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.

01/24/17 Digging into DNA: Biology Professor Wins $780K NSF Award for Genetics Research
01/23/17 Latin American Artists Showcase Contemporary Work at Holy Cross’ Cantor Art Gallery
01/23/17 Sō Percussion Explores Gun Violence Through Multigenre Performance
01/20/17 English Professor to Premiere Off-Broadway Production
See All
See All
Featured Videos

See video
Video: Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins ’63 Honored as Helmerich Distinguished Author, Reads Poetry on NPR

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

Watch Video >
See video
Video: Holy Cross History Professor Featured in PBS Pearl Harbor Documentary

Watch Video >
See video
Video: Two-Time Heisman Candidate Gordie Lockbaum ’88 Featured by ESPN in ‘30 for 30 Short’

Watch Video >
See video
Video: Holy Cross Students are ‘More Engaged’

Watch Video >
See video
Video: Take a Look at Campus Life After the Sun Sets

Watch Video >
See video
Photo Gallery, Video: Class of 2020 Receives A Holy Cross Welcome on Move-In Day

Watch Video >
See video
VIDEO: Stephen Colbert Talks Holy Cross in Web Exclusive

Watch Video >
See video
Video: Total Giving to Holy Cross Breaks Record With $46.7 Million Raised

Watch Video >
See video
Video: Spring Blooms on Holy Cross Campus

Watch Video >
More

Women's Forum Weekly Meeting
5/11/2017

See More >


MSO Advocate Program (Event canceled)
5/11/2017

See More >


AAC Luncheon
5/10/2017

See More >


Athletics
5/10/2017

See More >


Dean's Spring Address
5/9/2017

See More >


Dean's Address
5/9/2017

See More >


Summer Internship Send Off Meeting
5/9/2017

See More >


Summer Internship Send Off Meeting
5/8/2017

See More >


Cinco de Mayo
5/5/2017

See More >


Women's Forum Weekly Meeting
5/4/2017

See More >


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


Summer Internship Send Off Meeting
5/4/2017

See More >


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


Sexual Misconduct Policy Training
5/3/2017
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 519
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 519: Open to Campus Community OnlySee More >


Athletics
5/3/2017

See More >


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


Sales Club Meeting (Event canceled)
5/2/2017

See More >


Finance Club Meeting
5/2/2017

See More >


HCEG Club Meeting
5/2/2017

See More >

More Holy Cross in the News

01/19/17

Political Perspective: Holy Cross Faculty Discuss Washington, D.C. March and Obama’s Presidency

Telegram & Gazette

On the eve of the transfer of presidential power, Selina Gallo-Cruz, assistant professor of sociology, discusses the motivation behind Saturday’s March in Washington. And...

01/04/17

Holy Cross Young Alum Named Worcester Magazine’s “Person of the Year”

Worcester Magazine

Worcester Magazine has named Che Anderson ’11, project manager for the city of Worcester, as its “Person of the Year.” Anderson, who has immersed himself in Worcester...

12/22/16

Video: Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins ’63 Honored as Helmerich Distinguished Author, Reads Poetry on NPR

NPR, Tulsa World

The Tulsa Library Trust presented Billy Collins ’63, former U.S. Poet Laureate, with the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award on Dec. 2 in recognition of...