winter and come summertime, Galli and her family can be found riding dirt bikes, camping and fishing. She also enjoys riding motorcycles on an Alaskan summer day.

Olga (Olgy), M, Gary

Curriculum Developer, ACT1 Federal

Olga (Olgy) M. Gary joined ACT1 Federal in support of the Ted Stevens Center on May 17, 2023. Concurrent with supporting the Stevens Center as a curriculum developer, Olgy is the Lead Instructional Designer at Oral Roberts University, where she serves as the Quality Matters (QM) Institution Representative and Quality Assurance Specialist.

She holds a B.A. in Geology, an M.A. in Education with an emphasis on Human Performance Technology/Instructional Design and is a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration candidate with an expected graduation date of May 2024.

Her publications include:

  • The Kampei Game: Experience the joy of crossing cultural barriers; The Luna Game: A Cross-Cultural Experience.
  • The art, business and science of editing children’s books; Cook Partners Magazine.
  • Unpublished Papers: 1) Disruptive Innovation in Higher Education; (2) Who Will Speak for the Voiceless? A Case for Racial Diversity in Higher Education; (3) Race and Educational Access in American Higher Education;

She was born in Cuba, and currently resides in Oklahoma.

Olgy is an educator, public speaker, trainer, author, game designer, translator, PenWoman, wife, and mother. She’s originally from Cuba and is grateful to have found a home in the USA after she was forced to leave her homeland. Olgy enjoys talking about education, politics, writing, reading, kids, family, and, of course, Cuba… “The Island of My Heart” the title of the novel she’s writing. She has a deep love for the USA as the country that took her family in and gave them a future and a hope, and she is obnoxiously patriotic when it comes to her adopted country. She’s been married for 40 years to her graduate school sweetheart, Jay, whom she met while attending GeorgiaTech. Her son, David, is a U.S. Army veteran working as a Physicist/scientist at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN. Her daughter, Christine, is a Senior VP at a top PR firm in Washington, DC. Christine and her husband live in MD and are the proud parents of twins, two precious little kids, a boy and a girl. Olgy and Jay’s love these days are the TWINkies, the 2-year-old grandkids.

Official photo of Irina Gleason-Kumisbayeva

Irina V. Gleason-Kumisbayeva

Senior Event Coordinator and Planner

Irina V. Gleason-Kumisbayeva joined the Ted Stevens Center on January 28, 2024. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, she was an Event Coordinator at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, located in Germany.

She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in Law from Kazakhstan State University in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

In addition to her studies leading to the master’s degree from the University of Maryland, she has pursued extensive studies at the University of New Mexico. She was accountant at the University of New Mexico Press, where she was responsible for managing account receivables for the university press. She was involved in international programs at the University of New Mexico, in particular exchange programs for scientists and scholars from countries of the former USSR.

She was born in Kazakhstan and currently resides in Anchorage, Alaska.

She is married to Dr. Gregory Gleason, who retired from government service in 2023. She enjoys travel and companionship with close family and friends.

Official Department of Defense photo of Courtney Guinan.

Courtney M. Guinan

Events Program Planning Manager, ACT1 Federal

Courtney Guinan joined ACT1 Federal in support of the Ted Stevens Center in October 2023 as the Events Program Planning Manager. Prior to supporting the Ted Stevens Center, she spent a decade at sea facilitating elite, luxury service on board some of the world’s most prestigious private super yachts. This role took her to over 30 countries and she collaborated with ultra-high net worth individuals on projects ranging from the public launching of companies on the NYSE to multi-million-dollar refit projects on board their private vessels. Guinan has unique experience in creating distinctive events within the logistical confines of being at sea or in extremely remote locations with limited resources.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Business from the Eli Broad School of Business at Michigan State University, graduating with honors.

Guinan was born in Michigan, and currently resides in Anchorage, Alaska after spending much of her career at sea based in Europe.

Guinan is also an accomplished equestrian, PADI divemaster, sailor, and recently obtained her commercial helicopter pilot’s license. She is most passionate about travel and being outdoors in nature, whether hiking in the mountains, swimming in the sea, or flying in the skies.

