NICL Experience Inspires Path Forward

Jen Lennon during the 2011 WAIS Divide core processing line at the NICL
Jen Lennon during the 2011 WAIS Divide core processing line at the NICL. —Credit: Mark Twickler/UNH

As an undergraduate, I switched universities more than once in my search for the perfect major and program. I had plenty of enthusiasm for science, but very little focus – I had no idea what I wanted to study. As I finished up my sophomore year, I started looking for summer geology internships, and I found the National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL). Of the three universities I had already attended, none of them were involved in any sort of ice core research. Most of the programs were focused on rocks that were millions to billions of years old, and worked in time scales that I had trouble relating to. At the NICL I was introduced to scientists working in time frames hundreds to thousands of years long. Their research picked out patterns in the ice on yearly and seasonal scales – time scales I could relate to. The following summer, I returned to the NICL to work on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide core processing line, where the WAIS Divide Science Coordination Office had organized weekly talks by the principal investigators working with the ice cores. Through these talks, I was able to become even more familiar with climate science and its research community – climate and ice research were presented to me as attainable goals that I could make a reality if I chose. Thanks to the inspirational group of researchers and staff I was able to interact with at the NICL, I have now completed a MS with the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, and am employed as a laboratory manager on the Antarctic research vessel the Laurence M. Gould – a future that would not have been likely if I hadn't been given an opportunity to intern at the NICL.