Science / project summary
Earth's polar regions are undergoing rapid changes that have relevance to the entire world. Scientists are working to understand the causes and consequences of this change and have a critical role in communicating their findings with diverse stakeholders. The pace of polar change demands continuous investment in training and educating the next generation of polar professionals who are prepared to be leaders in academia, government, industry, and policy. The Joint Science Education Project (JSEP) and the Joint Antarctic School Expedition (JASE) are two NSF-sponsored, polar-focused programs that provide significant opportunities for training the next generation of STEM professionals and for polar-science outreach. JSEP, a project of the Joint Committee, was initiated in 2007 to educate students and teachers from Greenland, Denmark, and the U.S. The program brings US students together with Danish and Greenlandic students in Greenland where the group spends three weeks studying the causes and consequences of Arctic environmental change. JASE, a project in collaboration with the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH), takes U.S. students to Antarctica to work alongside Chilean students and examine Antarctica's rapidly changing ecosystems. Dartmouth will organize a nation-wide application process to select high school student participants each year and will work with the international program coordinators to design student activities and learning experiences. In addition to coordinating each field-based program for U.S. high school students, Dartmouth will work to broaden the impact of these programs by sending a team of graduate student and faculty researchers with polar field experience to lead scientific components of JSEP and JASE, work with Greenlandic and Chilean educators to disseminate JSEP and JASE polar science outcomes to local audiences during the field-based expeditions, adapt JSEP and JASE polar science field activities for use in U.S. and international classrooms, provide training in cross-cultural science communication for diverse audiences to Dartmouth graduate students and the campus community, and assess skill- and content-based outcomes for high school and graduate student participants in JSEP and JASE. Societal benefits include building international networks of students, educators, stakeholders, future leaders, and polar scientists; diversifying the US polar scientific workforce, and generating polar science educational tools and modules that are freely accessible to students and teachers in multiple languages. This program addresses national priorities by developing a U.S. scientific workforce that is knowledgeable about the Arctic and the Antarctic, regions that are of growing importance to U.S. economic development and national security. The Joint Committee, a high-level government forum between the U.S., Greenlandic, and Danish governments, initiated JSEP during the International Polar Year in 2007. Since its inception, high school students and teachers from Greenland, Denmark, and the U.S. have traveled to Greenland to participate in two JSEP educational programs, Kangerlussuaq Science Field School and Science and Education Week. In 2013, the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH), invited the United States to participate in their Expedición Antártica Escolar (EAE), a program to promote awareness and appreciation of Antarctica in young Chileans. Both JSEP and JASE aim to 1) educate and inspire the next generation of polar scientists, 2) build strong networks of students, teachers and researchers among the participating countries, and 3) improve language and communication skills by taking teams of students to the polar regions to share in polar science activities. Dartmouth will conduct assessments of outcomes for the current high school students and graduate student polar fellows as well as surveys of alumni from previous U.S., Danish, Greenlandic, and Chilean participants.