Matthew J. Hickey

Associate Director for Strategic Engagement

Matthew J. Hickey serves as the Associate Director for Strategic Engagement and leads the Strategic Engagement Division at the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies. Matt joined the Ted Stevens Center on 5 December 2022. Prior to coming to the center, Matt served as the Legislative Assistant for National Security Affairs and Arctic Policy for U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski where he was responsible for defense and foreign operations appropriations, drafting Arctic-focused legislation, and building Arctic awareness in the National Capitol Region and across the country. Previous to that, Matt was an officer in the U.S. Army where, amongst a variety of assignments, he commanded the Army’s World Class Athlete Program, led combat operations in Afghanistan, taught and specialized in Arctic and Mountain Warfare, and participated in security cooperation operations in Europe and South Asia.

Matt holds a Master of Arts Degree in Security Studies from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and Bachelor of Science Degree in Geography from the United States Military Academy, West Point.

Matt is an avid explorer who has led expeditions to high altitudes and latitudes on six continents and serves as a board member of a local chapter of the The Explorers Club.

Shannon Jenkins

U.S. Coast Guard Senior Arctic Policy Advisor in Marine Transportation Systems Directorate (CG-5PW Arctic)

Shannon Jenkins serves as head of the Arctic Policy Office at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters. His responsibilities include coordinating Arctic cross-directorate actions, harmonizing Coast Guard program office and field efforts, leading Arctic policy and strategy development, and tracking Arctic implementation-plan actions and progress. Shannon provides expert assistance on Arctic topics both internal and external to the Coast Guard and advances National interests and dialogue through public, private, and international forums. His mandate is to advance the Coast Guard’s Arctic strategy of ensuring safe, secure, and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the region.

Prior to his role as Senior Arctic Policy Advisor, Shannon served as a Program Manager within the Coast Guard’s Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation Program. He managed the Arctic and the Environmental & Waterways research areas. His duties included identifying and prioritizing research needs, coordinating project execution and resource management, and addressing internal and external leadership queries. Shannon was also a member of the matrix team that developed the Coast Guard 2010 High Latitude Mission Analysis Report.

Shannon Jenkins has 30+ years of Federal service, most of those with the Coast Guard. He earned a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Mississippi State University and a Master’s degree in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School.

Maranda S. Kan

DHS Representative for TSC

Maranda S. Kan joined the Ted Stevens Center on January 4, 2023. Maranda is currently the Acting Director for Economic Competitiveness at the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Strategy, Policy and Plans. In this capacity, Ms. Kan formulates a vision for and implements Arctic efforts on behalf of the DHS enterprise. Prior to joining DHS, Ms. Kan galvanized support for and drove the modernization of customs policy at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Ms. Kan has a Master of Public Policy in national security from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and a Bachelor of Science in Communication Theory from Arizona State University.

Ms. Kan currently resides in Washington, DC.

Connor N. Keesecker

Deputy Registrar/Support, Act-1 Federal, Contractor

Connor Keesecker joined ACT1 Federal in support of the Ted Stevens Center in December 2022 as Deputy
Registrar/Deputy Support. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, he served as the Communications and Research
Associate for the Arctic Domain Awareness Center, a DHS Center of Excellence hosted by the University of Alaska
Anchorage. He previously worked on economic development and community issues with non-profits in Anchorage.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He was born and raised in
Alaska, and currently resides in Anchorage with his two retired sled dogs. He enjoys recreating in the outdoors, whether
by ski, bike, kayak, or foot.

Official Department of Defense photo of Joel Kopp.

Joel A. Kopp

National and Arctic Interest Chair

Joel Kopp joined the Ted Stevens Center in late August 2023 on a one-year secondment from the U.S. Department of State. Kopp is a career Foreign Service Officer who has served in diplomatic missions in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, as well as in Washington D.C. Over the course of his 22-year career he has been trained in Spanish and Indonesian.

Kopp holds a Master of Marine Affairs degree from the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Kopp was born and raised on the Kenai Peninsula, and has lived in Newhalen, Soldotna, Kenai, Anchorage, and Valdez. 

