Time to introduce the team. There will be plenty of new people to meet when I get to Greenland, but these individuals should be highlighted from the start. There are four main team members. These are the professionals making the work connected to the virtual field trip happen:
Alice Watterson, PhD: Alice is an archaeologist and digital artist based at the University of Dundee in Scotland. Alice works as a lecturer and researcher with the University’s 3DVisLab. Her work shows how powerful a synthesis between diverse fields can be, as she pulls from art, archaeology, and computer science to produce technologically-advanced, community-focused heritage initiatives. For an example of her past work, take a look at this digital archaeology computer program she co-produced with an Alaskan community on the Bering Sea coast. This award-winning initiative launched an interactive software allowing school kids (and the public) to explore the history, stories, and language of an indigenous Yup’ik archaeological site. Needless to say, Alice is the kind of person who makes you hate your day job. It's normal for her to close a team conference call saying something like “I’m off to the Orkney Islands to fly drones around ancient Neolithic ruins” (my response: “well, I'm going to watch Blippi with two toddlers. So I have a fun day planned too…”).
Hans Harmsen, PhD: The second team member will also make some cringe with day-job envy. Hans is an American expat stationed in Greenland for the past five years working his magic on a dizzying number of archaeological and anthropological projects. He never stops moving. He puts incredible effort into work aimed at understanding, monitoring, studying, and sharing Greenlandic history (in the face of drastic environmental changes, I might add). Hans is an archaeologist and the National Heritage Resources Manager at the Greenland National Museum and Archives. He also serves on many arctic science and archaeological advisory boards (for example, Iceland’s NatNorth sub-project III: Cruise ships taking land, Society for American Archaeology Committee on Climate Change, the Aasivissuit–Nipisat World Heritage Steering Committee, and more). It’s unsurprising to receive an email from him opening with something like “greetings from Qassiarsuk, site of Erik the Red’s farm!” (the Viking that named Greenland) (me: “Sounds amazing, Hans. Coming back at you from the peanut butter aisle at the Price Chopper”).
Charlie Sarkioglu: I am lucky enough to have an amazing SUNY Potsdam undergraduate student serving as a content manager. Staying back in Potsdam, Charlie will be managing the content produced in Greenland to help with fast turnaround for the Virtual Field Trip. We are already hard at work figuring out the best technology and ways to engage everyone over the two-week trip. Charlie is an archaeology major and anthropology minor set to graduate this December. While traveling as a performer in a variety of professional theatre productions for over 10 years, Charlie developed a profound knowledge for engaging diverse audiences. Travels throughout the US, Canada, and Japan, along with a prior business degree, add to Charlie’s capacity for assisting with international project management. In the future, Charlie plans to explore ways to link bioarchaeological and human origins knowledge with educational theatre for young audiences.
Me (Katie Grow Allen, PhD): For those coming here from outside my circle of friends, family, and students, I’ll take a moment to introduce myself as well. I am an applied anthropologist in the Department of Anthropology at SUNY Potsdam in northern New York. My work in archaeology, biological anthropology, and applied anthropology is centered on the relevance of these fields to solve contemporary issues. I’ve worked in online education for over 12 years and am ecstatic for this experimental approach to virtual learning (quite different from any online teaching I’ve done in the past...). My anthropological research has focused on subjects in Southeast Europe (Romania, Croatia, and Hungary-my favorite places) but I am now diving into the Arctic as well. I will also mention my position at SUNY Potsdam is funded by the PRODiG Fellowship. This program was started by the State University of New York (SUNY) to fund early career professors who are either minorities in any academic field or Women in STEM (I’m the latter). Because I am also a MOTHER in STEM, you will hear me talk about my kids and experiences as a parent. Juggling my career ambitions while having my sons has been a challenge. I hope students who might pursue STEM fields or ambitious careers in ANY industry will find it helpful to see what it can look like to juggle work and family.
While we start as a team of four, many others will make this idea a reality. When I get to Greenland, I’ll introduce other collaborators, including the Greenland National Museum & Archives (Nunatta Katersugaasivia Allagaateqarfialu), the Sisimiut Museum (Sisimiut Katersugaasiviat), Aasivissuit-Nipisat UNESCO World Heritage Area, the United States Consulate to Greenland, and the Greenland Science Week Team. So many great people whose work will be shared.
I am an anthropology professor, writer, researcher and global traveler. This fall, I will be recording a research trip to Greenland as a virtual field trip for my students (and anyone else interested). Join us as we travel to the Arctic and learn about life in the far north.