Jodi Rodwell – Executive Director
Jodi came to Denali in 1995 to work for a summer and has remained here ever since. She has a BS in geology from Montana State University and began her career at the Denali Education Center teaching about the Denali Fault Zone. She loves living in this wonderful community with her husband and young daughter, who arrived in August 2011. In winter, she enjoys skiing on the dog mushing trails and playing pick-up hockey on a local pond.
Jill Boelsma – Operations Director
Jill moved to Denali in 1999 and began working at the Denali Education Center in 2004. She lives with her husband Carl, his son Ben, rescued parakeets, and a rescued German shepherd in a log home they constructed with friends and family. Her favorite things include the return of spring migrants, emerging plants in springtime, cooking for others, visiting with family, skeet shooting, and exploring the backcountry with binoculars on kayaks, skis, snowmachines, motorcycles or 4-wheelers.
Hannah Wagenaar – Program Director
Hannah originally came to Alaska from the midwest- Iowa specifically. She first stepped foot in Alaska in 2010 and was immediately overcome by a deep sense of belonging. Hannah quickly fell in love with the vast landscapes and sense of exploration that comes as one heads out into Denali’s wilderness. It took Hannah three summers of Denali living before she was ready to throw off all hesitation and start living in Alaska year-round. Hannah spends her time exploring, learning and loving the far North.
Patty Burns – Residential Program Manager
Patty arrived in Denali twelve years ago, with a backpack and intentions of spending just one summer. After falling in love with sled dogs, she couldn’t stay away spending 11 summers and 8 winters in the state. With a background in education, she’s spent her time as a dog musher/handler, a whitewater rafting guide, a snowboard/ski instructor and managing outdoor education courses. She spends her free time outside with dogs and thinks Alaska is a magical place to be.
Carl Livingston – IT & Facilities Manager
After studying math and computer science at UC Berkeley, Carl started up his own contracting business in Oakland, CA, and started building houses. He ended up in Denali after picking up a chance phone call from a human resources office for a visiting friend. Bored with contracting, Carl intercepted the call and was hired by the company a week later. That first summer in Denali totally transformed his life! Carl swiftly moved out of the maintenance field and started in IT the next year and has loved it ever since. We’re lucky to have Carl’s diverse skills this summer…they are all going to be put to the test!
Patrick Kelly – Youth Programs Manager
Patrick first came to Alaska in 2013 for graduate school, and has not looked back since! He earned his B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Florida State University and his M.S. in Outdoor and Environmental Education from Alaska Pacific University. Patrick likes to spend his free time backpacking, climbing, snowboarding, and playing the mandolin. He’s excited to finally call Denali home!
Jimmy Sandy – Special Projects Volunteer
Jimmy came to Denali in 1990 “just for the summer” and proceeded to make Alaska his home. He is best known as a founding member of the Denali Cooks, a rock and roll band that is still rocking twenty-plus years later. He has volunteered at the Denali Education Center since 1993, helping out with the construction of the Charles Sheldon Center and with many other projects large and small. Jimmy hatched the original idea for the ever-popular annual auction and continues to bring the stellar live music. This year will mark his 21st auction performance!
Roy Catalano – Field Educator
Roy loves Alaska! He has volunteered on the Iditarod Trail 17 years in a row, driven dog sleds in the Gates of the Arctic and on parts of the Iditarod trail. He enjoys working seasonally and living in Denali National Park with his wife. Roy loves hiking in Denali and sea kayaking in Prince Williams Sound. Roy spends his spare time fly fishing, birding, showing guests and friends around the Denali trails, and taking care of their new puppy. He spends his winters living in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Jake Hill – Program Coordinator
Jake left Ohio in 2008 and, like most people, headed north for “just one summer.” Armed with a B.A. in English, and a background in theater education, he had no idea what Alaska had in store. Since then he has become a full-time resident, met and married his wonderful wife Anna, and has completely fallen in love with Alaska. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, hammocking, and playing his guitar.
David Cox – Hospitality
David is from the coastal lands of the panhandle, Florida. In the summer of 2012, he came to Alaska in search of something different and found a landmarked by the bones of the world. Entranced by the beauty of swift glacier rivers and myriad colors of the fall taiga he makes the journey back every summer. If you ask him, he’ll admit to missing his flip-flops, though.
Barb Mayer – Resident Volunteer
As a trained marine biologist, Barb settled in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in Waimānalo, HI where she taught 8th-grade earth science. She now enjoys contract curriculum writing and seasonal volunteer work in education/interpretation at the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and national parks around the West. After a summer at Homer’s Islands & Ocean Visitor Center in 2015, Barb went north for an all-too-brief visit to the Denali area. She’s excited and honored to be a part of the Denali Education Center staff.
Kris Cassity – Traveling Program Coordinator
Having moved to Alaska at a very young age, Kris can recount every major event in Alaska’s history from Statehood to the present. Such a depth and breadth of knowledge brings a richness to every program he coordinates. Kris has been a wilderness guide and naturalist for over thirty years and has been instrumental in the development of many of the concepts now in general use by Alaska’s outdoor professionals. Program participants constantly comment about how much they enjoy Kris’ easy going manner and dry sense of humor. We’re lucky to have him on our team!
Rebecca Kielty – Hospitality
Rebecca first came to Alaska in 2013 and had a fantastic adventure. She met people from all over the world, explored a glacier, and realized her longtime dream of seeing polar bears in the wild! Denali Education Center is an exciting addition to Rebecca’s years in customer service, and she looks forward to what this summer will bring.
Kate Trudell – Event Manager
Originally from New York, Kate first came to Alaska for the summer in 2011 and has been returning ever since. With a variety of experiences under her belt including working in NYC’s fashion district, as a ski bum in Colorado, and at a nuclear power plant, it’s Alaska’s wilderness, landscapes, and sense of community that keep her coming back. Kate also enjoys crocheting, baking, traveling and gardening any chance she gets.
Justin Belcher – Campus Cook
Justin allows his kitchen skills to take him to amazing places in search of adventure. He admits that he thrives when allowed to be creative while preparing delicious meals for program guests. Having spent time as a cook at a Vancouver, BC monastery, It’s no wonder Justin approaches cooking with compassion and mindfulness. Trust us, you can taste the difference!
Maureen Weakley – Field Educator
This will be Maureen’s first summer season with Denali Education Center! Coming from New Jersey, she is eager to embark on a new adventure in the beautiful natural world that is Denali, Alaska. Maureen holds a B.A in Environmental Studies and has experience working as an environmental educator in the Grand Teton Mountains of Wyoming. She is passionate about developing engaging educational programs that promote respect for the environment and provide science education to underserved communities. In her spare time, Maureen can be found taking pictures, hiking, gardening, and cooking.
Sarah Bartholow – Program Coordinator
Sarah has lived in the Denali area for the better part of ten years. Most recently she worked on education programming for the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States. Sarah has a Masters in Education and certificate in Environment, Education, and Community from the University of Washington. Her favorite parts of Alaskan summer is subsistence dipnet fishing, hiking, camping, painting, and picking berries. Working for the Denali Education Center is a privilege that she will enjoy all summer.
JoHanna Sestito – Program Coordinator
JoHanna first came to Denali in 2012, quickly learned how magical it is and returned in 2014. Originally from Ohio, she earned her bachelor’s degree in integrated language arts and master’s in multicultural special education. After teaching high school for several years, she is excited to take on a new educational role at the Denali Education Center. Her favorite part of Alaskan summers is the midnight sun. JoHanna also enjoys hiking, traveling and seeing how people all across the globe live.