Kopp and his wife, who was born and raised in Anchorage, have three grown sons and two granddaughters. Joel is a hobbyist composer whose first “rough draft” piano instrumental album, Letters from Ukraine, was recorded in Paris in October 2022 and is available on all major streaming services.

Amber E. Kurka

Supervisory Public Affairs Specialist

Amber E. Kurka joined the Ted Stevens Center in August of 2023 and serves as the manager of the center’s Public Affairs program. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, she served as the chief of Public Engagement for U.S. Army Garrison Japan where she led all media relations and community relations outreach efforts across 17 Army Installations throughout the country of Japan. During her time at USAG Japan she won numerous Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Communication Awards and led her team to win the first-ever Jim “Goose” Guzior Communications Awards, sweeping all categories. In 2023, she was recognized by the Honolulu-Pacific Federal Executive Board as a Leader of the Year Award winner.     

Ms. Kurka holds a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from Eastern Michigan University and Bachelor of Science in Graphic Communications from Western Illinois University.

Official photo of David Madera.

David Madera

Supervisory IT Specialist

David T. Madera joined the Ted Stevens Center in October 2023 as a Supervisory IT Specialist. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, he was the Chief Information Officer for the 3rd Dental Battalion aboard Camp Foster in Okinawa, Japan. Prior to that assignment Madera was an IT Specialist for the CIO4 Department within the Naval Facilities Command aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Madera also served as an IT Specialist at Western Pacific Fleet Readiness Center aboard Naval Air Station Atsugi. He is a retired U.S. Marine.

Madera holds a certification with Cisco as a Cisco Certified Network Associate, and holds a certification with Microsoft as a Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator. He holds a Security+ certification with CompTia and is currently working on his certification as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional with the International Information System Security Certification Consortium.

He was born in Jamaica, Queens in New York City, and currently resides in Wasilla, Alaska.

Madera is married to his wife Uputaua Te’o and has two dogs an Akita named Chouji and a Shiba named Shikamaru. He enjoys playing the drums and timbales.  His hobbies include watching movies, playing video games and collecting action figures.

Official photo of Elizabeth "Elle" Parry.

Elizabeth “Ellee” Parry

Research Analyst, Arctic Awareness

Elizabeth “Ellee” Parry is a Research Analyst specializing in Arctic Awareness at the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies. Perry’s research areas include One Health, health security, and the impacts of climate change on the interactions between humans, animals, and their shared environment in the Arctic. Parry is also a current Ph.D. student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where her research is focused on food security and One Health in Alaska. Prior to joining the TSC, Parry worked at the Arctic Domain Awareness Center (ADAC) as the Education and Administrative Manager. Parry has a Master of Science in Environment & Development from the University of Edinburgh, and a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Colorado State University. A born and raised Alaskan, Parry currently resides in Anchorage, Alaska, with her husband, daughter and two dogs.

Official photo of Lori Mitchell.

Lori Mitchell

Senior Travel Manager

Lori Mitchell joined the Ted Stevens Center on July 3, 2023. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, she was with CWT Sato Travel for the past 20 years, taking care of military travel.

She has received the highest civilian awards that one could get. The Alaska Commendation Medal and The Alaska Legion of Merit.

She was born in Minnesota, and currently resides in Wasilla Alaska.

She has been married for 32 years, together they have two daughters and one son, with 4 grandchildren. Taking the place of having kids at home she has a very ambitious, energetic Border Collie/Springer Spaniel named Sadie who keeps her on her feet. Mitchell enjoys the outdoors, traveling and just enjoying nature and all of its beauty. When Mitchell is not out on her Harley Davidson Fatboy she can be found in her fifth wheel camper enjoying life.

Randy Pennington

Protocol Officer

Biography available soon.

Michael K. Perez

Deputy Associate Director of Mission Support

Michael K. Perez has served as the Deputy Associate Director of Mission Support with the Ted Stevens Center since August of 2023. Prior to joining the TSC team, he served in the Army for 25 years, retiring as a Sergeant Major and the future concepts and capabilities assessments senior advisor in the Army Futures Command. Perez is originally from Hawaii and has two sons Alexander and Elias.

