2017-2018 PolarTREC Teacher Application

The application period for teachers is now open.

Please use the online webform to submit your 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 2016.

Application Submission Deadline is Monday, 10 October 2016 - 5:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time

IMPORTANT! The web form 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.

Thank you for your interest in participating in PolarTREC! The information you provide in your application will be used to select teachers and match them to PolarTREC expeditions during the 2017 (usually Arctic) or 2017-2018 (usually Antarctic) field seasons. Submitting an application does not guarantee placement in a PolarTREC Teacher Research Experience. Teachers and researchers will be selected and matched to fill the approximately 12 openings available. We generally receive over 200 applications annually, so please recognize that the selection process is very competitive and it takes time to complete a competitive application.

Before you start the application, please review the following PolarTREC program documentation:

Informational Webinar:
An informational webinar (web seminar), will be held Monday, 19 September 2016 at 2:30PM Alaska Daylight Time. Teachers and researchers interested in learning more about participating in PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) are encouraged to register for the event. If you are unable to attend, you can view the event archive.

The informational webinar provides an overview of the PolarTREC program, its goals and objectives, program components, the application process, and will address frequently asked questions. An archive of the video will be available. Feel free to watch the archive video, view the pdf, or listen to audio. Any specific questions submitted by teachers and researchers were addressed at the end of the presentation.

Application Tips:

IMPORTANT: 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] polartrec.com, judy [at] arcus.org, and warburton [at] arcus.org 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] polartrec.com 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 Teacher – Researcher Teams.


  • Only applications from educators working with U.S. grades 6-12 (middle school and high school) will be accepted for 2017-2018. We no longer accept applications from K-5th grade, informal educators, or community college educators.
  • Applications from PolarTREC alumni will not be accepted for 2017-2018. If you are working with a researcher and need support, please contact us directly.
  • We strongly encourage educators that have never had a Teacher Research Experience (TRE) to apply to the program.
  • Final selection and program implementation is contingent on funding approval for 2017-18 field season. All applicants will be kept informed of funding status.

  • If you would like an email reminder the week before the application period ends, and to be notified of other events and activities related to polar science education, please subscribe to the Polar Education List.

Download the PolarTREC Teacher Application in Microsoft Word Format

Download Application

If you have any questions, contact ARCUS at info [at] polartrec.com or call 907-474-1600.

1. Contact Information

* Denotes required field.

Note: School email addresses often have strict spam filters, which often block our emails. You may want to use a home or private e-mail address that you check frequently.
Home Address
School Address
(e.g. classroom, personal)
2. Demographic Information

a. The following question is for the purpose of gathering information on applicants to the PolarTREC program to measure PolarTREC’s broader impacts. Submission of this information is voluntary and is not a requirement for acceptance to the program.

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.

Check all that apply.
(e.g. rural/urban, technology access, economics)

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%.

j. If known, what are the approximate start and end dates of your school year? Include major vacation periods. i.e. Christmas break, summer break, etc.

3. Teaching Experience and Education

a. What type of university degree or other academic experience or qualifications do you have?

4. Teaching Assignment
Select all that apply.
Select all that apply.
5. Motivation
(200 words maximum)
(200 words maximum)
(200 words maximum)
(200 words maximum)
(200 words maximum)
(200 words maximum)
6. Journaling

a. A large component of a PolarTREC teacher’s experience involves communicating daily events from the field via an online journal. Please submit a sample journal describing the most important or interesting day you had last week.

(200 words maximum)
7. Scientific Interests and Research Area Preference

Important: 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. Although substitute reimbursement is provided while you are away from the classroom, please make sure to discuss your participation in the program and time away from the classroom with your administration before applying.

(100 words maximum)
(200 words maximum)

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.

For example atmospheric sciences, gas interchanges, aerosols, weather, climate, etc.
For example glaciers, sea ice, ice sheets, hydrology, permafrost, etc.
For example archaeology, anthropology, human adaptation, cultures, etc.
For example physical and biological oceanography, bathymetry, ocean currents, sediments, marine wildlife, etc.
For example tundra and plant ecology, trees and shrubs, terrestrial wildlife, permafrost, hydrology, etc.
For example animal and plant interactions and baseline research
For example auroras, astrobiology, cosmology, etc.
For example engineering, development, remote sensing, etc.
(200 words maximum) Note: Naming a specific researcher is not required. Researchers and teachers 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
For example camping, hiking, boating, wilderness first aid, firearms training, etc.
Finalists will be asked more detailed questions about their health and ability to participate on a specific expedition by the researchers during interviews. Medical services may be limited in remote field sites and some expeditions may require a medical exam.
For example digital cameras, internet browsers, Excel, PowerPoint, photo or movie software, etc.
For example languages, proficiency with specific tools, etc.
9. Previous Applications & Participation

a. Have you previously participated in a teacher research experience with PolarTREC, TREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating), TEA (Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic), NOAA Teacher at Sea, ARMADA or another program? Note: As of 2017, we do not accept applications from PolarTREC alumni.

If yes, please list the year, location, and program name below.

10. Training and Orientation

Note: Teachers accepted to the PolarTREC program are expected to participate in a one week orientation and training meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska, tentatively scheduled for February 2017. Substitute teacher costs, per diem, travel, and lodging will be provided for accepted applicants.

11. How did you hear about PolarTREC?

a. Please tell us how you heard about the PolarTREC program. Fill in any that apply:

Join the Polar Education Email list for more updates on programs and resources throughout the year. (http://www.polartrec.com/education-list)
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 info@polartrec.com 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 for Teachers, and if I am selected to participate I will be responsible for these requirements to the best of my ability.