North to Alaska!

Scene: Dulles International Airport in the early afternoon of a rainy, spring day. The terminal is crowded with people chattering on their cell phones, eating sandwiches and drinking coffee. One girl sits, notebook in lap, smoothie in hand, writing and dreaming of a land they call “the last frontier.”

Traveling to Alaska for the summer was never a dream of mine, but when I heard I had the opportunity to go there for six weeks of my junior summer and participate in a genuine field research session, I leapt at the chance.Last semester, Susan Foster, my faculty adviser and one half of the husband-wife duo doing research on the threespine stickleback at Clark University, made my college career when she suggested that I unite my two primary passions in life (biology and writing) by writing an article about thenatural history and adaptive radiation of the stickleback — and that I could easily travel to Alaska with the lab group that goes every year in order to research my topic in a very hands-on way. So, here I am on my way to Anchorage using the Traina Scholarship I was awarded when I was accepted to Clark and NSF funding awarded to the lab. The feeling is mostly excitement. The new things to see and experience are almost beyond numbering; I cannot even imagine half of them. The plane ride is long and I’ll have plenty of time to contemplate the next few weeks while I glide through the clouds, but I think I’ll just use the time to sleep. It will be at least 4am when I finally touch ground in Alaska, after all!

– Rachel


sophie airport
Sophie anticipates the plane ride to Alaska.