Alison Criscitiello is a National Geographic Society Explorer, ice core scientist and high-altitude mountaineer. She explores the history of sea ice in polar regions using ice core chemistry. This involves long months of living in a tent and drilling ice cores in places like Antarctica, Alaska and the Canadian Arctic.
Criscitiello’s work also focuses on environmental contaminant histories in ice cores from the Canadian high Arctic and the water towers of the Canadian Rockies. Water towers are natural mountain systems which store and transport water via glaciers, snow packs, lakes and streams for the benefit of the people living in the valleys below.
She is the director of the Canadian Ice Core Lab at University of Alberta and a professor at the University of Calgary. When not busy shivering for science, Criscitiello seeks out the cold for fun, working as a climbing ranger in the national parks and guiding expeditions to peaks in the Andes, Alaska and the Himalaya.
In 2010, she led the first all-women’s ascent of Lingsarmo, a 22,818 ft. peak in the Indian Himalaya. Criscitiello has received three American Alpine Club (AAC) climbing awards and she earned the first Ph.D. in Glaciology ever conferred by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Criscitiello is founder and co-director of Girls on Ice Canada.