Now Accepting Applications to 2020-2021 Program

Stem at the Poles! PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) is currently accepting applications from both educators and researchers for educator research experiences. For 2020-2021, we will be accepting applications from both U.S. informal science educators as well as formal U.S. classroom teachers (teaching in grades 6-12). Teachers and informal educators are required to be working with middle and high school students and/or their teachers. Applications will be to participate in field research learning experiences during the 2020 (usually Arctic) or 2020-2021 (usually Antarctic) field seasons.

Below is information about submitting the EDUCATOR application. If you are a researcher interested in hosting an educator in the Polar Regions, please go to:

If you have troubles with the application, please contact us at info [at]

Good luck!

Please use the online webform to submit your EDUCATOR application. We suggest you download the Word document and just cut and paste into the webform. We do not accept the Word document ONLY the webform.

Download Application

Remember that if you submitted an application, it will take several months to review and select the finalists. We will email all applicants about the status of their application in December 2019.

Application Submission Deadline is Monday, 7 October 2019 - 5:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time

IMPORTANT! The webform DOES NOT save answers. Do not close the form or browse away from the form to another website while you are filling it out since it will not save your information.

For 2020-2021, we are accepting applications from both U.S. informal science educators as well as formal U.S. classroom teachers (teaching in grades 6-12). Informal educators should have the primary focus on outreach to middle and high school students and/or professional development for their teachers. Applications will be to participate in field research learning experiences during the 2020 (usually Arctic) or 2020-2021 (usually Antarctic) field seasons.

Note: We will not be accepting applications from PolarTREC teacher alumni.

All applicants will be kept informed of funding status.

Before you start the application, please review the following PolarTREC program documentation and the section on Important Program Updates below:

Informational Webinar:
An informational webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, 11 September 2019 at 1 PM AKDT (11 AM HST, 2 PM PDT, 3 PM MDT, 4 PM CDT, 5 PM EDT).

You can register for the webinar here.

If you miss the webinar, we will post an archive online soon after the event. Anyone who has registered for the event in advance will receive instructions on how to view the archive. You can also download a PDF of the presentation at the same location.

Application Tips:

  • Submit your online application BEFORE the deadline. The web form will close at the designated time. If you aren’t sure about the time zone, you can verify on through the World Clock website

  • ARCUS will keep applicants informed throughout the selection process via the email address you provide. Please take appropriate measures to ensure we have up to date contact information and that emails from info [at], judy [at], and warburton [at] are coming to your inbox, and not filtered to spam or trash.

  • If you cannot access or have trouble with the online application, please contact info [at] for further instructions.

  • Click on the section headings of the application to expand or collapse the section content.

  • Use your mouse or the 'Tab' button to move between each field.

  • Additional information or documentation will not be accepted.

  • Answer all the questions and check your grammar and spelling BEFORE submitting.

  • Many of the questions below are longer essay questions. You may wish to download the questions contained in the Microsoft Word document below, fill out your responses and then copy and paste them into the web form.

  • If you are applying to work exclusively with a researcher you already know, please read this additional information and jointly complete the Supplementary Questions for Preexisting Educator – Researcher Teams.

  • If you are an informal science educator applying to the program, address the questions as best you can, referring to the most appropriate and relevant audience you work with, and provide examples as needed.

1. Contact Information
Home Address
Institution Address
2. Demographic Information


a. The following question is for the purpose of gathering information on applicants to the PolarTREC program and their primary education audience (i.e., students, docents, museum visitors) to measure our program’s impacts. Submission of this information is voluntary and is not a requirement for acceptance to the program. If you are an informal educator, please give all applicable descriptions about the audience(s) you work with.

Race/Ethnicity Definitions

American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North or South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

Hispanic or Latino: A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin.

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North America.

f. School Ethnicity. Please enter the approximate percentage (%) of students under each category. Please type only whole numbers and no % symbols; the sum of all percentages should equal 100%.

3. Applicant Experience and Education
a. What type of university degree or other academic experience or qualifications do you have?
4. Professional Assignment
a. What is your primary education assignment? Check all that apply
b. What subjects do you teach? Check all that apply
5. Motivation for Participation
6. Communicating the Experience and Science
a. A large component of the PolarTREC experience involves communicating daily events from the field via an online journal (aka blogging) and the researchers rely on the educator to convey their science. Please submit a sample journal describing the most important or interesting day you had last week.
7. Scientific Interests and Research Area Preference
a. Where would you prefer to go on an expedition?

The Arctic field season is usually, but not always, between April and August and the Antarctic field season is usually between September and February. Please make sure to select 'either' if you would like to be considered for BOTH the Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. Your selection DOES MATTER and will be used to determine research expedition matches. 

Most PolarTREC expeditions are at least three weeks and are usually no more than six weeks long. For teachers, substitute reimbursement is provided while you are away from the classroom. Please discuss your participation in the program and time away from the classroom (or work) with your administration. If you are an informal educator, discuss participation and time away with your supervisor. We are unable to offer stipends or reimburse salaries.

d. Rank your interest (personally and academically) in participating in the research areas listed below.

PolarTREC expeditions will focus on a variety of research areas. Different researchers apply each year, so we will not know the types of research projects until we are well into the matching process. Due to the nature of polar science, many research projects are often complex and cover numerous scientific disciplines. Your selections are used in part of the matching process, so please limit your top choice (I would really enjoy an expedition in this subject area) to 3 scientific discipline interest areas.

Note: Naming a specific researcher is not required. Researchers and educators interested in working exclusively with one another will be asked to complete a set of supplementary questions and will both be subject to the full PolarTREC Selection Process.
8. Background Information and Skills
Finalists will be asked more detailed questions about their health and ability to participate on a specific expedition by the researchers during interviews. All expeditions to Antarctica require passing an extensive medical and dental exam to be deemed "Physically Qualified" before you are allowed to travel. In some instances, this may also be required for participants on Arctic expeditions. Medical services may be limited in remote field sites.
9. Previous Applications & Participation
a. Have you previously participated in a teacher research experience (e.g. NOAA Teacher at Sea, Earth Watch)? We do not accept applications from PolarTREC alumni.
If yes, please list the year, location, and program name below.
10. Orientation Availability
Note: Applicants accepted to the PolarTREC program are required to participate in the one-week training orientation tentatively scheduled for March 15-20, 2020. Substitute costs, per diem, travel, and lodging will be provided for successful applicants. We cannot provide stipends or salary compensation.
11. How did you hear about PolarTREC?
a. Please tell us how you heard about the PolarTREC program. Fill in any that apply:
12. References
Please provide the names, titles, email addresses, and phone numbers of three professional references. Do not send letters of recommendation. The selection committee will contact references as needed.
Please review your application carefully to make sure that you have answered all questions before you press the submit button. You should receive a confirmation email shortly after submission. If you do not see an email, first check your spam or junk folders. If you do not recieve confirmation e-mail for confirmation.
13. Acknowledgement of Program Requirements

The information contained in this application is true and correct to the best of my knowledge. I have read the PolarTREC Program Requirements, and if I am selected to participate I will be responsible for these requirements to the best of my ability.