CLASSROOM AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD
2024 Trip Details
Once every two years, a group of Radford University students and a handful of high school students from the Southwest Virginia Governor's School brave bone-rattling temperatures and shivery Arctic winds at Utqiagvik, Alaska, all in the name of science. Application for 2022 coming soon!
Utqiagvik, Alaska, is the northernmost city in the United States. Located 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the town sees average high temperatures in March of -6 degrees Fahrenheit. No roads connect Barrow to the rest of Alaska. Visitors must fly in or arrive by boat in the summer.
A recap of the 2020 research trip to Alaska!
The Student Experience
Imagine spending up to two weeks in the northernmost town in the United States, where wind-chilled temperatures can reach -50 degrees Fahrenheit, aurora borealis dance across the sky and “bunny boots” are the most popular and fashionable footwear choice.
Dr. Rhett Herman, professor of physics and adjunct professor of geology, offers Radford University students and two Governor’s School students the incredible opportunity to conduct research in Utqiagvik, Alaska.
While navigating sea ice and polar bear territory, the group will test contraptions the students develop and build for research that contributes to the methodology of studying the thermal balance of our planet.
A Cool Head in the Arctic
The preparation, months in the making, all leads to one trip, 4,619 miles from Radford University, more than 300 miles above the Arctic Circle, to the farthest northern point of the United States, in Utqiaġvik, (formerly known as Barrow) Alaska. The March 2020 trip marked Dr. Herman’s 14th year leading a group of students to the tundra for research.
Experiences like these make Radford University a leader in innovative research, giving students opportunities they never imagined possible. In those opportunities, students find guidance from professors that prepare them to grow both professionally and personally — equipping them with the necessary tools for future challenges and successes. Read more about the 2020 Alaska trip in the Magazine of Radford University, fall 2020 edition.