University of Southern California

A Student Looks Back

Dafne Eerkes-Medrano, January 30, morning — This Antarctic experience has influenced me on many levels, both as a person and as a scientist in training.

On a basic level, it has provided insights into conducting science in polar settings. I have learned about the logistics that go into conducting science in a remote setting with adverse weather conditions.

On a deeper level, I have gained an appreciation of the need for integrated science — the study of living things from multiple perspectives. With my team, I have learned how to integrate techniques in physiology and molecular biology to answer questions from the whole-organism down to the genetic level.


The course has reminded me of the responsibilities that scientists have, not only to the advancement of science, but also as members of the wider community of planet earth. There are many mysteries to be solved and many challenges to be met on a global scale (particularly climate change).

Fortunately, there are people who are willing and able to tackle these mysteries and challenges. At McMurdo Station, I have met many remarkable scientists who are experts in fields such as geology, glaciology and biology. Witnessing the dedication of my classmates, I have come to know them as not only compassionate human beings but great scientists.

Dafne Eerkes-Medrano is a graduate student at Oregon State University.