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Keywords:

  • education;
  • Arctic;
  • climate change

As environmental change accelerates in the Arctic, the international scientific community is struggling to keep up with research efforts. To help with this, an innovative project aims to create a new cohort of Arctic researchers by uniting U.S. and Russian undergraduate students and early-career scientists through the Polaris Project, a focused effort to investigate the impacts of climate change in the Siberian Arctic.

Funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation as part of the International Polar Year (IPY), the Polaris Project (http://www.thepolarisproject.org) began in January 2008 with Arctic-focused undergraduate courses at seven participating institutions across the United States (Carleton College; Clark University; College of the Holy Cross; St. Olaf College; University of Nevada, Reno; and Western Washington University) and Russia (Yakutsk State University in Siberia). The students enrolled in these on-campus courses were then eligible to apply for a summer field program in Siberia, the first of which was launched in July 2008 as a group of students and faculty traveled from the United States to Moscow, then to Yakutsk, and finally to Cherskiy in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Siberia (Figures 1 and 2a).