HANNIBAL – After completing a rigorous application process that included essays, reference checks and a solid resume, Hannibal High School junior Jared Mason was hopeful that he landed a spot on a coveted research team.
For Mason, whose parents are both science teachers in Hannibal, that hope became a reality when he received a call notifying him that he had been selected to join an international research group.
Mason is one of the five US student representatives on the team who will travel to Greenland for three weeks this summer to conduct environmental research.
Other team members that are part of the Joint Science Education Project include five high school juniors from Denmark and five from Greenland.
“Going into the application process, I honestly thought I had no shot at all,” Mason said. “There are so many intelligent people out there. “When they emailed me that I was one of 10 finalists, that’s when I realized that I actually had a chance.”
When Mason received the call alerting him of his acceptance into the program, he said it was a surreal moment.
“I think I said, ‘Oh wow.’ I was so excited I was jumping up and down,” Mason recalled.
Since learning of his selection, Mason has been busy researching the environmental features of the area in which he will study.
He will spend nearly two weeks in Kangerlussuaq, exploring the terrain, animal and plant life, river runoff, and the overall environmental makeup of the region.
From Kangerlussuaq, he and his research teammates – under the guidance of Dartmouth faculty and former student researchers — will travel to Summit Station, a US research facility located at the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet.
“I’m really looking forward to this experience. This will enhance our skills and open our minds to different environments,” Mason said. “I travel a lot and it opens my eyes to the world around me, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than by participating in this research opportunity.”
As thrilled as Mason was to learn about his selection to the team, the faculty, staff and administration from the Hannibal Central School District were equally excited.
Science teacher Carol Burch, who encouraged Mason to apply for the program, said this opportunity was a perfect fit for Mason.
“Jared loves science, the environment and traveling, so he was excited to apply for this opportunity,” Burch said. “This experience in the field, working with scientists and making connections with international students will be an experience of a lifetime.”
The all-expenses paid trip is funded through a National Science Foundation grant.