Holy Cross Junior Conducts Research in Siberian Arctic Over the Summer

October 4th, 2012 by 


Though she’s from the iconic town of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., Madeleine “Maddie” LaRue, a member of the College of the Holy Cross class of 2014, ventured far away from home this past summer, as she conducted scientific research in the Siberian Arctic. After successfully applying for a spot on the Polaris Project team, a collaborative organization that includes students, teachers, and scientists, she spent the month of July researching the Arctic landscape.

A biology major concentrating in environmental studies, LaRue originally thought she might want to become a veterinarian. But then, after taking a course with William Sobczak, associate professor biology and director of environmental studies, she became most interested in ecology, and she continued to pursue study in the field.

“Maddie has an advanced appreciation of how to apply her training in the sciences,” explains Sobczak. With this in mind, he urged her to apply for a position on the Polaris team. Taking his advice, LaRue applied and earned a position, marking her first time performing scientific fieldwork and her first experience with summer research.

In northeastern Siberia, LaRue resided near the town of Cherskiy, and was able to study microbial carbon cycling, which allows scientists to understand carbon degradation in nearby water supplies. While living on a barge on the Panteleikha River, LaRue worked and socialized with professionals in the field. “I was able to come up with my own research topic and 100 percent focus on that project and then get help from other researchers,” she says. “[We] became a family.” The team had only 25 members, and featured scientists who ranged from 20 to 65 years old. 

“It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” says LaRue, remembering the trip. “I got to study such an amazing ecosystem where not many people get to go, to see nature that’s unaffected by humans.”

Professor Sobczak echoes the importance of LaRue’s experience, saying, “The Siberian Arctic is an area that is rarely studied. Contemporary undergraduate education in the sciences rarely examines this portion of the planet, [so] it’s important to have education and outreach initiatives for the public.” 

Understanding that the relationship between scientific research and public awareness is key, LaRue is a member of the Biology Society here on the Hill. Furthermore, as co-chair intern of Eco-Action, a group that promotes environmentalism at Holy Cross, she works to organize important events and activities.

LaRue hopes to continue her work as a scientist, as she plans to study abroad in Costa Rica in the spring. She looks forward to comparing the two ecosystems—the tropics and the tundra—and in the future, she hopes to attend graduate school in order to receive a Ph.D. in ecology.

Supported by the Woods Hole Research Center, which is located in Falmouth, Mass., the Polaris Project has also been funded by the National Science Foundation since 2008. Robert Max Holmes, the lead principal investigator for the project, will be speaking on campus Nov. 1.

For additional information, please contact Cristal Steuer at 508-793-2419.

| More
Tags
Categories
Biology, Biology news, News

Comments are closed.

05/27/16 Videos, Photo Galleries: Holy Cross Awards 699 Bachelor of Arts Degrees During Commencement Exercises
05/26/16 ‘The Olympic Sinkhole’
05/25/16 Members of Class of 2016 Honored For Their Excellence in Academics, Leadership in Service
05/24/16 Blog: Students Explore Philosophy of Food in Tuscany Study Abroad Experience
See All
See All

Featured Videos


See video
Video: Class of 2016 Shares What’s Next

Watch Video >
See video
‘Major in Anything…Succeed in Business’

Watch Video >
See video
Photo Gallery, Video: Obama Advisor Broderick Johnson ’78 Speaks on ‘My Brother’s Keeper,’ Other White House Initiatives

Watch Video >
See video
Crusaders Win Patriot League Championship

Watch Video >
See video
Men’s Basketball Knocks Off Bucknell In Double Overtime Thriller

Watch Video >
See video
New Webcams Provide Live Video Stream of Campus, Contemplative Center

Watch Video >
See video
Photo Gallery: Contemplative Center Architectural Concepts Come to Fruition

Watch Video >
See video
Video: Winter on the Hill Is All About Making Memories

Watch Video >
See video
Video, Photo Gallery: Holy Cross Wishes You a Merry and Peaceful Christmas

Watch Video >
See video
Video: The Splendor of Autumn on Mount St. James

Watch Video >
More

What’s Happening on Campus


06/16/2016

Summer Gateways Orientation

See More >
06/20/2016

Summer Gateways Orientation

See More >
06/23/2016

Summer Gateways Orientation

See More >
More

Holy Cross in the News


05/24/16

Holy Cross Alumna Offers Timely Take on Race, Bias Onstage

StarTribune

College of the Holy Cross graduate Valerie Curtis-Newton ’81 was recently spotlighted in StarTribune, the principle newspaper of Minneapolis, Minn., for her role as...

05/20/16

‘A striking rise for Rivers School grad at Holy Cross’

Boston Globe

The Boston Globe recently spotlighted College of the Holy Cross student-athlete Brendan King ’17, a pitcher for the baseball team advancing to the Patriot League...

05/03/16

Holy Cross Ranked No. 19 on Forbes’ List of Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges

Forbes.com

The College of the Holy Cross ranked No. 19 on Forbes’ list of Best Value Liberal Arts Colleges. For this ranking, Forbes looked at U.S. colleges and universities “that...