Executive Committee

The PEI Executive Committee is responsible for guiding the organisation and helping to set priorities while working closely with partners to help our members. The Executive Committee, with the guidance of the Global Advisors Group, the Focus Advisors, and under advisement of a Council, manages the affairs of PEI. The role of the Executive Committee is to ensure that the mission and goals of PEI are pursued in a responsible, accountable, and transparent manner.

The Executive Committee sets the budget for the organisation and approves and oversees the Director. The Executive Committee also acts as a consultative body for the Director and PEI membership-at-large. In the absence of a paid Director and staff, the Executive Committee will assume all duties of these offices to keep the organisation operational.

Executive Committee Charter

Current PEI Executive Committee

Julia Dooley - President


Julia Dooley (USA) Julia Dooley is a teacher of gifted/talented elementary students in Newark, Delaware. Julia holds a BFA in Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Masters in Education. Previous to her teaching experience she was a teacher/naturalist with Delaware Nature Society. She was an ANDRILL Arise Educator, spending two months in Antarctica participating with two science teams investigating climate history. Julia participated in IPY Oslo and Montreal conferences as a presenter and participant in the teacher workshops. Her passions include sharing her polar experience, and blending science and art.

Maria Pia Casarini - Vice President

pia svalbard

Maria Pia Casarini (Italy) Maria has two degrees from Milan Cattolica University (Modern Languages and Italian Letters); M.Phil. in Polar Studies, Cambridge University, UK. Carried on research in Polar History at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge and has 10 field trips (8 to the Arctic, 2 to the Antarctic). Participated in the Winter Weddell Sea Project 1986, the first wintering scientific programme of a ship in the Antarctic, to write a commissioned book for the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Bremerhaven (Unternehmen Polarstern, 1987, Econ Verlag). Lectured on ships (Northwest Passage and North Pole). 2011-2016 Director of the Zavatti Polar Institute, Fermo, Italy. Lectured at the Genoa Polar Summer School, 2012. Participant at the Arctic Table of the Italian Foreign Ministry.Member of the Society of Woman Geographers, USA, currently on its Board; Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London, and member of the James Caird Society. Many publications on polar history. Interviews given to radio and TV programmes.

Neelu Singh - Vice President

Neelu Singh (India) Neelu Singh has more than 7 years of working experience in the field of environmental chemistry. During her career as a Research Fellow, she has gained extensive working experience on the study of Persistent Organic Pollutants and Trace Metals in the Polar Region. This research work experience gives her a command over the topics and global issues related to the environmental subject. She has participated in Indian Antarctic Expedition (2009), Indian Arctic expedition (2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015) and Indian Southern Ocean Expedition (2010). In addition to this, she has undergone several international training programs/workshop at University of Svalbard and University of Tromsø.

Sophie Weeks- Vice President

Sophie Weeks (UK) Sophie Weeks is a science communicator based in Cambridge, UK.  Having originally trained in both science and art she enjoyed a twenty year career in Museum and Gallery Education working for the British Library. London Borough of Camden and several University of Cambridge museums. Her passion for the polar regions grew while developing and managing the education and outreach programmes at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), engaging a wide range of audiences through the Polar Museum and working directly with polar researchers. She participated in IPY2012 Montreal and co-ordinated the PEI 2019 conference in Cambridge, working with colleagues from PEI, SPRI and British Antarctic Survey.  She is a member of her local Makerspace and an advocate for Making and constructionist learning. Her passion for engaging people in research and ideas has driven her to produce the Art and Science Soiree, a vehicle for encouraging collaboration between creative thinkers in both the arts and science.

Betsy Wilkening - Vice President/Treasurer


Betsy Wilkening (USA) Betsy is a founding PEI council member from the Sonoran Desert in Tucson, Arizona. She currently works as an education coordinator for Arizona Project WET at the University of Arizona promoting responsible water stewardship through excellent and effective water education to students, teachers and the public. Betsy is passionate about providing opportunities for people to put knowledge into action to combat climate change and build resilient communities. A project, Recharge the Rain, that she is working on with another local agency incorporates those opportunites by teaching climate literacy and engineering design of rainwater harvesting systems in Tucson classrooms.

You can contact the executive committee at polareducators@gmail.com