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International Summer School in Glaciology 2024 — A great success

Twenty-eight graduate students from nearly a dozen countries gathered in the small Alaska community of McCarthy in mid-June to participate in UAF’s seventh 11-day International Summer School in Glaciology. 

Steep ice-covered mountains provided the perfect setting to equip early stage Ph.D. students with tools to address the expanding challenges in quantifying and modeling rapid changes in glaciers and ice sheets occurring in response to a warming climate. It also fostered collaboration among students and among established glaciologists.

Five instructors from the Geophysical Institute’s Glaciology Group and three external instructors from the Lower 48 and Canada instructed the students. All instructors stayed the entire period, offering plenty of opportunity for interaction between instructors and students during and outside the formal lesson period. 

Students came from the U.S., Canada, Chile, India and several European countries.

The course included the following:

• Glaciology lectures, exercises and computer projects, and an outdoor poster session where students presented their research. Posters were pinned to the outdoor walls of the Wrangell Mountain Center or to laundry lines. 

• A full-day excursion to the Root Glacier and a half-day excursion to the front of the Kennicott Glacier, which provided hands-on experience of a glacial environment. It was a memorable experience, especially for the eight students who had been studying glaciers but who had never been on a glacier. 

• Evening activities, including a public lecture by instructor Karen Alley from the University of Manitoba, Canada, that attracted more than 50 locals and tourists. A McCarthy resident also gave a presentation about the community’s rich history.

The International Summer School in Glaciology was well received by participants. Students left not only with a stronger background in glaciology but also with a network of professional contacts from around the world. 

All course material is openly available at the summer school website. As in previous years, the course was partially funded by a grant from NASA to support U.S.-based participants and from several international professional cryospheric organizations to support international participants.

The International Summer School in Glaciology started in 2010 and has been running every two years, except for 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.

UAF instructors this year included Regine Hock, Ed Bueler, Andy Aschwanden, Martin Truffer and Mark Fahnestock.

Most have participated in all seven summer schools as instructors. Each time it is such a wonderful and rewarding experience to spend time with a diverse group of students from around the world. Many students have never been in Alaska or,  although studying glaciers, ever been on a glacier.

Professor Regine Hock is temporary faculty at the Geophysical Institute. She has been a professor at the University of Oslo since September 2020.


• Regine Hock, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute,

• Rod Boyce, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, 907-474-7185,