Frances Ulmer is an Associate at the Belfer Center's Arctic Initiative. She is currently the Chair of The Nature Conservancy’s Global Board of Directors and was a Visiting Professor in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University from 2017 to 2018. Ulmer was appointed by President Obama as the Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) in March 2011 and served in that role until August 2020. From 2014 to 2017, Ulmer was a Special Advisor on Arctic Science and Policy at the State Department. In June 2010, President Obama appointed her to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. From 2007 to 2011, she served as Chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska’s largest public university. Before that, Ulmer was a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at UAA.

Ulmer served as an elected official for 18 years as the mayor of Juneau, a state representative and as Lieutenant Governor of Alaska. She previously worked as legal counsel to the Alaska Legislature, legislative assistant to Governor Jay Hammond and Director of Policy Development for the state. In addition, she was the first Chair of the Alaska Coastal Policy Council and served for more than 10 years on the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission. She has served on numerous local, state, and federal advisory committees and boards. Ulmer earned a J.D. cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School, and has been a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School.

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