PolarTREC Teacher's Path to IceBridge

By Mark Buesing, Libertyville High School, Libertyville, Ill.

Libertyville High School physics teacher Mark Buesing

Libertyville High School physics teacher Mark Buesing

I teach physics and AP physics at Libertyville High School in Libertyville, IL – about 45 miles northwest of Chicago. My undergrad is in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois and I worked for a number of years at Hughes Aircraft in California and Motorola in Illinois. After a short stint as a professional bicycle racer, I found out I was meant to be a high school physics teacher, and earned a graduate degree in secondary education from Roosevelt University. I’ve been teaching now for almost 20 years.

My route to Operation IceBridge was serendipitous. A former student of mine works for the US Antarctic Program, and while in Antarctica, she met a science teacher participating in the PolarTREC program (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating). This student sent me an e-mail telling me about the program and encouraged me to apply. That application was selected by Operation IceBridge, which has a very active educational outreach program.

My students asked me what I’ll be doing in Greenland with NASA, and I told them, “You are the next generation of scientists and engineers. Who are the next people NASA will hire to help continue all the research? … You!” So my job is to bring the science Operation IceBridge does back to my class and help motivate students to pursue careers in science and engineering. In the not-too-distant future, if the kids in my class today are working on a project like Operation IceBridge I will have done my job.

IceBridge personnel and Buesing in Fairbanks, Alaska.
From left: Michael Studinger, IceBridge project scientist; Mark Buesing, Libertyville High School physics teacher; and Christy Hansen, IceBridge project manager

One thought on “PolarTREC Teacher's Path to IceBridge”

  1. Today we read an article on the front page of The DAILY HERALD, 4-14-13. So proud to know you are a part of a scientific expedition with NASA in Greeland!! Have not been able to “find” your photos and read your journal online..we will keep trying. Have a safe trip back to Libertyville. By the way Mr Buesing. Waiting to hear from U.S.C. in regard to financial package. My three choices for college are: USC, University of Michigan and Vanderbilt. Going into Engineering Field.

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