Applying to the Ecologic Institute’s Arctic Summer College

Applying to the Ecologic Institute’s Arctic Summer College

logo_arctic_summer_college_white_backThis summer, transdisciplinary research organisation The Ecologic Institute will hold its 3rd annual Arctic Summer College, and I plan on attending.

To apply, I wrote two essays speaking to my interests in the program, as well as issues facing the region. Here’s what I had to say:

Arctic Summer College Application Essays – Summer, 2014

1. Please describe your personal interest in the Arctic Summer College, its relevance for your career, how you intend to contribute, and how you intend to use the knowledge/network acquired through the course.

Participating in the Arctic Summer College curriculum this summer will act as integral educational opportunity and building block of my aspirational career working within the Arctic field support and stewardship industry. I strive to support the efforts of conservators, advocates, and scientists in promoting sustainability and cooperation in the Arctic region.

Previously, I worked with the United States Antarctic Program at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. While on the station, although my primary position was as a cook, I took every opportunity I could to get involved with the various science, research, and conservation groups on station. I was lucky enough to be able to contribute my time to a number of science teams, as well as work as the station’s Tour Guide. As a field science assistant, I participated first hand in building and maintaining complete science and industrial equipment, and realized the extensive amount of energy and skill is required to maintain efficiency, effective operations at the poles. As tour guide, I conveyed to international tourists, adventurers, and community leaders my enthusiasm for the work being done, and the ecological and social imperative to properly protect the unique and valuable antarctic environment.

I look forward to furthering my polar studies, and supporting sustainability and responsibility in the arctic. I intend on using my knowledge and network acquired through the course to identify productive and responsible roles for both myself as well as other emerging professionals in the arctic. Additionally, I plan on discussing my experiences both with Arctic Summer College, as well as my further experiences in the arctic on my personal website as well as other relevant publications, to further support our goal and message of sustainability and cooperation in the arctic region.

2. What steps do you think are most critical to sustainable development, environmental protection, and/or international cooperation in the Arctic? Please describe an innovative yet practical development in your field that can positively impact the policy landscape.

More than anything, I feel that broad spectrum, international transparency and communication is critical for ensuring efficient and effective management of the arctic region. With so many international interests, and unique cultural, sociological, scientific, and ecological assets in this unique environment, it will take a truly international cooperative effort to maintain sustainable development and environmental protection well into the future.

In addition to robust communications, I believe that a progressive long-term arctic management plan will be critical for maintaining focus on the primary goals, and ensuring long-term execution of both strategic vision and continued multinational cooperation.

In my field of work, an innovative, practical, and effective development has been the constantly increasing use of digital media and communications to reach out to students, scientists, supporters, and the public to build widespread support and awareness. In my own personal work, I’ve been able to connect with more than 600 people per day through my website, exposing my readers to the human details of life in the polar regions, and the harsh realities faced in these remote, fragile environments. I’ve witnessed firsthand the positive impact my content has made on people, and I know a number of my readers who have been inspired by my experiences enough to get directly involved in support and stewardship groups themselves. For me, the best is receiving enthusiastic letters from readers, and being able to guide them in the direction to support ongoing and future conservation and support efforts at the poles.

As a prime example, recently I worked[1] with the BICEP2 CMB Telescope team at the South Pole. The research I assisted proved to generate groundbreaking data when the team announced[2] their papers[3] [4] earlier this year. Thanks to a well-developed digital media strategy and robust network of supporters, the team’s announcement of their extraordinary data made international headlines, and connected with people well beyond the typical scope of the project. This kind of widespread coverage is essential for maintaining and supporting projects like this, and their success underscores the role of these unique environments in critical basic, and applied research.

I look forward to continuing to learn about the issues facing the arctic region, and connecting with the community at large through arctic summer college to build mutual support for the group’s diverse scope of projects and responsibilities.

 [1] Donenfeld, J. (2014, March 17). First Results From The BICEP2 CMB Telescope Announced re: Gravitational Waves in the Cosmic Microwave Background. Jeffrey Donenfeld. Retrieved May 7, 2014, from
 [2] Claven, W. (2014, March 17). NASA Technology Views Birth of the Universe. . Retrieved May 7, 2014, from
 [3] Available at: Accessed May 7, 2014.
 [4] Available at: Accessed May 7, 2014.

Scientific Research in the Arctic
The first session of the 2013 Arctic Summer College took place on July 8, 2013, looking at Scientific Research in the Arctic. Dr. David J. Scott, Executive Director of the Canadian Polar Commission (CPC), joined Arctic Summer College Fellows as an expert speaker. Dr. Scott provided a concise overview of the work, objectives, and priorities of the CPC, discussing measures for translating knowledge into action to benefit people of the North and coordination with Canadian and international partners. (click for complete presentation PDF)

More on the course:

The Arctic region is a unique place at a unique moment in time and decision-makers have the opportunity to set a new course for expanding natural resource development and establish a model of sustainability for the global community while respecting the rights of indigenous peoples. In recognition of this tremendous window of opportunity, the Arctic Summer College brings together emerging leaders and experts to consider options for promoting sustainability and cooperation in the Arctic region.

The Arctic Summer College creates a network of emerging leaders and experts that will be brought together for 10 weeks in a series of web-based seminars (webinars) Mondays from 18:00-20:00 Central European Time from June 23 to August 25, 2014. The program aims to build a lasting, policy-oriented network of Arctic professionals to strengthen communication between peoples and nations, scientific disciplines, policy areas, and across the science-policy interface to improve governance and sustainable development in the Arctic.

Participation in the Arctic Summer College is open to applicants with ideally 2-10 years of experience in a related field, and a desire to share perspectives and seek professional collaboration with a network of peers. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through May 30, 2014. Applicants will be informed about the outcome of the selection process by June 6, 2014.