Applications deadline extended to April 1, 11:59pm EST

 About the Juneau Icefield Research Program


The Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) is an eight-week immersion in the wilderness of the Juneau Icefield, during which participants (undergraduate, graduate, and high school juniors and seniors) traverse from Juneau, Alaska to Atlin, British Columbia.

For over 70 years, JIRP has maintained the longest running study of any glacier in the Western Hemisphere. Such comprehensive and continuous studies are rare yet crucial to our understanding of past and present climate change.

JIRP’s mission is to provide an unrivaled educational and expeditionary experience in the stunning Coast Mountains of Alaska and British Columbia. We give students a wide range of training in Earth sciences, wilderness survival, and mountaineering skills, and provide unique opportunities for team building and personal growth.

Participants are active partners with leading scientists pursuing groundbreaking research.  We stimulate cross-disciplinary collaboration among students from the United States and around the world with scientists engaged in all aspects of Earth systems science. The field-based curriculum and stunning mountain environment has inspired students for over seventy years.

Student Storytelling Fellowship - Program Info


Mission Statement:

The Student Storytelling Fellow will be focus on creative storytelling as a means for science communication and outreach, while studying glaciology and related topics through research and lessons led by faculty and staff on the program. The Storytelling Fellowship program is an important addition to JIRP, designed to help visualize connections between science and society, and to provide a more interdisciplinary educational experience to help students approach the Juneau Icefield with analytical, artistic, and scientific lenses. The Student Fellow from Skidmore is also given the opportunity to pursue their creative practice in the field, while simultaneously diving deeper into the scientific realms with which their art intersects.

The student selected for the fellowship will be part of scientific research and camp life, while expanding their creative practice as they participate in scientific fieldwork and exploration. They will also work closely with JIRP Science Communication Faculty on methods to visualize scientific concepts, and focus on a wide range of storytelling strategies to communicate climate science and JIRP’s mission to a wider audience.

JIRP approaches science communication from many different angles – from documentary photography to science journalism to scientific illustration to abstract art-making. The Storytelling Fellow brings a unique creative perspective to storytelling.  We would like this role to help JIRP visualize the way in which these types of science communication methods can exist together.

Student Role on JIRP:

  • As part of the student cohort, the Student Fellow will participate in scientific research, safety training, and all aspects of camp life (cook crew, camp chores, etc.).

  • The Student Fellow will be part of a scientific student research group. JIRP expects the Student Fellow to offer their alternative perspective for the purposes of group learning.

  • The Student Fellow will benefit from the mentoring of Science Communication/Art faculty and will have opportunities to collaborate with students, staff, and faculty on their desired project.

  • The Student Fellow will have opportunities to work independently on their project throughout the summer. These opportunities, like all activities at JIRP, are subject scheduling changes based on time and resources.


Financial Information:

  • Student tuition for the 2019 Storytelling Fellowship is $3,100. JIRP student tuition is $9,100, but the majority of this Fellowship position is covered by a $6,000 donation from a generous Skidmore donor.

    *For all students, this includes tuition for six upper division Earth and environmental science credits through either the University of Maine (for non-Alaskan students) or the University of Alaska Southeast (for Alaskan students). Read more here.

  • The student is responsible for all other expenses, including travel to and from Juneau, and necessary gear and equipment for the Icefield. The gear list is quite extensive, but it is essential for safety and efficiency to have the right equipment to traverse the Icefield.*

*There is some opportunity for the student to rent gear from JIRP, such as skis, boots, and ice axes. You will receive more information from JIRP if selected for the fellowship.

  • The student is also responsible for all project supplies and materials necessary for them to complete their artwork on the Icefield.**

**The logistics of transporting materials and equipment on and off the Icefield will be discussed with JIRP prior to the summer. In general, it is essential for supplies to be highly portable and compact.


Project Presentation - Fall 2019:

Following the Summer 2018 Field Season, the student will present their storytelling project from the Icefield at Skidmore (location and dates TBD). This may take the form of an art exhibition, film screening, public presentation, etc. depending on the scope of the project. The exhibition will serve as an opportunity for outreach and science communication to the greater Skidmore and Saratoga communities. Proceeds from any sales from the show will be split 65% to JIRP (to help cover the cost of program expenses) and 35% to the Student Fellow. 

Application Information:

Student Criteria:

  • Student of any major with interest in science, storytelling, climate science, outdoor expeditions, etc.

  • Must be comfortable working both independently and collaboratively.

  • Must have outdoor experience (backcountry experience preferred), but previous skiing/expedition experience not required. JIRP is very physically demanding and includes living in rugged environments and in very close quarters.

  • Must have a reasonable fitness level to complete the entire program.  Please see the Student Information for more information.


Selection Process:

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee affiliated with JIRP (including the Director, Board representatives, Program Manager, and Science Communication + Art Faculty).

Finalists may be interviewed by phone or skype before final decisions are announced in April.