Northwest Passage Project (NPP)

Key Inner Space Center Staff involved in Northwest Passage Project (NPP) are:

  • Gail Scowcroft, Principal Investigator (PI) and Project Director
  • Dwight Coleman, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Alex DeCiccio, Video Production Lead
  • Andrea Gingas, Project Coordinator
  • Chris Knowlton, Science Coordinator
  • Holly Morin, Lead Science Instructor
  • Derek Sutcliffe, IP Streaming Engineer and Project Web Developer

The Northwest Passage Project (NPP) is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project that centers on a research expedition into the Arctic’s Northwest Passage, which will engage intergenerational cohorts of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in hands-on research exploring the changing Canadian Arctic Archipelago. During this innovative expedition, diverse audiences will also be engaged through real time interactions from sea, an ultra-high definition 2-hour documentary, and related community events. Traveling into the Northwest Passage of the Canadian Arctic will provide a visually stunning and historically poignant platform from which diverse audiences will experience a dramatically changing Arctic.

The NPP is a collaborative effort between the University of Rhode Island (URI) Inner Space Center (ISC) and Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO), the film company David Clark, Inc., and several other collaborators, including five U.S. universities that are classified as Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

The educational components of the NPP will be led by the ISC. A cohort of graduate and undergraduate students will sail into the Northwest Passage for a ~2.5 week journey. These participants will receive science content instruction as the ship is underway, engage in hands-on research projects, and contribute to the live broadcasts from the Arctic.

Because the Canadian Arctic is remote and costly to access, the NPP intends to leverage the documentary production as an informal learning opportunity by engaging students with scientists in authentic research and by delivering live broadcasts from sea to three well-established U.S. informal science education (ISE) institutions, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), the Exploratorium, and the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC), as well as over the Internet.


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