Sian Proctor

Sian Proctor is a geology professor at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. Throughout her adult life she has pushed herself to take on new challenges and to learn new things that she can bring back to her students. She has a BS in environmental science, MS in geology, and a PhD in science education. Both her master's and doctoral research involved the use of technology to understand how individuals learn. She is continually developing new ways to engage her students and to present scientific information. She has a strong curriculum development background, teaches both hybrid and online classes, and has traveled and taught around the world. She was a finalist for the 2009 NASA Astronaut Program, was on the Discovery Channel reality TV show called The Colony, and was the Education Outreach Officer on the 4-month NASA funded Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation 2013 Mission ( Sian's experiences on The Colony and the HI-SEAS mission have taught her how to live in unique environments. She believes in life-long learning and tries to encourage this philosophy with her students. She loves traveling, playing sports, photography, and cooking.

South Mountain Community College

Phoenix, AZ
United States

Why I Applied

I have wanted to explore the polar regions my whole life, I just haven’t had the opportunity. It is rare to find professional growth opportunities for community college teachers, especially involving hands-on field research. I teach my students about explorers such as Alfred Wegner and his experiences studying climate in Greenland and I just wonder what it would be like to traverse a landscape so different from the one that surrounds me. I also love to bring new experiences into my classroom and teaching. I believe it is important to motivate my students and to lead by example. I hope to gain current fieldwork experience, to learn about cutting edge research, and to get a better understanding of polar conditions and the environment. I can’t imagine a more opposite climate and environment for my students to be able to study and I want to bring this world to them.


As a community college teacher that works in a primarily virtual environment, Sian has married her PolarTREC experience to meet the nationally recognized Ocean Literacy Principles in an online course model.