Meet the Team
Dr. Marya Rozanova-Smith, Ph.D., is a Research Professor at The George Washington University. In addition to her work in academia, she participated in a wide range of social projects. She was the founder and chairperson of the Center for Civil, Social, Scientific, and Cultural Initiatives “STRATEGIA” and served as a Galina Starovoitova Fellow for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution at the Kennan Institute, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Dr. Rozanova-Smith has been teaching the Arctic Affairs course at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs since 2018.
Her current research interests include Arctic governance, urban sustainability, Indigenous urbanization, gender empowerment, and the gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Arctic. Dr. Rozanova-Smith is a Principal Investigator of the project “Understanding the Gendered Impacts of COVID-19 in the Arctic (COVID-GEA)” supported by NSF.
Charlene Aqpik Apok
Dr. Charlene Aqpik Apok, PhD, MA is Executive Director, Data for Indigenous Justice and Gender Justice & Healing Director, Native Movement. She is Iñupiaq, her family is from White Mountain and Golovin, AK. She is mother to Evan Lukluan. Charlene has served in many spaces as an advocate for Indigenous women, Indigenous sovereignty, climate justice and Indigenous rights to health and wellbeing. Charlene is a lifelong learner in both her cultural traditions and decolonizing academia. She earned her B.A in American Ethnic Studies with a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies, an M.A in Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development and PhD in Indigenous Studies. Previous to her current positions she worked in tribal health as a researcher serving Alaska Native and American Indian peoples. Charlene gratefully resides in Anchorage on the territories of the Dena'ina peoples. Here she has taught the Iñupiaq language and is part of Kingikmuit dance group with her son.
Embla Eir Oddsdottir
Embla Eir Oddsdottir is the Director of the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network and the Polar Law Institute in Akureyri, Iceland. Embla is a national delegate in the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) and a representative in the Sustainable Development Working Group´s Social, Economic and Cultural Expert Group (SECEG). Embla is a project lead of the SDWG project on Gender Equality in the Arctic (2019-2021). Embla is a Chair of the Joint Organizing Committee on Arctic Affairs in Iceland, a Council member in the International Arctic Social Sciences Association, and a member of the European Polar Board, among other things. Embla has experience in research, project management, and international and multi-stakeholder collaboration on policy relevant issues in the Arctic. Embla holds a Msc in law, anthropology and society from the London School of Economics with undergraduate studies on socioeconomic development at the University of Akureyri and interdisciplinary studies at the University of Northern British Columbia.
Andrey N. Petrov
Dr. Andrey N. Petrov is Professor of Geography, ARCTICenter Director and Academic Director of GeoTREE Center at the University of Northern Iowa. Dr. Petrov is an economic and social geographer who specializes in Arctic economy, regional development and post-Soviet society, with an emphasis on the social geography of Indigenous populations.
His current research concerns sustainable development, spatial organization, and restructuring of peripheral economies, as well as dynamics of social-ecological systems. Dr. Petrov leads the Research Coordination Networks in Arctic Sustainability (Arctic-FROST) and Arctic Coastal Resilience (Arctic-COAST). He has published on issues pertaining to socio-economic crisis, development, and demographic dynamics of Arctic populations.
Sveinbjörg Smáradóttir is a researcher and a project coordinator at the Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network and the Stefansson Arctic Institute in Akureyri, Northern Iceland.
At IACN, she has participated in projects such as Gender Equality in the Arctic, the creation of Iceland's Arctic Policy Strategy, and the Study on the Impacts of COVID-19 on Women in the Arctic.
At the Stefansson Arctic Institute, she has been involved in projects such as Arctic Youth and Sustainable Futures, JUSTNORTH, and Seawomen of Iceland. Additionally, she has done some part-time teaching at the University of Akureyri.
Stacey Lucason is Deputy Campaign Manager at the Alaskans for Better Elections. She is the daughter of Richard Lucason and Sandra Rogers (Wing), mother of Olga Lucason, and partner to James Manners. She is Yup'ik and Scandinavian, with family ties to Western Alaska in both Dillingham and Hooper Bay. She was born in Fairbanks, and currently makes her home on Dena'ina Ełnena in Chugiak. She is a caregiver, learner, and cofounder of the Alaska Native Birthworkers Community. Her work is focused on equity in education and healthcare. Stacey serves as a birth helper for rural families and works on research and policy recommendations to better support a system in which Alaska Native people experience sovereignty from their first breath.
Sophie Rosenthal is a student at The George Washington University studying International Affairs and GIS. She has thoroughly enjoyed researching the task forces and policies enacted in Alaska as part of her work on the COVID-GEA project, especially through a gender-focused lens. Sophie’s work on this project has inspired her to continue working to find systemic inequities and tackle them through research and policy recommendations. After growing up between Massachusetts and Dubai, Sophie enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and exploring the areas around her.
