Joint Science Education Project (JSEP)

In this successful summer science and culture opportunity, students and teachers from the United States, Denmark, and Greenland come together to learn about the research conducted in Greenland and the logistics involved in supporting the research. They conduct experiments first-hand and participate in inquiry-based educational activities.

The JSEP format has evolved over the years into its current state, which consists of two field-based subprograms on-site in Greenland: the Greenland-led Kangerlussuaq Science Field School and the U.S.-led Science Education Week.

Program Dates and Descriptions

Kagerlussuaq Field School (2 weeks) and Science Education Week (1 week) run back-to-back starting in the end of June and ending in the middle of July 2015. More specific dates will be posted by the middle of November 2014.

Kangerlussuaq Science Field School: Students learn about and participate in polar science alongside researchers and teachers at field stations around Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. This area is a rural region with limited amenities. Participants live in dormitory style housing and share in cooking and cleaning responsibilities. This part of the JSEP Program is supported by the government of Denmark.

Busy street in Kangerlussuaq - dormitories, hotel, and restaurant  (photo credit: Bo Christensen)Busy street in Kangerlussuaq - dormitories, hotel, and restaurant (photo credit: Bo Christensen)

Science Education Week: Students will continue their Arctic science exploration by traveling to and experiencing science at the top of the Greenland ice sheet. This is a very remote site where all supplies including fuel are flown in by cargo planes; therefore, the entire community works together to conserve all of the resources. Living conditions are similar to a camping environment.

View from inside the tent (photo credit: Bo Christensen)View from inside the tent (photo credit: Bo Christensen)

To get a better idea of the entire program, please go to last year's website and read the journals. A short video of JSEP 2012 highlights may be viewed here.

If you have questions about the application or JSEP in general, please contact Erica Wallstrom, Albert Einstein Fellow, Division of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation: ewallstr [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-8051.

All travel, transportation, accommodations, and meals will be provided to the participants. Students must provide regular clothing, including a sturdy pair of hiking boots/shoes and rain gear. Extreme cold weather outerwear is supplied by the program during travel to Summit Station. Participants must have a current passport.

Students chosen for the U.S. team must be in 11th grade at the time of application submittal and subsequent selection process, and they must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

The application for JSEP 2015 will be open from November 15, 2014 through January 9, 2015.

A panel of distinguished STEM educators and scientists will review all the applications and select five (5) students to represent the U.S. team. Each applicant will be notified of his/her selection status by the end of March 2015.

About JSEP

Joint Committee

The Joint Committee, a high-level forum involving the Greenlandic, Danish and American governments, established the Joint Science Education Project in 2007, as a collaborative diplomatic effort during the International Polar Year to:

  1. Educate and inspire the next generation of polar scientists;
  2. Build strong networks of students and teachers among the three countries; and
  3. Provide an opportunity to practice language and communication skills by taking students to the ice sheet in Greenland to observe polar science in action.

Since its inception, JSEP has had 100 student and 25 teacher participants and has involved numerous scientists and field researchers.

LC-130 – Transportation to, from, and throughout Greenland (Photo Credit:  Hope Garma)LC-130 – Transportation to, from, and throughout Greenland (Photo Credit: Hope Garma)

Exploring the glacier near Point 660 (Photo Credit: Bo Christensen)Exploring the glacier near Point 660 (Photo Credit: Bo Christensen)

Learning about erosional processes from Dartmouth Graduate student Ruth Heindel (Photo Credit: Rikke JØrgensen)Learning about erosional processes from Dartmouth Graduate student Ruth Heindel (Photo Credit: Rikke JØrgensen)

Preparing ablation (mass loss) measurement site (Photo Credit: Rikke JØrgensen)Preparing ablation (mass loss) measurement site (Photo Credit: Rikke JØrgensen)

Collecting data for stream discharge (Photo Credit: Lynn Reed)Collecting data for stream discharge (Photo Credit: Lynn Reed)

Group photo in front of main house at Summit Station (Photo Credit: Lynn Foshee Reed)Group photo in front of main house at Summit Station (Photo Credit: Lynn Foshee Reed)

Diligent note taking on the ice (Photo Credit: Lynn Foshee Reed)Diligent note taking on the ice (Photo Credit: Lynn Foshee Reed)

In 2014, two American teachers traveled with five U.S. students (from Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, and Oregon) from Albany, New York to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland aboard an LC-130 from Scotia Air National Guard Base. Once in Greenland, the Americans joined five students and one teacher from Roskilde, Denmark, eight students from all over Greenland, and two additional teachers from Denmark who have experience teaching in Greenland.

During the 2014 Field School, all students and teachers participated in a variety of activities such as measuring discharge at the nearby Watson River, collecting fossils and garnets while learning about the geology of the area, cataloguing plants and conducting a biodiversity survey, sampling water from a number of lakes, and measuring ablation (mass loss) on the ice sheet. The highlight experience of Science Education Week 2014 was the five-day stay at Summit Station, the U.S. research facility located at the top of the Greenland ice sheet. While at Summit, the students and teachers built a back-lit snow pit, launched a weather balloon, and learned about albedo from a Dartmouth College graduate student. Science Education Week activities in Kangerlussuaq included learning about the IcePod (an integrated imaging system), as well as taking lake samples for Indiana University researchers to measure methane.

JSEP is supported each year by the National Science Foundation's Division of Polar Programs and facilitated by an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow.

National Science FoundationNational Science Foundation

About the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows

The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program provides a unique professional development opportunity for accomplished K-12 educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to serve in the national education arena. Fellows spend 11 months working in a Federal agency or in a U.S. Congressional office, bringing their extensive knowledge and experience in the classroom to education program and/or education policy efforts. Current sponsoring agencies include: the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The DOE sponsors up to four placements in congressional offices.

The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Act was signed into law in November 1994 and gives the DOE the responsibility for managing the program (Fellowship Act Public Law 103-382, Improving America's Schools Act of 1994). The DOE Office of Science's Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS) manages this program in collaboration with the Triangle Coalition for STEM Education and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). To learn more about the Albert Einstein Fellowship program, visit http://science.energy.gov/wdts/einstein/.