Dr. Erin Pettit is an Assistant Professor of Geophysics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. With her interest in landscape patterns and fluid dynamics, glaciology allows Dr. Pettit to combine a background in mechanical engineering with her love of the high mountains and her interest in contributing to questions of climate change and sea level rise. Her research emphasis is in ice dynamics, ranging from the relation between ice crystal microstructure, climate history, and ice flow near ice core sites to the fast flowing calving glaciers and ice shelves as they respond to modern climate change.
In addition to working in Greenland, Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington State, she has been on eight research expeditions to remote field sites in Antarctica; for five of these she was an expedition leader. Dr. Petitt also loves teaching. As a graduate student, she developed the Girls on Ice program, an inquiry-based wilderness field experience for teenage girls that challenges them physically, intellectually, and in leadership. As a faculty member, she has developed a hands-on inquiry-based undergraduate course "Ice in the Climate System" that has students collecting lake ice cores on campus, running their own climate models, and teaching first graders about ice sheets.