Education Team - Washington D.C. Trip Report


By Levi Houk
Spring 2014

From April 25 until April 27, the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) Education team participated in the national Science & Engineering Festival in Washington D.C.

Education team members from the University of Kansas (KU) included Education Coordinator Darryl Monteau, Education GRA Kuang Chen Hsu, and student educational outreach assistant Levi Houk. They were joined by the CReSIS Associate Director of Education Dr. Linda Hayden and her student, Patrina Bly, from Elizabeth City State University (ECSU).

More than 325,000 people attended the Science & Engineering Festival, which was free and open to the public, and although not every individual visited the CReSIS booth at the festival, the exciting research and knowledge CReSIS scientists’ and engineers are discovering were shared with thousands. The festival also featured celebrated scientists and STEM promoters Bill Nye the Science Guy, the musicians of They Might Be Giants, and Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs and David Pouge of PBS shows, such as Nova and Science Now.

The CReSIS booth featured activities from the Ice, Ice, Baby! program developed by the CReSIS Education Team, which taught festival participants about glacier dynamics, the properties of glaciers, and what happens underneath a glacier. Participants got hands-on experience by interacting with a “glacier,” represented by glacier goo, as it traveled down a ramp and discovered how the forces of the weight of the glacier spreads out from the continent of Antarctica.

The interactive Glaciers in Motion animation, created and designed by CReSIS GRA Kuang Chen Hsu, was also set up at the booth. Hsu, who was particularly excited to attend the festival to educate young, future glaciologists, was on hand to share features of the animation with festival attendees. The CReSIS booth also featured a new activity, called Glacier Sand, which emulated what happens to the rock below the glaciers after it is crushed by ice for thousands of years.

The Education Team also highlighted recent achievements made by the scientists and engineers at CReSIS, including the first ever UAS flight to successfully measure ice thickness in Antarctica, the discovery of the 460 mile long mega-canyon under the ice sheets of Greenland, and the generation of improved maps of Antarctic bedrock using CReSIS data. CReSIS was also proud to share that an Antarctic trench, newly termed the Gogineni Subglacial Trench, was named after CReSIS Director Prasad Gogineni to honor him and the work CReSIS has done to at the Poles through the development of radar that has lead to a better understanding of the ice.

Both the Education Team and the participants had a blast at the Science and Engineering Festival, which wouldn’t have been complete without a photo opportunity with a live, six-foot penguin. The real souvenir, however, was knowledge about the importance of glaciers and ice sheets, and the impact climate change may have on their future. More photos from this year’s festival can be found at the following link:

CReSIS Penguin

ECSU student Patricia Bly and the CReSIS Penguin (Levi Houk) await visitors to the booth. Photo courtesy of Darryl Monteau.

Glaciers in Motion

Kuang Chen Hsu helping a future engineer with the Glaciers in Motion animation. Photo credit: ECSU

Glacier Goo

Future glaciologists modeling with Glacier Goo to understand how glaciers spread out over the continent of Antarctica. Photo Credit: ESCU