STA Science Teacher Earns Prestigious Research Opportunity

Science teacher seated outside
Science teacher Piper Bartlett will spend the month of August in an exclusive research program.


STA science teacher, Ms. Piper Bartlett, has earned a prestigious place on the national PolarTREC Program for 2019-20.  Selected as one of only 12 individuals by the National Science Foundation, Ms. Bartlett will be working in the Arctic for the month of August.

PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) is a program in which teachers from the United States spend 3-6 weeks participating in hands-on field research experiences in the polar regions. The goal of PolarTREC is to invigorate polar science education and understanding by bringing educators and polar researchers together.

Ms. Bartlett will begin the program with training in Fairbanks, Alaska during the last week of March.  She will learn how to use new technology, meet other PolarTREC teachers, learn details regarding her specific project and begin working on ways to integrate her experience into the STA classroom and share it with her colleagues and the overall community.

Ms. Bartlett will work with Dr. Lee Cooper, a Research Professor at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Dr. Cooper’s analytical expertise is extensive and includes measurements of stable and radioactive isotopes, including organic and inorganic materials, such as soils and sediments, atmospheric gases, plant and animal tissues, and natural waters.

In August, Ms. Bartlett will travel to the port of call in Barrow, AK (the northernmost point of the Americas!) where she will join Dr. Cooper, board a Coast Guard cutter (the USCGC Healy), and, for three weeks, collect climate change data in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. The goal is to undertake process oriented experiments that address specific issues such as ocean acidification, changes in biological productivity, etc.

While there, Ms. Bartlett will be hosting a webinar and blogging from the ship.  (STA will be following!)  Upon her return to STA, Ms. Bartlett will use the collected data in her classroom and continue to further STA’s relationship with researchers like Dr. Cooper to benefit our St. Thomas Aquinas Saints.

Congratulations, Ms. Bartlett, on earning this prestigious opportunity and for doing exactly what we encourage our Saints to do… to aim high and soar higher.

Saints Pride!