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, News

Comments are closed.

04/26/17 24th Annual Sulski Lecture Given by Prominent Mathematician
04/25/17 New Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Named at Holy Cross
04/24/17 PayScale Ranks Holy Cross No. 12 Best Value Liberal Arts College
04/21/17 Holy Cross Academic Conference 2017 to Showcase Student Work
See All

Real Estate Club Meeting
4/27/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
The main goal of the Real Estate Club will be to expose HC students to a broad...
See More >>


SGA Leadership Awards
4/27/2017
Office of Student Involvement
Kimball Hall Seelos Theater
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Opening Reception for re: Visual Arts Studio Concentration Seminar Exhibition
4/27/2017
Featured
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
Opening Reception for the work of graduating senior Visual Arts majors...
See More >>


STAND AGAINST RACISM
4/27/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Outdoor Oval
Open to the Public
See More >>


Prof. Sheehy - BIOL 114 Poster Session
4/28/2017
Biochemistry
Smith Laboratories SPILLANE
Open to the Public
See More >>


Politics Between the Religious and Secular: A Conversation with Saba Mahmood (Event canceled)
5/1/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
In a conversation with students, Saba Mahmood, professor of anthropology...
See More >>


Prof. Sheehy - BIOL 114 Poster Session
5/1/2017
Biochemistry
Smith Laboratories SPILLANE
Open to the Public
See More >>


The Agency Club Meetings
5/2/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118B
The purpose of The Agency is to educate students who are interested in learning...
See More >>


Dance Concert
5/3/2017
Theatre
O'Kane Hall Fenwick Theater
Our annual spring dance concert showcases vibrant work by the students in...
See More >>


Dance Concert
5/3/2017
Featured
O'Kane Hall Fenwick Theater
Our annual spring dance concert showcases vibrant work by the students in...
See More >>


Prof. Sheehy - BIOL 114 Poster Session
5/3/2017
Biochemistry
Smith Laboratories SPILLANE
Open to the Public
See More >>


Sexual Misconduct Policy Training
5/3/2017
Office of Administration & Finance
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 519
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Calling All Foodies! C&S Wholesale Grocers Info Table
5/3/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Outdoor Oval
Meet an alumnus and learn about the company responsible for...
See More >>


C&S Wholesale Grocers Info Table
5/3/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Meet an alumnus and learn about the company responsible for...
See More >>


Prof. Sheehy - BIOL 114 Poster Session
5/3/2017
Biochemistry
Smith Laboratories SPILLANE
Open to the Public
See More >>


Real Estate Club Meeting
5/4/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
The main goal of the Real Estate Club will be to expose HC students to a broad...
See More >>


2-Step Verification For Google Information Session
5/4/2017
Information Security
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Breaches of the DNC and Yahoo! show that good passwords...
See More >>


Citation Frustration Station -HC Libraries
5/5/2017
Holy Cross Libraries
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
The Holy Cross Librarians will be offering drop-in help formatting...
See More >>


Citation Frustration Station -HC Libraries
5/5/2017
Holy Cross Libraries
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
The Holy Cross Librarians will be offering drop-in help formatting...
See More >>


Fullbridge Final Day Presentations
5/24/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Smith Laboratories 154
Please join us on the last day of the Fullbridge Professional Edge Program where...
See More >>


Sexual Misconduct Policy Training
6/7/2017
Office of Administration & Finance
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 519
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>

See All