IGERT Lands in Greenland for Polar Studies

Students in Dartmouth's IGERT program in polar environmental change have started heading to Greenland to begin field work that will take them to the Kangerlussuaq International Science Support research station, Summit Station high on the Greenland ice sheet, and the bustling capital of Nuuk.

IGERT on the Greenland Ice Sheet

Ecology students Lauren Culler and Julia Bradley-Cook have already begun their work in Kangerlussuaq, which they are documenting with a highly entertaining and informative Dartmouth IGERT blog.

On July 20, four more IGERT graduate students -- Simone Whitecloud in ecology; Laura Levy and Gifford Wong in earth sciences; and Kaitlin Keegan in engineering -- will head to Kangerlussuaq, followed shortly by engineering graduate student Chris Polashenski, who is currently on an ice breaker in remote Alaska. Most students fly to Greenland on a C-130 cargo plane that leaves from the Air National Guard Base in Schenectady, New York. Accommodations on a cargo plane are chilly, noisy, and tight. Twenty boxes of equipment and expedition food have been shipped ahead and are waiting for them in Kangerlussuaq, but students and faculty will be lugging computers, personal belongings, and last minute equipment needs, like ice coring equipment that will have just arrived back from Peru, when they depart.

Professor of environmental studies Ross Virginia will lead the group in research, study, and public outreach activities in Greenland. Virginia is PI for the Dartmouth IGERT and Director of the Dickey Center Institute of Arctic Studies. Other faculty members accompanying the group are Mary Albert, an engineering professor at Thayer and Director of the Ice Drilling Program; Matt Ayres, professor of biology; Meredith Kelly, assistant professor of earth sciences; and Lenore Grenoble, a research associate at the Institute of Arctic Studies and a professor of linguistics at University of Chicago.

The Dartmouth IGERT (Integrative Graduation Education and Research Traineeship) in Polar Environmental Change is a highly competitive training program funded by the National Science Foundation. The NSF IGERT supports the development of an interdisciplinary PhD program in polar sciences. Students complete a core curriculum that integrates the requirements of a participating graduate program (Earth Sciences, Engineering Sciences, or Biological Sciences) into an interdisciplinary framework for studying polar changes. The curriculum includes seminars in polar science and policy, and fieldwork in Greenland.