For some of us, a "Science Party" is a great experience - my department colleagues at Leyden High Schools have been known to get together for some good times (and we even invite "non-science" people) - but in the case of the expedition, the Science Party is the group of researchers, students, and others who are here to collect the data.
I want to use some of the journal entries to feature various members of the Science Party and to answer Talking Heads (80s pop culture reference) frontman David Byrne's question: "How did I get here?"
Growing up, I only knew a few people who were scientists. I would have been hard pressed to name a famous living scientist at the time - these were the days before Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Even once I went to college, scientists worked in labs, not in the field, and certainly not on ships in the Arctic. So, I'd like to introduce my new colleagues and to show my students (and others) how people "got here".
Dr. Laura Whitmore - Chemistry Team Leader
Background: Hometown - Palmer, AK; Current Residence - Fairbanks, AK by way of Tallahassee, FL; Bachelors - Montana St. University; Masters and PhD - University of Southern Mississippi.
Why the Arctic? Laura originally wanted to be an astronaut and in 7th grade "hated" the water cycle because she had learned about it three times - ironic that she's spending her career studying water chemistry. She developed a love for the ocean after spending a single night on a sailboat. One of the professors she worked with was studying methane in the Arctic Ocean, so years later, here she is.
Best Parts of the Job: Field work - putting learning onto practice.
Worst Parts of the Job: Isolation - there's a lot of number crunching on computers.
Advice to 16 Year-old Self: Do what you want to do and give yourself a break on decision making. Also, applying is a way of life. "Cold" emailing stinks, but do it anyway. You never know who will say yes.
Entertainment for the Ship: Parks and Rec, Uno, Phase 10.
Mikayla Clark - Chemistry Team Member
Background: Hometown - Ninilchik, AK by way of NJ; Current Residence - moving to Maine to start a Masters right after we arrive home; Bachelors - University of Alaska Southeast - Juneau, AK; Masters - University of Maine (Ocean Biogeography).
Why the Arctic? Mikayla always knew she wanted to study science and found her love of field work from studying glaciers. She participated in a kayak field study, which gave her a love for oceanography. She graduated last January, saw an emailed job posting for a research assistant on an Arctic cruise, and decided to apply.
Best Parts of the Job: The people - meeting new people and doing "real" science.
Worst Parts of the Job: Rejection - lots of "cold" emailing gets old.
Advice to 16 Year-old Self: Don't be afraid of people saying no - just ask.
Entertainment for the Ship: "crappy" sci-fi books, her sketch pad, and Thor Ragnarok.