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NSF Chooses U.S. Students to Participate in Joint Science Education Program in Greenland


Science-education and cultural-exchange program involves students with their peers from Denmark and Greenland

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected five high-school students from as many states nationwide to deploy to the Arctic this summer as part of a science-education and cultural-exchange program with their peers from Denmark and Greenland.

The students will participate in a three-week field experience in Greenland as part of the multinational Joint Science Education Project (JSEP). The U.S. students were selected in a competitive process that drew 375 applications from across the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii as well as Department of Defense schools abroad.

The 2013 U.S. JSEP participants are:

• Samuel Blair, an 11th-grader at The Hotchkiss School in Great Barrington, Mass.;
• Chloe Fouilloux, an 11th-grader at Highland Park Senior High School in Minneapolis, Minn.;
• Samantha Montoya, a 10th-grader at Albuquerque Academy in Albuquerque, NM;
• Ronin Ruerup, a 10th-grader at Effie Kokrine Early College Charter School in Fairbanks, Alaska; and
• Grace Wischmeyer, an 11th-grader at West Leyden High School in Franklin Park, Ill.

JSEP reflects NSF’s emphasis on the interaction between research and education as well as the close relationship between the participating nations needed to conduct field science in the remote and often harsh climate of Greenland.

JSEP began as an offshoot of the International Polar Year (IPY), a global scientific deployment to the Arctic and Antarctic that involved researchers from more than 60 nations. It is now in its sixth season.

NSF’s Division of Polar Programs, which manages the U.S. participation in JSEP, has among its human-resources goals improving public understanding of the critical role of the polar regions in global processes, engaging the public in polar discovery and helping to foster the next generation of polar scientists. These were also IPY goals.

JSEP is designed not only to allow students to work cooperatively on science projects and to work with researchers in the field, but also for Danish and Greenlandic students to hone their English-language skills by interacting with one another.

JSEP also exposes Greenlandic students to the world-class scientific research to which their nation plays host, in the hope of encouraging them to follow careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The U.S. students will leave the United States in late June, flying for six hours aboard a New York Air National Guard LC-130 transport aircraft from Scotia, N.Y., to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, the hub for NSF-funded science in the country.

The first two weeks of the experience--run by the Greenlandic government--is called the Kangerlussuaq Science Field School. Students will conduct their own measurements and interact with scientific parties, many supported by NSF and other U.S. science agencies, which are conducting field research.

At the end of Field School, the students will make group presentations on the investigations they have been conducting into topics such as global warming, the melting ice sheet and arctic flora and fauna.

A smaller group of students from the three nations then will spend several days, during Science Education Week, visiting NSF’s Summit Station on the Greenland ice sheet, meeting with researchers there and observing long-term experiments related to snow- and ice-chemistry and atmospheric phenomena.

Kasper Busk and Lynn Foshee Reed, teachers from Denmark and the U.S., respectively, will work cooperatively during Field School. Reed will lead the Science Education Week.
A mathematics teacher at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School in Richmond, Va., Reed is an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow in the Division of Polar Programs.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, its budget was $7.0 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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