Research Opportunities in the Arctic for Minorities

What Are They Doing?

Photo by Cristina SolisGrassy tundra in Barrow, Alaska. Photo by Cristina Solis. Using legacy and modern data for the Barrow, Alaska area, together with field experiences and lab-based manipulations, the ROAM2 program will orchestrate authentic, collaborative research experiences, where undergraduate students from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) will develop research questions, collect, analyze, and synthesize data, and communicate results in scientifically valid venues on topics in Arctic ecosystem ecology. These experiments will be completed using tundra soil monoliths and cores that we have brought back from Barrow, Alaska. PolarTREC teacher Ruth Rodriguez will implement a similar student project in her classroom.

UTEP is one of the nation’s leading Hispanic Serving Institutions and is situated in a region where 80% of the population is Hispanic. This program aims to make a significant impact on the polar student demographic by not only offering direct training, but also familiarizing them with national challenges in minority education and advancement.

Where Are They?

Photo by John WoodAn aerial view of Barrow, Alaska. Photo by John Wood. The team will fly commercial airline to Barrow, Alaska. While in Barrow, they will travel around by truck, ATV, boat, and moderate hiking.

Expedition Map


Being selected as a participant in PolarTrec is a very unique opportunity. It is not my first polar experience though. In 2007, I was selected as a researcher in the IPY-ROAM (International Polar Year-Research opportunities in Antarctica for Minorities) I was one of 26 students that was selected to conduct research along the Antarctic Peninsula. As part of the program, a teacher was embedded in each of the research teams. Almost 10 years later, I am selected to be a teacher-embedded in research team in Barrow, Alaska as part of the IPY-ROAM 2. How awesome! Getting off the plane in Fairbanks...

Project Information

20 July 2017 to 10 August 2017
Location: Barrow, Alaska
Project Funded Title: Research Opportunities in the Arctic for Minorities (ROAM2): Elucidating drivers of Arctic ecosystem responses to global change

Meet the Team

Ruth Rodriguez's picture
Clint ISD Early College Academy
Clint, TX
United States

Ruth Rodriguez teaches Anatomy & Physiology and Biology for five years at the Clint ISD Early College Academy. She sponsors the Environmental Club, the Class of 2017, Science Bowl, and is the Science Fair Coordinator. In the evening, she is an adjunct faculty at the El Paso Community College. Mrs. Rodriguez is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso where she received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology. As a graduate student, in 2007 she was involved in the International Polar Year-Research Opportunities in Antarctica for Minorities. The program took students and teachers to the Antarctic Peninsula. As part of the aquatic team, she aided in the investigation of offshore nutrients. She is excited to be conducting research in the Arctic and fulfilling the opportunity to have visited and worked in both poles.

Vanessa Lougheed's picture
University of Texas at El Paso
El Paso, TX
United States

Dr. Vanessa Lougheed is an aquatic ecosystem ecologist at The University of Texas at El Paso. She is an aquatic ecosystem ecologist interested in nutrient cycling (N, P, C); bioindicator development using plants, invertebrates and algae; and the use of remote sensing in monitoring ecosystem change. She is also interested in the role of hands-on research opportunities as transformative educational experiences. Her research focuses on wetland and coastal environments of the Arctic, as well as ephemeral waters of the Chihuahuan Desert.

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Latest Comments

It was great getting to know you. I can't wait to hear about your expedition! Best, Lee
and the winner of kahoot is....Ruth Rodriguez! (: Great getting to know you and hearing about your project in Barrow. You seem pretty set, but if there's anything I can help you with just let me...
Welcome to the PolarTREC 2017 Orientation, Ruth! Also coming from a warmer climate I totally identify with your experience. And the mountains are incredibly beautiful, as you say. Take care, Ruth...