The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Graduate P Shaylee Ackerman (10) pitches during Texas A&Ms game against Valpo on Feb. 10, 2024 at Davis Diamond.
Holding down the house
February 22, 2024
Graduate P Shaylee Ackerman (10) pitches during Texas A&Ms game against Valpo on Feb. 10, 2024 at Davis Diamond.
Holding down the house
February 22, 2024

Student hopes to travel arctic tundra

Graduate+student+Kristen+Duckworth+has+applied+for+an+arctic+tundra+experience+and+seeks+online+votes+to+win+the+contest.

Graduate student Kristen Duckworth has applied for an arctic tundra experience and seeks online votes to win the contest.

Graduate student Kristen Duckworth hopes to feed her appetite for adventure through participation in an arctic tundra experience this spring.
Fjallraven Polar is an approximately 300-kilometer winter adventure across the arctic tundra. The participants will steer a dog sled all the way from Signaldalen, Norway, to the forests around Jukkasjärvi, Swedish Lappland.
Applicants upload videos explaining why they should be chosen for the experience and compete by country. People can then vote for their favorite applicant, while the rest of the participants are chosen by Fjallraven, a Swedish outdoor gear company.
Since there are only two spots open for Americans, Duckworth is campaigning through Facebook in hopes of securing a spot in the trip.
“I got a lot of text messages like, ‘This is awesome,’ or, ‘What is this dog sledding thing about?’” Duckworth said. “Most people can see how it would be a really amazing experience, but are thrown off guard by how completely random it seems. Dog sledding just isn’t something we Texans think about very often.”
Duckworth first learned about this adventure at a study abroad program in Germany three years ago.
“I spent the summer of 2011 in Germany on a study abroad program called the History of Medicine,” Duckworth said. “One of our German coordinators, Nils, entered to win a spot in Fjallraven Polar 2013. That was the first I’d heard of it and I researched it online.”
Duckworth said she has always been an adventurous person.
“I like to be in new environments and experience things that are a bit out of my comfort zone,” Duckworth said. “I spent two summers abroad working in African hospitals and it taught me that you learn so much more about life and people when you’re in an environment that challenges you. The depth of the experience makes it worth the bit of discomfort.”
Duckworth said Fjallraven Polar had been on her mind since, but she never thought she would have the time to participate if chosen.
“Well, as fate would have it, the timing just worked perfectly for me to go in April 2015, after I graduate in December,” Duckworth said.
Adam Nathan, biomedical engineering graduate student, first met Duckworth this summer in Rwanda at Engineering World Health’s Summer Institute program. Nathan said Duckworth deserves to be on this trip, given her penchant for adventure.
“She’d rather hike a volcano or trudge through knee deep mud,” Nathan said. “The times I saw her smile the widest were when she had a sweat-drenched shirt and so much mud on her clothes that no washing machine could ever hope to get it all out.”
Katie Mason, a graduate student who has known Duckworth since high school, said Duckworth has always been adventurous.
“Throughout college she has done a lot of traveling and it totally makes sense that she would do something like this,” Mason said.
Born and raised in Texas, Duckworth said she has never had much experience with such frigid conditions, but that very idea spurred her on.
“Winter sports aren’t my forte and I don’t know the first thing about surviving in arctic conditions,” Duckworth said. “I am an intermediate skier, at best, and that’s about where my experience with the snow ends. I love camping and hiking, but that doesn’t qualify me to tackle the tundra on my own. But that’s the great thing about Fjallraven Polar — it’s an opportunity for everyday people to be guided by an expert survivalist and musher on the experience of a lifetime.”
Duckworth said she is prepared for any challenges on the way if she gets to go and is not at all nervous about going.
“I know I’ll be incredibly cold at some points and take a few tumbles from the sled but that’s okay,” Duckworth said. “I guess the worst case scenario would be getting separated from the group in conditions of low visibility, but hopefully the dogs’ instincts would help out.”
Duckworth said her family was at first confused about her decision to go but have become supportive of her pursuits.
“My family was extra confused, since I didn’t tell them about it ahead of time,” Duckworth said. “They’re awesome, though, and started sharing my voting page the next day. I’m lucky to have friends and family that are so supportive.”
Duckworth said she is most worried about not getting to go.
“It’s pretty hard to get online votes,” Duckworth said. “My friends and family have been really supportive but the guy in first place has 100 or so more votes than I do. Having the Aggie family support, vote and share would make all the difference in the world.”
Duckworth said she believes life is short and she wants to travel as much as she can.
“I hope that when I’m older and look back on my life I have a collection of memories that spans the whole spectrum of what the world has to offer,” Duckworth said.
Students can vote for Duckworth at FjallravenPolar.com. There are two spots open for Americans, and Duckworth currently ranks second.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *