Research Opportunities in the Arctic for Minorities
Now Archived! PolarConnect event with Ruthie Rodriguez and Vanessa Lougheed from Utqiaġvik, Alaska on Tuesday, 8 August 2017. You can access this and other events on the PolarConnect Archives site.
What Are They Doing?
Using legacy and modern data for the Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska area, together with field experiences and lab-based manipulations, the ROAM2 program will orchestrate authentic, collaborative research experiences, where undergraduate students from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) will develop research questions, collect, analyze, and synthesize data, and communicate results in scientifically valid venues on topics in Arctic ecosystem ecology. These experiments will be completed using tundra soil monoliths and cores that we have brought back from Utqiaġvik, Alaska. PolarTREC teacher Ruth Rodriguez will implement a similar student project in her classroom.
UTEP is one of the nation’s leading Hispanic Serving Institutions and is situated in a region where 80% of the population is Hispanic. This program aims to make a significant impact on the polar student demographic by not only offering direct training, but also familiarizing them with national challenges in minority education and advancement.
Where Are They?
The team will fly commercial airline to Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska. While in Utqiaġvik, they will travel around by truck, ATV, boat, and moderate hiking.
Meet the Team
Ruth Rodriguez teaches Anatomy & Physiology and Biology for five years at the Clint ISD Early College Academy. She sponsors the Environmental Club, the Class of 2017, Science Bowl, and is the Science Fair Coordinator. In the evening, she is an adjunct faculty at the El Paso Community College. Mrs. Rodriguez is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso where she received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology. As a graduate student, in 2007 she was involved in the International Polar Year-Research Opportunities in Antarctica for Minorities. The program took students and teachers to the Antarctic Peninsula. As part of the aquatic team, she aided in the investigation of offshore nutrients. She is excited to be conducting research in the Arctic and fulfilling the opportunity to have visited and worked in both poles.
Dr. Vanessa Lougheed is an aquatic ecosystem ecologist at The University of Texas at El Paso. She is an aquatic ecosystem ecologist interested in nutrient cycling (N, P, C); bioindicator development using plants, invertebrates and algae; and the use of remote sensing in monitoring ecosystem change. She is also interested in the role of hands-on research opportunities as transformative educational experiences. Her research focuses on wetland and coastal environments of the Arctic, as well as ephemeral waters of the Chihuahuan Desert.