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About Kimberly Aiken
Kimberly Aiken
Polar and Climate Project Assistant
Phone: +47 48 61 3614

How does a girl go from South Carolina, USA, to a career focused on the Arctic? There is no short answer to this question, but my path included a stretch in New York City where I worked tirelessly for a life that was not meant to be mine. Now I’m chasing my dream of becoming an Arctic policy expert. I want to focus on Arctic Indigenous Peoples and how to incorporate traditional knowledge in all areas of Arctic research, with the aim of informing policy and improving communication and collaboration between these communities.


Before joining GRID-Arendal, I worked as an Arctic policy intern for the German Arctic Office at the Alfred Wegener Institute where I conducted research and literature review and published a fact sheet on Arctic governance. During this time, I also conducted interviews with experts at the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat, the Arctic Centre, and the Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies. Prior to this, I was honored to participate in the 2019 International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research (INTPART) Arctic Field Summer School, which was a Norway-Canada-USA collaboration project that focused on the changing cryosphere and took place at the Arctic Institute of North America’s Kluane Lake Research Station in the sub-Arctic Yukon Territory.


I hold a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Hunter College in New York City, and I am currently pursuing my Master of Arts degree in international environmental policy with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Through my studies, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the executive director of the Study of Environmental Arctic Change and Arctic science experts from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.


In my current role as a project assistant in GRID’s Polar and Climate Programme, I support projects including Arctic Marine Litter, Barents 2030, Nunataryuk Permafrost H2020, and the UNEP Key Polar Centre. I assist with project deliverables, development of new proposals, organizing workshops, networking and social media. This experience is allowing me to be part of conversations with essential Arctic stakeholders on understanding permafrost and combating marine litter and plastic pollution.

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