Erin Pettit

Erin Pettit

Associate Professor | Oregon State University


Erin Pettit is an Associate Professor of Glaciology at Oregon State University and Director of Inspiring Girls Expeditions. She explores glaciers and glaciated landscapes to better understand and predict changing climate and rising seas. 

Pettit is on the leadership team for the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, charged with narrowing uncertainties on sea level rise from collapsing ice shelves. She discovered the sound made by melting glacier ice and studies the physics of melt at ice/ocean interfaces. She has led research expeditions to the tidewater glaciers of Alaska, to the summit of Mount Rainier, to the interior of Antarctica and more. She partners with microbial ecologists, marine biologists, and planetary scientists because ice plays a critical role in ecosystems on Earth and the chance of life on Europa or other icy bodies.  

Pettit values educating through inquiry and experiential learning as well as sharing her stories of scientific discovery to inspire others, especially through embracing the intersection of art and science, advocating for women scientists and explorers, and emphasizing the need to build an inclusive and equitable society. Towards these, she not only teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, she also created Inspiring Girls Expeditions, tuition-free wilderness science expeditions for young women from historically marginalized groups with the goal of building curiosity, courage, and leadership through exploration, science, and art.  She has been honored by National Geographic as an Emerging Explorer and by Wings WorldQuest as a Fellow.

Growing up surrounded by mountains in Seattle, WA, Erin combines her love of alpine landscapes with her mechanical engineering education from Brown University to get a Ph.D. in geophysics and glaciology from the University of Washington. She currently lives in Corvallis, Oregon.