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

    Laura Whitmore
    Dr. Laura Whitmore, Chemistry Team Leader, standing in front of the Board of Lies. In the Arctic, nothing is definite - notice the ??? by ETA (estimated Time of Arrival)

    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

    Mikayla Clark
    Chemistry Team Assistant Mikayla Clark. Moving from Alaska to Maine after a 'working vacation' in the Arctic.

    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.

    Fred the Octopus
    Fred the Octopus (Sketch by Mikayla Clark) who decorates the 'secret lab' downstairs below the main labs.

    Laptev Sea
    Weather Summary
    Cloudy, overcast
    -1.8 C
    Wind Speed
    14.6 m/s


    Pamela Davies


    So glad things are going well up there in the world of "mystery time"! This is all truly fascinating, I love the rosette of bottles, what cool contraptions :) (that actually work)

    I also love that someone has Parks and Rec going for entertainment, I mean, it's a dream come true!!!

    Stay safe friend, and keep collecting data for the world, so we can hopefully fix some of our damage..........

    Jonathan Pazol

    Glad you're awakening your inner science geek! The technology and engineering is truly amazing, and the research just gets more and more important. Now, if only more of the people in charge would listen...Parks and Rec was our family quarantine show, but we didn't finish the last season before school - I may watch it while I'm here.

    Naomi Pazol

    Looking forward to meeting more of the people invited to the science party! I think it's so interesting to see how people's paths take them to places they'd never have imagined. I also think this is great stuff for your students (and others) to hear about: to be aware that there are so many things out there they could do and they just wouldn't even know they exist. It seems as if young adults sometimes feel their choices are limited when in reality, they are limitless!

    Hope all is well and that you've made it through the second Harry Potter book by now.

    Jonathan Pazol

    Helping my students see that there is no "one way" to become a scientist and that there are so many opportunities for "adventures" is why I've been asking these questions. Not finished with Book 2 - yet. Maybe by the middle of the week.

    Hajo Eicken

    Thanks Jon for great coverage of the NABOS cruise, helps us at IARC follow things along - but your write-up is also just great in terms of capturing all these quirky aspects of science cruises that you tend to notice after a while, so we appreciate your highly readable reminders of what it's all about.
    Best regards,

    Jonathan Pazol

    Glad you are following along, and thanks even more for supporting the projects and the scientists. I am impressed more and more every day by the tremendous intellect, effort, perseverance, and flexibility (especially the ability to "adjust on the fly" over the past few days in the ice) of the entire expedition and crew. It's been my pleasure playing even a small role in NABOS.