Matthew A. Rhodes, Ph.D.

Professor of International Security

Dr. Matthew A. Rhodes joined the Ted Stevens Center in January 2024. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, he served on the faculty of the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany and the U.S. Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and policy papers dealing with U.S. foreign policy, transatlantic relations, and European security.

He currently resides in Anchorage.

Dr. Rhodes and his wife Bridget have two adult children and one grandson and enjoy hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities.

Official photo of Jason Roe.

Jason “Olaf” Roe

Multimedia Specialist

Jason “Olaf” Roe joined the Ted Stevens Center as the Multimedia Specialist in January 2024. As part of the Ted Stevens Center communications team, Roe provides visual design and audio-visual technical support for the TSC. Prior to supporting the TSC in a government role, Roe served as the Media and Communications Specialist for ACT1 Federal on the Ted Stevens Center contract.

Roe has also previously served as the Associate Director and Senior Research Professional for the Arctic Domain Awareness Center (ADAC), a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence in Arctic Maritime Research, hosted by the University of Alaska. During his tenure at ADAC, Roe supervised the production of the center’s digital media and assisted in the management of a nationwide network of research teams focused on a diverse range of Arctic issues including GIS systems, communications, underwater robotics, oil and ice modeling and detection, and pollution mitigation strategies.

Roe retired from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2019 after 20 years of service, more than 10 of which involved operations planning of Search and Rescue, Maritime Environmental Response, and Maritime Law Enforcement operations in Alaska and the U.S. Arctic region.

Official photo of Dominick Ruggio.

Dominick Ruggio

Jr. IT Consultant, ACT1 Federal

Dominick Ruggio joined ACT1 Federal in support of the Ted Stevens Center in December 2023 as a Jr. IT Consultant. Prior to supporting the Ted Stevens Center, he served in the U.S. Army as an information technology specialist for eight years.

He holds an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Information Technology.

He was born in Anchorage Alaska and currently resides in Palmer.

Ruggio enjoys spending time with his son, wife, and Great Dane. He loves to surf, volunteer at church, play basketball and workout.

Nicole A. Rumsey

Deputy Associate Director for Combatant Command Programs

Nicole “Niki” Rumsey joined the Ted Stevens Center on 31 July 2023. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, she was the Deputy Division Chief for the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Joint Wargaming team. In this role she led a team that designed and executed two multinational Command wargames annually, providing outcomes that contributed to Homeland Defense frameworks, future Homeland Defense Designs, and Joint Staff Future concepts. Her previous assignments include USNORTHCOM J3 COVID Crisis Action Cell Chief of Current Operations, design and planning support for USINDOPACOM geopolitical studies, and Program Manager for Combatant Command Integration for USEUCOM’s Russia Strategic Initiative.

Prior to joining DoD she was an arena and event manager in Atlanta, GA and in Colorado Springs, CO, which allowed her to lead the production, day-of-show operations, budget, and logistics, and staff teams for national concert tours and sporting events in arenas, convention centers, and performing arts theaters.

She holds an BA in Economics and Management and an MBA from Mercer University.

She was born in Tampa, FL, and currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO with her husband, Charlie. She enjoys summers playing golf, guiding women’s mountain bike rides, and gardening. In the winter months, she enjoys skiing and snowshoeing.

Official photo of Xerex "Rex" Santella

Xerex J. Santella

Program Services Support Specialist, Human Domain Solutions

Xerex J. Santella joined Human Domain Solutions in support of the Ted Stevens Center on August 1, 2022. Prior to supporting the Stevens Center, he was the Director of Food and Beverage in Sheraton Anchorage Hotel and Spa after retiring from 21 years of service in the United States Air Force.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management and an associate degree in Fitness, Lodging and Recreation Management

  • Air Force A1 Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, 2015
  • AK YMCA Armed Forces Service Person of the Year, 2013
  • John L. Levitow Award, Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, 2012
  •  Authored “4_2MRW: Quick mentoring tips for #Adulting people” and “I Want To Be A Little Toy Princess”, both published on 2021

He was born in Manila, Philippines and currently resides in Anchorage, Alaska. He enjoys quality time with his wife, Helene and his daughters Malaya and Emilia. His hobbies include music composition, basketball, hiking, running and painting.

