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Cristina Solis '98, a middle school science teacher, poses with whale bones she found during her expedition to the northern arctic coast of Alaska.

Mount Alumna Explores Arctic Wilderness as Part of Elite Teacher Group

Aug. 9, 2012 -- Students of Los Angeles middle school science teacher Cristina Solis '98 will get a rare treat when they return to school this fall and hear about the arctic field expedition Solis completed as part of an elite group of educators.

Solis spent the past month as part of the PolarTREC Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating program. She was paired with a researcher studying microbial activity in thawing arctic permafrost. PolarTREC is a professional development experience in which teachers work closely with scientists as a pathway to improving science education.

Solis' team worked at a variety of field sites near the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium, where they lived and conducted lab work. The consortium is located just outside the community of Barrow on Alaska’s North Slope near the shoreline of the Arctic Ocean. Barrow is a small community of approximately 4,500 people accessible only by airplane. The climate is polar, with the daily minimum temperature below freezing 300 days a year.

In addition to her bachelor's degree in business administration from MSMU, Solis holds her master's degree from Columbia University, and completed a study abroad program at Oxford University in England. Solis participates in professional development with organizations such as the Aquarium of the Pacific, Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence and the World Forestry Institute. In 2009, Earthwatch selected Solis to assist in research on coastal ecology in the Bahamas. She is currently a National Science Teachers Association Teacher Fellow.

Read a story about Solis' expedition in her hometown Torrance, Calif., newspaper here. Read more in her journals here.

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