Adventurer and educator from New York, USA

Christiane (Chrissy) McCabe has spent the time since her first SOI expedition to the Arctic in 2010 studying, living and adventuring in the North, from Alaska to Svalbard and back again. Having now completed her masters in Geology in Trondheim, Norway, Chrissy has opted for some warmer temperatures and is headed south to teach high school students in Yap, Micronesia.

The Expedition Experience

Chrissy’s expeditions set in place a love of the Arctic that has led her back many times since. During one expedition she remembers lying on the top deck of the ship, swapping stories underneath the Northern Lights with students who were from the Arctic.

Her experiences also sparked many life-long friendships. Although spread out around the world, Chrissy still keeps in touch with a number of friends from expedition who have similar passions for making the world a better place.

Realizing Goals & Ambitions

Chrissy says her experience with Students on Ice helped her choose where to study, and it ultimately directed her career path. She decided to study geology at Bates College, a small liberal arts college in Maine, after connecting with a professor and Arctic researcher, who would later become her advisor, about his Arctic research.

These connections and opportunities opened more doors for further research in a Masters in Geology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway. Specializing in triassic geology and the ‘little ice age’ in Svalbard, she spent many semesters studying and doing research well above the Arctic Circle.

On overwintering in Svalbard: “It’s one of the most mentally challenging, but personally enriching experiences you can have.”

“I went to the Arctic, and I came back, and I thought it was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been and I wanted to spend the rest of my life up there, I could not wait to go back.”

Making a Difference

In 2013, after she finished the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP), during which she spent nearly two months studying glaciers in the Alaskan wilderness, Chrissy returned to her high school and gave presentations to science classes about her experiences in polar science through JIRP and SOI. Teachers said it opened their students’ minds to different career opportunities.

Now in Yap, Chrissy is stepping out of the research world to spend some time making a direct impact with youth and community. She is looking forward to working with and learning from the students and being able to share her experiences with her friends and family.

“I spent one year in the Arctic and I’m spending one year in the tropics and I’m excited to see be able to observe and disseminate what I learn.”

Looking Ahead

With a full year ahead of her in Yap, Chrissy plans to take this time to further explore her passion for scuba diving and learning about new places and cultures. She hopes to be able to take advantage of Yap’s world class diving and manta ray viewing. 

On travel: “Something my parents instilled in me at a young age is to fully immersing myself in a place for a longer period of time, rather than a day or two. Becoming a tourist on a long term scale gives you the ability to see a place in a whole other way. It’s so much more in depth.”

Beyond her time in Yap, Chrissy is looking to combine her passion for glacial geology and direct human impact. And, there is always potential for a PhD down the road!

To see where Chrissy find herself next, follow her adventures and studies around the globe on her website!

"A few girls think about doing science, but not many. And I know most girls would not think about doing expeditionary sciences, and I think the fact that I could even spark that idea in some of their minds, I think that’s what I contributed to."