March 2018 Lesley Urasky, former PolarTREC alumna, visited our classroom. Lesley had the privilege of traveling to Antarctica with a PolarTREC team and was almost as excited as the students by the information she had to share. After her presentation, I bombarded her with a slew of questions: What were the qualifying factors for this program? How did you hear about it? When can I apply?
Once the program was on my radar a plethora of research ensued, followed by an extensive waiting period for the application window to open cue Jeopardy music.
After applying…more waiting. Several months later, a promising email detailing “phase 2” of the application process found its way into my inbox. I had made it past the first round of application reviews and was under the microscope of the selected research teams. The prospect of being the lucky teacher to accompany a team seemed unlikely, but I remained optimistic.
The Phone Call: An Alaskan area code? Solicitors know everything…could they possibly know that I am waiting for a call from Alaska? On the other end a PolarTREC representative sounds like an adult in a “Charlie Brown” episode. Curse this phone service! Through crackles and breaks I make out that a woman wants to set up an interview for the day after Christmas. The research team interested in me is doing research in Siberia.
An interview followed by much more waiting and finally another phone call. It’s official. Pack your bags to complete an orientation in Alaska, to train for an expedition in Siberia. I never thought I would hear those words strung together in my lifetime “…and then I realized, adventures are the best way to learn.” -Unknown Author