Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

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Zach Gianotti '19

Zach Gianotti shares his Icefield Research Experience

This past summer I had the opportunity to live on an icefield along the border of Alaska and Canada; I was a student researcher with the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP). We spent our days skiing, learning how to do crevasse rescues, collecting data, and attending lectures in some of the most magnificent classrooms I have ever been in.

The JIRP program has been running for over 70 years, making it the longest-running study of its kind in the western hemisphere. This educational program is centered on the idea of field-based learning, teaching students glaciology from multiple perspectives: ecology, isotope geochemistry, biogeochemistry, geomatics, geophysics, and mass balance (flyer). 

My group presented a poster of our work at the American Geophysical Union (AGU)- the largest meeting of earth scientists in the world-  Fall Meeting in New Orleans. Our poster examined the chemistry of surface snow and its spatial variability along two glaciers. We had the opportunity to meet with experts in many different fields, recruiters from organizations like Google, ESRI, NASA, and the USGS, and potential advisers for graduate school. There were talks and workshops at all hours of the day ranging every topic imaginable. 

If anyone has any questions for me about this experience, feel free to contact me via email.


Our research team from JIRP at the AGU Fall Meeting in New Orleans (left to right: Kelcy Huston, Chelly John, and Zach Gianotti). 

student story

Professor Lucas Beem explaining the physics of the adjacent icefall to a group of students. The photo was taken by Ben Huff.