Walking on Glaciers with Dr. Mauri Pelto and Melanie Gajewski ’14

On March 3rd, students gathered in Daniels Auditorium, seeking seats next to classmates. Melanie Gajewski, who graduated Nichols College in 2014, stood at the front of the room. The projector screen lowered behind her and everyone went quiet.

For the past three years, Dr. Mauri Pelto, Nichols College professor and NASA recognized glaciologist, and Melanie have worked together to create videos for the college. Following graduation, Melanie was given an amazing opportunity: Dr. Pelto asked her to join his research team on the North Cascades Mountain Range this past summer. She was part of a five-person team that traveled across glaciers and collected scientific data regarding glacial melt and recession. Dr. Pelto has directed the North Cascade Glacier Climate Project since 1984, charting trips to predesignated glaciers each year. Melanie was specifically recruited to be the videographer, taping the overall day-to-day experiences as well as scientific research. She prepared for six months prior to the expedition, going to Wachusett Mountain and practicing self-arrest techniques as well as improving her hiking abilities. She was excited for the trip, but had no idea what it truly had in store.

“I thought I was just going to go out there, hike a mountain, climb some ice. I didn’t think I’d learn so much about myself,” Melanie told the audience. During her journey, she connected with nature, even writing a book about her thoughts, experiences and revelations.

The end result was an amazing video, chronicling their trip to Washington State and their two-week journey across the glacier. I have known both Melanie and Professor Pelto for a few years now, and following their riveting presentation I only had one question: Where do I sign up? No amount of words can describe the beautiful mountain imagery: click here to watch and enjoy for yourself.

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