Experiential and international polar science education for U.S. students in Greenland (JSEP) and Antarctica (JASE)

PI Institute/Department Email
Culler, Lauren Elizabeth
Dartmouth College, Institute of Arctic Studies
Funding Agency
Program Manager Funding Agency Email
Rom, Elizabeth
NSF, Office of Polar Programs
Education and Outreach
Science Summary

The Arctic and Antarctic are undergoing rapid changes in their marine, glacial, ecological, atmospheric, and social systems. Addressing the societally relevant consequences of this change, which are local and global in scope, requires a more diverse and integrative U.S. polar STEM community with leaders prepared for international and cross-cultural collaborations. Dartmouth will lead the U.S. component of two international efforts to develop inclusive polar STEM learning opportunities for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students that will help build capacity for U.S. leadership in the polar regions. The Joint Science Education Project (JSEP) includes a close collaboration with international and Indigenous partners in Greenland and Denmark, and the Joint Antarctic School Expedition (JASE) includes a partnership with Chile. The field-based JSEP program will immerse U.S. students in experiential learning in Kangerlussuaq and Summit Station, Greenland. JSEP will include a remote short course for U.S. high school students to learn about the Arctic through data-focused activities. The JASE program includes a partnership with the Chilean Antarctic Institute to co-lead a virtual symposium for students to share Arctic and Antarctic research. Applications for both programs will be encouraged from students across the U.S. and recruitment will focus on reaching students who have limited access to STEM experiences and who come from groups historically excluded from STEM fields.

The JSEP and JASE experiences will be developed around a unique intergenerational mentor-mentee model that gives U.S. high school students access to undergraduate and graduate students as near-peer mentors and opportunities for the student mentors to develop their communication and outreach skills. The effort includes an evaluation and dissemination of the inclusive models for U.S. polar STEM education and research programs that prioritize diversity, collaboration, communication, outreach, cultural sharing, and building sustained relationships with Arctic and Antarctic partners. This includes implementing new approaches for recruiting and supporting students whose opportunities for polar STEM have been limited by factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, and socio-economic and ability status. Results will inform future efforts to successfully provide education and research experiences to U.S. students interested in polar science and engineering. This project will expand an international and diverse network of students, educators, and scientists with skills for polar research, outreach, and STEM careers. JSEP and JASE will involve at least 100 U.S. high school students and up to 20 undergraduate or graduate students with a goal that many of these students come from groups historically excluded from STEM fields. Students, educators, and scientists involved with this project will gain exposure to field-based polar research and improve their skills for: science communication; cross-cultural and international collaborations; framing scholarship to meet the needs of Arctic communities; and recognizing and respecting Indigenous knowledge. The undergraduate and graduate students will receive hands-on training in interdisciplinary research and outreach, which will prepare them as STEM leaders with skills for broadening impacts of their future scholarship. The project also provides significant opportunity for science diplomacy and to strengthen relationships by engaging our Arctic and Antarctic partners in all aspects of project planning, implementation, assessment, and reporting. Assessments will allow evaluation of how the following pedagogical elements impact outcomes for U.S. students (high school, undergraduate, and graduate): field-based versus virtual, hands-on activities, interdisciplinary curriculum, Indigenous perspectives, intergenerational mentor-mentee relationships, and a multicultural setting. Results will inform future efforts to successfully provide education and research experiences to U.S. students interested in polar science and engineering.

Logistics Summary

This grant continues support that began under NSF grants 1506155 and 1748137 for the Joint Science Education Project (JSEP) program in Greenland. The Joint Committee, a high-level forum involving the Greenlandic, Danish and U.S. governments, initiated JSEP in 2007 to educate an international community of high school students and teachers from each of the three nations about the causes and consequences of rapid environmental change. The goals of JSEP include inspiring the next generation of polar scientists, building strong networks of students and teachers among the three countries, and providing an opportunity to practice language and communication skills by taking students from the three nations to Greenland to observe polar science in action. From 2023 to 2026 Dartmouth JSEP team participants will visit Greenland each summer to engage in the Kangerlussuaq Science Field School and lead Science and Education week at Summit Station.

Each summer, a team of ~30 students, educators, and scientists from the U.S., Denmark, and Greenland will come together for a 3-week field course in Kangerlussuaq and Summit Station, Greenland. The entire team will spend approximately three weeks in Kangerlussuaq conducting activities as part of the Kangerlussuaq Science Field School, in conjunction with support from the Government of Greenland. Team members will also fly via the Air National Guard to Summit Station where they will spend two nights.

Battelle ARO will provide Air National Guard (ANG) flights, field gear (including emergency cold weather (ECW) for Summit Station), truck rentals, communications and safety gear, and lodging for participants in Kangerlussuaq. New York travel, lodging, and per diem will be provided for up to six non-Dartmouth US participants. All other logistics and support will be organized and paid through the grant.

Season Field Site Date In Date Out #People
Greenland - Summit
Greenland - Summit
Greenland - Summit
Greenland - Summit