About the Northwest Passage Project An innovative science and education expedition to explore and document the changing Arctic.

Iceberg found near Baffin Island
Iceberg found off of Baffin Island. Courtesy of Vancouver Maritime Museum.

The Northwest Passage Project 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 and collecting data. During this innovative expedition, diverse audiences will be engaged through real time interactions from sea, an ultra-high definition 2-hour documentary, and related community events. Sailing 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.

Northwest Passage Project 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 Northwest Passage Project will be led by the ISC. A cohort of 20 undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers will sail with a team of veteran scientists for a 22-day journey. During the trip, students will receive science content instruction, participate in hands-on research with the onboard scientists, and make site visits on land.

Because the Canadian Arctic is remote and costly to access, the Northwest Passage Project 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.

Inner Space Center Team

Gail Scowcroft, Principal Investigator, Project Director

Dwight Coleman, Co-Principal Investigator

Alex DeCiccio, Video Production Lead

Andrea Gingras, Project Coordinator

Chris Knowlton, Science Coordinator

Holly Morin, Lead Science Instructor 

Derek Sutcliffe, IP Streaming Engineer and Project Web Developer

Shipboard Science Team

Brice Loose, PhD., Co-Principal Investigator, Expedition Chief Scientist, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography

Donglai Gong, PhD., Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Holly Hogan, Canadian Wildlife Service

Minority Serving Institution Liaisons

Kevin Boswell, Florida International University

Amy Denton, California State University Channel Islands

Linda Fernandez, Virginia Commonwealth University

Miquel Gonzales-Meler, University of Illinois at Chicago

Maria Tzortziou, City College of New York

Production Team

David Clark, Producer/Director

Bob Elfstrom, Co-Director, Director of Photography

Duncan Clark, Cameraman

Ray Day, Soundman/DIT

Bruce Elfstrom, Line Producer

Juliana Hanle, Associate Producer


Hester Blum, Arctic Literature, Pennsylvania State University

Ken Burton, Maritime Historian, Vancouver Maritime Museum

Raymond Pierce, Ice Pilot, ION Geophysical

Edward Struzik, Arctic Journalist, Yale Environment 360

Graduate Students

Mark Barton, Florida International University

Anthony Bellagamba, University of Illinois at Chicago

Lydia Bienlien, Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Zak Kerrigan, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography

Mary Thaler, University of Laval

Undergraduate Students

Nikolas VanKeersbilck, California State University Channel Islands

Imani Blessitt, City College of New York

Krystian Kopka, City College of New York

Juliette Lamoureux, City College of New York

Talia Byerly, Florida International University

Catherine Guinovart, Florida International University

Kevin Montenegro, Florida International University

Mia Otokiak, Nunavet Impact Review Board

Theressa Ewa, University of Illinois at Chicago

Frances Crable, University of Illinois at Chicago

Miriam Hoffman, University of Illinois at Chicago

Stephanie Kadej, University of Illinois at Chicago

Humair Raziuddin, University of Illinois at Chicago

Laura Hickey, Virginia Commonwealth University

Timothy Keoprasert, Virginia Commonwealth University

Sonia Pham, Virginia Commonwealth University

Ericka Schulze, Virginia Commonwealth University