NORTH BEND — One North Bend High School student won a spot on a scientific expedition to Greenland, joining four others from the United States.
Genasea Reigard, a junior at NBHS, applied for the Joint Science Education Project. However, she never thought that she would land one of the spots when 200 other students across the country were hoping to do the same.
“My mom said I could sign up for it because she didn’t think it would happen,” Reigard laughed. “I didn’t either, but then it did and I’m happy that I can go.”
The three-week field study begins this summer on June 22, taking all of the U.S. student winners to Albany, New York where they will be greeted by the Air National Guard to escort them to Greenland. Reigard explained that this is because the Air National Guard is one of the sponsors to the program.
“For most of it, we will stay in a dormitory learning about environmental science, talking about what’s happening with the polar regions and global warming,” she said. “Then we will go to a camp on a glacier, which is at 8,900 feet.”
Once in Greenland, the five U.S. students will be joined by others from various countries, bringing the group total to 25.
As for her application, Reigard filled out short answer questions, which included asking her to explain in 200 words why she wanted to do this.
“Which is hard because it’s not a lot,” she said. “But I think they wanted to give people who haven’t had an experience like this an opportunity. A lot of the questions asked what it’s like where you’re from and what science-related stuff you have in your school. I think they wanted to give it to someone who needs the option.”
It was NBHS general biology and physics teacher, Christina Geierman, who first heard about the opportunity for her students to go to Greenland. Reigard is part of the Science National Honor Society at NBHS, which has a Google classroom and is where Geierman posted the JSEP application.
“I posted the information in case anyone was interested,” Geierman said. “(Reigard) was the only one to apply from our group, but I’m so happy she did. She filled out a long form with lots of questions and sent it to Dartmouth College. It is very competitive and she is one of two from Oregon accepted into the program.”
Geierman said this was the first year she learned about the program, making Reigard the first student from NBHS to be accepted.
“I’m actually a little jealous,” Geierman said. “She will experience different people from different cultures. I don’t think she’s been out of the Pacific Northwest, so it’s going to be a good opportunity for her. I’m proud of her for doing it.”
In fact, Reigard joked that she might get lost on the plane ride there since she has never flown before, but is excited.
“I always worry if we’re doing enough to get colleges to notice our students and this will hopefully be enough from getting her into a college to the college,” Geierman said. “I’m super proud. It takes a lot of guts to be a kid from Coos County who hasn’t been any place else to try to go to Greenland.”