SOI Home Team
SOI staff work throughout the year to create life-changing educational journeys to the Polar Regions for youth from around the world. During the 2015 Arctic Expedition key staff will continue to manage expedition logistics from the home office, including daily updates to this website and ongoing communication with the expedition team.
Manager, Projects & Partnerships
Jessica Freeborn started working with Students on Ice in June 2012. Her appreciation for the environment and the outdoors stems from her travels around Canada and the world, including Europe, Asia and North America. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts, Combined Honours degree in Anthropology and English from McMaster University and an Advanced Diploma in Applied Museum Studies from Algonquin College.
Jessica has worked as a Research and Collections Assistant at national and international museums, including the British Museum in London, England and the Canadian Museum of Civilization. As a Technical Writer for the Canadian Museum of Nature, she wrote a document entitled “A Collections Development Strategy for Canada’s Natural History Museums” which outlined sustainable management practices for Canada’s natural history collections. Most recently, Jessica was the Coordinator for the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada. Her work with youth extends to her time as an Early Education and Teaching Assistant where she supervised and taught daily educational lessons.
When not at work, Jessica can be found hiking and cave spelunking in the Ottawa region or enjoying a good book at the cottage located north of Parry Sound.
Mary-Ellen Connolly has worked in finance since graduating from St. Lawrence College. She brings many years of financial and administrative experience to Students on Ice. SOI’s mandate and work with youth motivated her to join the team.
For the past 25 years Mary-Ellen has volunteered as a ski instructor/guide for CADS (Canadian Association Disabled Skiers). She also enjoys sports such as skiing, cycling, kayaking and hiking.
Mary-Ellen also enjoys mixing international travel with volunteer work. Her next service adventure will be with Habitat for Humanity as a Team Leader to Portugal this September. Some of her other memorable past travels have been to Chile, Cambodia, Brazil, Kenya, Vietnam and Ireland.
Manager, Communications & Media Relations
Ashley joined Students on Ice in September 2013 with more than 15 years of experience in the corporate and non-profit sectors in the U.S., Czech Republic, Australia and for the past decade, in Canada.
Ashley’s work experience includes a lead communications role with WWF-Canada’s national fundraising and conservation campaigns, part of Molson-Coors’ Corporate Affairs team and most recently as volunteer communications support for Ottawa Riverkeeper, a local non-profit that looks after the health of the Ottawa River.Ashley holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business from Birmingham-Southern College (Birmingham, Alabama) and a post grad certificate in Public Relations from Ryerson University. She is excited to leverage her communications experience and her passion for the environment to tell SOI’s story and help educate and inspire youth as global ambassadors. On expedition, she will coordinate media between the expedition and the SOI home team to ensure ongoing updates, photos and video throughout the journey.Ashley lives in Ottawa with her husband and two daughters.
Conor works in several areas of Students on Ice, including media and communications, the alumni program, expedition logistics, IT development, and more. Prior to joining SOI he completed a degree in Sociology-Anthropology while working in Prince Edward Island and the Maritimes with watershed groups, environmental advocacy groups, youth experiential education workshops, and cultural organizations.
Conor enjoys filmmaking and editing, and his camera has led him to canoe Prince Edward Island rivers, curious piglets on a heritage pig farm and charcuterie in Sweden, reindeer races above the Arctic circle in Swedish Sapmi, and pagan rituals in Lithuania along with kickstarter, sustainability movements, and Thai food cooking shows. He can usually be found reading or experimenting with fermenting, drying, curing, smoking, and cooking all kinds of food.
Olivia Rempel visited both poles with SOI at age 17 (Antarctic 2009 and Arctic 2010), though this expedition will be the fifth she’s involved in, having provided on-the-ground support for the Arctic 2013 and ’14 expeditions.
She holds Bachelor of Journalism with combined honours in Environment, Sustainability and Society from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University.
Olivia has been fascinated by the Polar Regions since SOI came into her life. In 2011 she co-founded an organization that encourages renewable energy research in cold climates, “Carbon Neutral Antarctica.” Since then she’s completed literature reviews on the topic, presented at conferences such as International Polar Year: From Knowledge to Action, and the Polar Technology Conference, guest lectured to a class of 300 at Dalhousie University, and interned for the International Polar Foundation in Brussels, Belgium.
She currently lives in Montreal, Quebec, where she is restarting her education with a renewed focus on math and sciences. In her spare time she enjoys cycling, video editing, and plotting where she’ll travel next.
Emma participated in the Students on Ice Arctic 2012 expedition and was captivated by the cultures and landscapes of the Polar Region. Her experience with SOI fuelled her passion for environmental and ocean sciences and prompted Emma to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology at Dalhousie University. In the future she hopes to be involved in creating and implementing policy regarding the protection and development of coastal regions.
As intern, Emma is focused on expedition logistics and providing support to our SOI field team during the expedition period. In her spare time, she enjoys being outside, reading and experimenting in the kitchen!