Hanks lives in Fairbanks in the Alaska interior where he conducts research on ocean circulation patterns with all types of high tech instrumentation at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is a life-long skier and an amateur avalanche forecaster. The area where he backcountry skis has never had a professional forecast so they have to make do and come up with safe travel procedures on their own by studying the seasonal evolution of the snowpack. Hank has skied with professional forecasters in areas like the Wasatch and British Columbia so he likes to think that he’s had some really amazing mentors along the way. Hank thinks it’s important to share knowledge and engage with his community both as a mentor and mentee. As Hank puts it “Knowledge is power and sharing is caring!”
We asked Hank what he tries to remind himself about everyday, and he mentions the incredible struggles that some people in this world are dealing with right now. “We are very lucky to have food, access to clean drinking water and a safe environment to raise my children in. It’s not like that everywhere. I am very fortunate and grateful to have the free time to pursue my passions.”
Fun fact about Hank: Though Fairbanks is like night and day to the Cajun country of the south, Hank loves shrimp and grits! And waffles.
What is community science? Why join CSO?
Hank would define a [community scientist] as a do-it-yourself (DIY) scientist. We like that definition. He adds “We have many gaps in our understanding of the seasonal distribution of snow and how it varies on micro-scales within a single region. More data will help us understand the variability within each region.”
Check out Hank on Instagram @hank.stats