Anissa Ozbek is a student at The George Washington University, studying International Affairs with a focus in security policy, cross-cultural communication, and Chinese language and culture. Over the past year, Anissa worked as a research assistant with the Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics, exploring COVID-19-related misinformation discourse and trends across Russian and American communities. In the coming months, she will begin a project examining the relationship between Arctic governments’ gender composition and their COVID-19-related policy outcomes on local and state levels, studying the cases of Alaska and the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug.
Laura Goodfield is a BS/MPH student at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, GWU. She is a double major in Public Health and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with a minor in Sustainability. She hopes to pursue her MPH in Epidemiology with a focus on social determinants of health. Laura is currently a Gender Equality Fellow for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and spent four months in 2022 in Berlin, Germany researching the intersection between gender and public transportation. Her work with the COVID-GEA team will focus on gendered definitions of health and learning about the Alaskan healthcare system during the onset of the pandemic from gendered perspectives. She enjoys playing soccer, tennis, and trying new restaurants in DC in her free time.
Harshit Aggarwal is a graduate student studying Business Analytics at The George Washington University. He holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from Drexel University. He works as a Research Assistant for the COVID-GEA project, focusing on data visualizations and developing and maintaining the Arctic COVID-19 Gender Response Tracker. After graduating, he hopes to work as a Data Analyst in the technology or finance industry. In his free time, he enjoys exploring new cities, puzzles, and cooking.
Riya Bhushan is a student at The George Washington University, studying International Affairs with a double minor with French and Geography. She works as a Research Assistant for the COVID-GEA project and has thoroughly enjoyed researching gendered policies in the Arctic. After graduation, Riya hopes to gain a PhD to become a professor. She has won an Undergraduate Research Assistant Award in 2022 for her work on “Foreign Policy Decision-Making: China's Policies toward Vietnam, Mao to Hua”. Originally from Nashville, TN, Riya enjoys reading, exploring D.C., and spending time with her friends and family.
Alicia Glassman is an undergraduate student at The George Washington University majoring in Geography and Political Science with a minor in GIS. She works as a research assistant on the UGEEA and COVID-GEA projects, focusing on graphic design and cartography. She is also conducting research relating to gendered responses to COVID-19 within Native American and Alaskan communities. Her roots are in the White Earth Nation of Minnesota, and she hopes to honor this through her work. Alicia enjoys word games, working with her university’s food bank, and visiting all of the bookstores in DC.
Shreeya Sharda is an undergraduate student at The George Washington University, studying Computer Science, Business Administration, and Organizational Sciences. She is currently a research assistant at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies where she is both researching the impact of crowding relative to tourism in the Juneau, Alaska area, and building a database via Tableau to support the COVID-GEA initiative. After graduation, she hopes to work in Software Engineering. She enjoys hiking, finding the best coffee shop,
and road trips with friends and family.
Hakima Afzaly is a graduate student at the University of Northern Iowa. She is currently completing her second Master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies from Asian University for Women and a Master’s degree in Critical Gender Studies from Central European University. She has previously worked with the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN), Afghanistan Forensic Science Organization (AFSO), and American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). She is interested in doing research about policies that are gender specific. As a member of GEA, her research focuses on the gender aspects of COVID-19. Currently, she is writing her thesis about marriage practices in Afghanistan. Apart from her studies and research work, Hakima enjoys jogging and playing tennis.
Polina Saburova is a student at Media School in Indiana University with a specific interest in documentary filmmaking. She is an artist, a writer, and a poet born and raised in Siberia. A few of her photography projects can be found on her website. For a long time now, she has been interested in the Arctic, and her dream was to work on a project about it. She is participating in the COVID-GEA project as a co-curator of the exhibition Women’s Voices of the Arctic. Her hobbies include traveling around the world, road trips and learning foreign languages.
Adhithya Kiran is an MSc Data Science candidate at The George Washington University with a focus on Data Mining, Machine Learning, and Cloud Computing. He currently works as a Research Assistant on the COVID-GEA project, specializing in predictive modeling and data analysis. He has prior experience with The World Bank as a Data Scientist and the United Nations as a Data Analyst Intern. Skilled in Python, R, SQL, TensorFlow, and Pandas, Adhithya aims to become a Data Scientist or Software Developer post-graduation. He enjoys exploring new tech and coding challenges in his free time..
Laura Norton-Cruz, LMSW, is a social worker, public health professional, and community advocate for children, families, and gender justice. Laura works for an Alaska Native village corporation on public health and social marketing projects, does consulting work for clients such as COVID-19 Project Finish Line and Moms Rising, and is one of three Co-Leads for Growing Alaskan Leaders (Alaska), a 600+ member grassroots activist group of parents and caregivers. Laura also completed the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leaders program, focusing on issues of childcare policy. She has worked extensively in rural Alaska on the topics of maternal/child health, domestic and sexual violence, nutrition security, and adverse childhood experiences.
Ásthildur Sturludóttir is the Mayor of Akureyri since 2018. From 2010-2018 she was the Mayor of Vesturbyggð in the Westfjords of Iceland.
Ásthildur spent her youth in the town of Stykkishólmur on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. She earned her BA in Political Science from the University of Iceland in Reykjavík and a Master of Public Administration degree from PACE University in New York.