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Alaska Science Stories is an educational program that creates space for shared research and learning experiences by bringing Alaskans into the world of scientific fieldwork with virtual reality.


We facilitate impactful in-class learning that empowers Alaskans to feel involved and autonomous in their environment. 


Our program is builds bridges between Alaskans and their local research community with immersive and interactive storytelling designed to reach those who are impacted by climate change but not at the forefront of science outreach. 


Thomas Kelly - a postdoctoral researcher at the College of Fisheries and Ocean Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks. Kelly’s research involves field work for the collection of biogeochemical data, as well as the use of satellite imagery to contextualize individual field campaigns. Previously, Kelly has taught for a middle school science camp (i2Camp, inc.) and led highschool participation in a laboratory summer program (Paper2Plastics program; Tamburini et al., 2014).

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Laura Whitmore - a research assistant professor at the International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks. Whitmore's research investigates the changing Arctic Ocean through the lens of the periodic table. Using trace elements, she queries what the existing circulation and biological patterns are and questions how they will change over time. Whitmore has participated in outreach visits to classrooms, science career fairs, and events such as the Arctic Research Day.

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Amy Lauren - a filmmaker/artist working at the nexus between research, education and artistic practice and specializing in VR content. A key team member interested in developing effective content for educational settings including classrooms, planetariums, and exhibits. Lauren has a growing archive of 3D/360° Arctic content and has produced films for the MOSAiC and NABOS programs.


This pilot project will expose K-12 students to satellite oceanography and climate sciences through a combination of curriculum development and virtual reality (VR) content. VR headsets offer an exciting and emerging avenue for substantive and experiential engagement. They can be brought into classrooms by scientist-educators, can be pre-packaged for teachers (inc. into underserved villages), and can be installed in exhibits, fairs, and museums. Our project goals are to (1) generate VR content for target audiences, (2) establish effective use of VR headsets in a classroom setting, and (3) build connections and relationships with Alaskan educators and students.

Our plan is to leverage existing curriculum (The Arctic Ocean Curriculum Unit; ARCUS) and educational standards to build targeted, in-class VR content. A single lesson will consist of a 1-hour educational unit and will include a Know-Wonder-Learn pre-activity (15m), VR content delivery (15m), and a creative engagement activity (15m) all to be conducted in a cafeteria or gymnasium. Internal assessment for the program will occur via (1) post activity surveys to be conducted with the participants and (2) an exit interview conducted with all participating educators.

Support for
VR for Alaska

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Support for this program comes from the North Pacific Research Board and from the National Aeronautical and Space Administration

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