 

Official photo of Matthew Schell.

Matthew C. Schell

Deputy Associate Director, Research & Analysis

Matthew C. Schell joined the Ted Stevens Center in October of 2022.  Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, he was a 28-year Army Aviation officer with command experience at the company through brigade levels. Before he retired from the Alaska National Guard he served as the Arctic Security Advisor to the Adjutant General, Alaska.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from the United States Military Academy; a Master’s of Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle University; and a Master of Science in Security Studies from the US Army War College.

Matthew was born in Ohio.  He and his wife have lived in Alaska since 2005.  His interests include reading, dogs, hunting, fishing, foraging, and Nordic skiing.

Terrence Shanigan

Deputy Associate Director of Strategic Engagement

Biography available soon.

Hannah J. Smith

Strategic Communications Specialist

Hannah Smith joined the Ted Stevens Center in February 2023 as a Strategic Communications Specialist. Prior to joining the Stevens Center, Smith worked as an Academic Specialist for the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University, where she managed an accredited Joint Professional Military Education Master of Arts program focused on irregular warfare. Additionally, she served as a Strategic Communications Consultant for the U.S. Army.

Smith holds a Mater of Arts in Security Studies with a concentration in Military Operations from the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Dickinson College. Her research focuses on civil-military relations, specifically examining the impact of social media on public perceptions of the military.

Smith grew up in Rochester, New York and currently resides in Anchorage, Alaska. She enjoys spending as much time outside as possible exploring Alaska.

 

 

Tracy D. Smith, Brig. Gen., WAANG

Deputy Dean School of Arctic and Climate Studies

Tracy D. Smith, joined the Ted Stevens Center on 31 October 2022. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, she served as the Assistant Adjutant General for Air and the Commander of the Alaska Air National Guard.

She holds a Master of Science Degree in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University.

She was born in Pennsylvania, and currently resides in Anchorage.

Her pride and joy is her son in college at CU Boulder. She enjoys all activities Alaska has to offer, especially skate skiing, cross country skiing, hiking and biking.

 

Mary Kate Soliva

Senior Event Program Planner

Mary Kate Soliva joined Human Domain Solutions and ACT 1 Federal in support of the Ted Stevens Center on February 1, 2024. Prior to supporting the Ted Stevens Center, she was a Veteran Fellow with the Hoover Institute and a Special Operations veteran with the U.S Army as a Psychological Operations Soldier. She currently serves in the U.S Army Reserves.

She holds a bachelor and master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Guam and is pursuing a Doctor of Criminal Justice, Homeland Security from Saint Leo University.

She is a TEDx Hagåtña speaker and cofounded a 501c3 called the Guam Human Rights Initiative to advance research on human rights in Guam and Micronesia.

She was born in a U.S. Naval Hospital in Spain, and currently resides in Maryland.

She is CHamoru (indigenous people of Guam and the Mariana Islands) and proud of her familial ties to Guam. She has a loving husband and a dog named Spanky.

Official photo of Haliehana Stepetin.

Haliehana M. Stepetin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Arctic Security Studies

Dr. Haliehana Stepetin joined the Ted Stevens Center on 14 August 2023. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, she was an Assistant Professor of Alaska Native Studies at the University of Alaska Anchorage on Dena’ina lands. She has served in numerous roles over the past ten years at her regional Alaska Native organizations through internships and positions at the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Development Association, the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, and the Akutan Corporation and Akutan Qigiiĝun Tribe. She has contracted as a dance, art, and Unangam Tunuu [Unangax̂ Language] instructor at culture camps in the Unangax̂ region since 2013. She has a background in museums that began at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in 2013 and continued at the Bill Holm Center for Northwest Coast Native Art at the Burke Museum in Seattle until 2018. Dr. Stepetin served as a Fire Controlman 2nd Class Petty Officer (E-5/ESWS) onboard the USS Chosin CG 65 stationed at Pearl Harbor, HI (2008-2012).

