16 November, 1999
Not everyone who comes to the ice is a scientist. Many skills are needed to
run this station. Here are the stories of several of the people who make it
all possible here in Antarctica. These people work hard at their jobs so
the scientists can do their work. There are four support people for each
scientist at Mcmurdo. Look at what these people do and see if there is any
job you might be interested in.
Geoff Wang is an electrical engineer graduate of Washington University in Seattle. He works in Antarctica as computer support for scientist. He too came for the adventure. Geoff worked with our team for many hours getting our computers configured to the Mcmurdo network, working glitches out of software, and solving hardware crashing problems.
Jim Evans is just returning from spending a year at the South Pole. He is one of the 41 hearty souls who spent 6 months of darkness and cold living in a dome at the place where all the time zones come together. Jim is a heavy equipment operator and it was his job to move the snowdrifts away from the dome all winter to protect the structure from damage. He also had to move diesel drums to keep the fuel lines full so their home could stay warm. One big problem Jim faced was getting the equipment to start in the sub zero temperatures. He didn’t mind the cold himself, because he was outfitted in the extreme weather gear we are all issued when we get here. How did he cope with the long days of total darkness? Jim said he read 86 books and would go outside to watch the southern lights in the night sky. Why would anyone want to go sit on 2 miles of ice for 12 months? For the same reason he spent two years in the Peace Corps: adventure, the challenge, and to live in exotic places. Would he do it again? “I don’t think I would over winter at the Pole again he says, but for sure I will take a summer season job again”.
Pete has worked in Antarctica as a ski doo mechanic for several seasons. We depend on the ski doos working in the field, because if we become stranded away from camp it can be serious. It is Pete and his crew’s job to make sure they are reliable. He also gives classes in emergency ski doo repair so we can take care of the machines in the field when Pete is not there to help us.
This crew works as Field Coordinators for science support. Their expertise run to mountaineering equipment and helped us with our crampons, ice axes, tents and backpacks. Merle Bowser from Denver Colorado has a BS in Biology from University of Colorado. He has experience working as a bike mechanic and is a backpacker, climber and biker. This is his first season and came to Antarctica to make new friends. Sue Root is from White Fish Alaska and has worked for the forest Service for ten years as trail crew chief and Wilderness Ranger. This is her 4th year here. Marin Kuzenga calls Fairbanks Alaska her home and spends the summer months in the northern latitudes as a river guide. She runs a dog sled team for fun at home and comes here because of the friends she has made over the 3 seasons here.
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