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T3 Alaska Program

T3 Alaska Students Gain Internships at Alaska Earthquake Center

Joon Mark and Jacob Okitkun, two graduating seniors, who participated in the T3 Alaska program, landed summer internships with the Alaska Earthquake Center. The students engaged in T3 Alaska’s statewide Earth Observation Club, where they learned field instrumentation skills and built complete sensor stations. Through the club, students gain skills to acquire field skill credentials, a knowledge base that is in demand in the Alaskan workforce. T3 Alaska program focuses on teaching technical skills and provides a means for students to use the skills in place-based learning opportunities on projects that strengthen their communities. Both students recently presented their projects to seismologists and industry leaders at the Annual Seismology Meeting in Anchorage. Congratulations to these rising young professionals!

Joon Mark’s project focused on monitoring thawing permafrost in his community. Quinhagak sits on the southwest coast, located on the Kanektok River, which feeds into the Bering Sea. His community is experiencing thawing permafrost, which can raise water levels in Earth’s oceans and increase erosion. After a few iterations, his team designed a sensor unit with a 4-channel analoger and Raspberry Pi technology to collect data on the permafrost temperature below the active soil layer. His team tracks any changes and notes trends in the data to help community leaders make informed decisions.

Jacob Okitkun project focused on how weather can directly impact his community’s ability to grow food and bring in critical supplies. Kotlik is a rural Alaskan community that values a subsistence lifestyle and relies on imported air commodities, both are vulnerable to weather patterns. Jacob’s earth observation project created a weather station to monitor temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, humidity, and precipitation. All of this data benefits rural communities by providing advanced weather information so that the community can better prepare before weather impacts community health.

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