She holds a PhD in Native American Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Studies in Performance and Practice from the University of California Davis (2023), a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies from the University of Washington Bothell (2018), and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies – Russia Track with minors in Russian and Anthropology from the University of Alaska Anchorage (2016). Her dissertation titled, “Unangam Qaqamiiĝuu [Unangax̂ Subsistence] Cosmologies: Protocols of Sustainability, or Ways of Being Unangax̂,” connects environmental justice, Indigenous food sovereignty, and climate change research with, by, and for Unangax̂ and Circumpolar Arctic communities. Dr. Stepetin’s work tends to social justice and equity in research by uplifting Indigenous Knowledge and the keepers of it as valid and valued experts and scientists. She weaves together her transdisciplinary experience deeply shaped by the Unangax̂ subsistence cosmology she was raised within as an artist and scholar.

The official photo of CAPT Joseph Grant Thomas, Jr., U.S. Coast Guard

Joseph “Grant” Thomas, Jr.

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard Liaison & Instructor

Captain Grant Thomas joined the Ted Stevens Center in July 2023. Prior to coming to the Ted Stevens Center, he was the military deputy Chief of Operations (J3) at Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, FL. He is a native of Louisville, Kentucky and was commissioned in February of 2003 through Officer Candidate School. Captain Thomas holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee and an M.S. in Science and Technology Intelligence, with a certificate in Denial and Deception, from the National Intelligence University in Washington, D.C.

With over eight years of sea time, Captain Thomas has conducted a wide range of Coast Guard missions including search and rescue, law enforcement, defense operations, marine environmental protection, and Intelligence Community national security activities. His prior maritime operational assignments include:

Deck Watch Officer and First Lieutenant aboard CGC BEAR (WMEC 901) in Portsmouth, VA from 2003-2005.

Commanding Officer of CGC TIGER SHARK (WPB 87359) in Newport, RI from 2005-2007.

Commanding Officer of CGC MONOMOY (WPB 1326) forward deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from 2009-2010.

Commanding Officer of CGC BLOCK ISLAND (WPB 1344) in Atlantic Beach, NC from 2010-2012.

Executive Officer of CGC DOUGLAS MUNRO (WHEC 724) in Kodiak, AK from 2020-2021.

While serving as military aide to both the Coast Guard Chief of Staff and the Atlantic Area Commander from 2007-2009, he coordinated strategic and operational engagements for one of the Coast Guard’s four Vice Admirals. From 2013-2017 he served as an agent with the Coast Guard Counterintelligence Service (CGCIS) in Washington, D.C. where he was the Assistant Director for Mission Support and Executive Officer of Military Personnel. From 2017-2020 Captain Thomas was Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Cryptologic Unit Colorado where his unit was the Coast Guard Service Cryptologic Element of National Security Agency/Central Security Service Colorado. In this capacity, he supported worldwide Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and cybersecurity cryptologic activities to enable national and allied priority intelligence objectives.

Captain Thomas is a licensed U.S. Coast Guard 200-ton master mariner and a nationally registered Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). He and his wife have two children, have served as a foster family for a third child, and enjoy a wide range of outdoor family activities. He can be reached at: joseph.thomas.70@us.af.mil

Dwayne A. Wood

Training and Curriculum Developer, ACT1 Federal

Dwayne A. Wood joined ACT1 Federal in support of the Ted Stevens Center on 15 May 2023. Prior to supporting the Stevens Center, he held instructional design and instructor positions in the government and higher education sectors.

He holds a Doctorate in Education and a Master’s in Adult Education.

He retired from the Army after 22 years serving in many roles such as Combat Engineer, Human Resources, Special Operations Support, Senior Enlisted Advisor, and Military Science Instructor.

He was born in the finger lakes region of New York, and currently resides in Alabama.

He has been married for 26 years with three children. He is an avid reader, preferring books on military history, education, neuroscience, physics, leadership, and philosophy to name a few.

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