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2017 Arctic Internship Fellows

Austin Carter, BS Earth and Environmental Sciences; Honors; minor, Asian Pacific Islander American Studies; Sustainability Scholars Program ‘18
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Anchorage, Alaska

During the summer of 2016, I helped drill a 25+ meter firn core on the Wolverine Glacier in Alaska with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). These cores were drilled every month throughout the melt season and a few of these cores were sampled for isotope measurements. Drilling and measuring isotopic composition of wet firn on mountain glaciers at this depth and repetition has never been done before. This summer, with the support from the Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS), I returned to Alaska and spent one month working with the USGS in order to investigate how and why isotopes change within wet firn cores on sub-seasonal time scales. As a rising senior and future graduate, it is absolutely essential that I begin planning where my next journey in life will be. My passion for glaciology along with my future Bachelor of Science degree in Earth and Environmental Sciences will lead me to a career in research pertaining to glaciers. What that career will be, with whom it will be, and where it will be located are some of the questions that I’ve been asking myself lately. However, this internship pushed me one step closer to uncovering the answers to those questions. By experiencing office life working for a government agency such as the USGS, I gained valuable knowledge on what I like and dislike about this career opportunity. I broadened my computational skills by spending hours writing code on programming platforms like Matlab in order to analyze my data. I designed diagrams that are professional and detailed. My time in Alaska was transformative. I learned a great deal about myself as a young environmental science researcher.

Corey Dulin, BA International Studies ‘20
Labrador Institute

Labrador, Canada

This past summer, I had the opportunity to go to Happy Valley-Goose Bay in northern Canada and work with Dr. Sylvia Moore on the Community Vitality Index (CVI) The project has a survey component and uses community discussions to understand community wellness. Moore and the other researchers work on the project with the hope that over the years, this project will help show how community wellbeing changes and how increased resource development affects people’s perception of their community. The CVI began to monitor changes in the community in response to the Lower Churchill Falls Project, a hydroelectric project on Muskrat Falls. Residents of Happy Valley and other nearby communities are outraged with the construction, and understandably so. Before construction began, earlier studies were done and found that the hydroelectric project will increase the amount of methylmercury in fish, making the fish harmful to eat. No community wants to deal with problems like this, especially communities in which many people eat local fish and other country foods.  I will often look back on all of the experiences I had in Canada. 

Ryan Smith, BA International Studies ‘18
Labrador Friendship Centre
, Labrador Institute
Labrador, Canada

My experience working with the Aboriginal populations of Happy Valley-Goose Bay was absolutely incredible. The welcoming nature of the people and vast beauty of the landscape allowed for many new friends and opportunities for exploration, while the breadth of relevant social issues at play and the extensive amount of teachable moments facilitated a great deal of learning and furthering of my knowledge as an International Studies student. My work took place at an organization called the Labrador Friendship Centre, which seeks to aid Aboriginal peoples as they transition into urban life. I focused on several different projects throughout those couple months, the most notable of which was the improvement of the Friendship Centre’s food bank. The food bank serves hundreds of impoverished locals and is one of the largest in the entire province of Labrador, but had been neither altered nor assessed in the nearly 40 years of its existence. In order to accomplish my goal of improving the food bank, both in its ability to better serve its clients and in its cost-efficiency, I developed a survey and carried out interviews with a large sample size of clients. Aside from this work, I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with the other employees of the Friendship Centre. I hope to return to this area of the world soon, to both see my old friends and to continue learning about their amazing culture.