Exploring Extreme Places

Central Arctic aboard the research vessel Fedorov
76.250577800000, -100.113952000000
Journal Entry:

For me, the pull towards adventure and exploration is a very personal drive I have always felt. My family delights in retelling the story of how when I first saw the ocean as a baby, I tottered into the waves and didn’t stop. My mom had to swoop me up before I waded in over my head! Since childhood, I was captivated by the idea of becoming an astronaut. I loved looking at the stars and begged my Dad to tell me about black holes before bed. I couldn’t think of a bigger adventure than getting to experience zero gravity, and perhaps, walk on the moon!

Then I got to college and I started to take marine science classes. I loved learning about the ocean and all of the strange creatures that live in the murky depths. When I was 22, I journeyed to Arctic Alaska to study marine science as a Research Assistant. The unfamiliar environment was almost otherworldly–dark cold water with car- to house-sized chunks of sea ice casually floating by. Sometimes, if we were lucky, we were treated to glimpses of walrus, whales, and polar bears. The science was very compelling–a race to understand the Arctic environment before it is permanently altered by climate warming.