Growing up in Sweden, Anna Liljedahl was sure of two things.
First, she wanted to be a researcher.
“I remember, I think I was in third grade, I knew I wanted to be a researcher,” said Liljedahl.
Second, she wanted to travel to Alaska.
“I always wanted to go to Canada or Alaska for some reason. It was always something that I wanted to do when I grew up. I was interested in cold regions because that is where I grew up.”
Liljedahl would get that chance in 2003 while working on her master’s degree at Umea University in Sweden. She discovered that the school had a foreign exchange program with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Liljedahl applied and, in 2004, spent the final year of her master’s program in Alaska working on her thesis.
“I knew that there was a lot of exciting research going on at UAF,” said Liljedahl. “When I got here I found the research centers I wanted to visit online and started knocking on doors. I was asking them about what research they were doing and if there was someone that could mentor me.”
That is when Liljedahl met Dr. Larry Hinzman, director of the Alaska Water and Environmental Research Center (WERC) at the time. Hinzman would become Liljedahl’s mentor and, a year later, her Ph.D. advisor.
Liljedahl earned her Ph.D. in Hydrology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2011. Since then she has worked with the Alaska WERC and International Arctic Research Center (IARC) as a research assistant professor. Using field measurements and numerical modeling, Liljedahl hopes to better understand hydrology, permafrost and glacier interactions and how they affect the Arctic and sub-arctic hydrological cycle.