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Students share in research, adventure by e-mail

July 1, 2001

PERU — The life of a scientist can often be nomadic, searching the planet, the oceans, the stars for new, undiscovered knowledge.

It’s not a vocation for everyone, though the romanticism of visiting exotic regions of the globe in the guise of work can be very attractive to young, inquisitive minds.

Rich Brandt’s visit to Peru Central School recently stirred the curiosity of the students that he had been communicating with by e-mail for several months while researching the weather of Antarctica last winter.

It’s curiosity that could some day lead to career choices.

"I’ve always had in mind a couple of career choices," said Tiffany Rawson, a 9th grader at Peru.

"Since we’ve been talking with Mr. Brandt, I’ve thought a lot about how interesting it would be to be a scientist and to travel to places like Antarctica."

Brandt, a friend of Charles Mitchell — Rawson’s earth-science teacher — started e-mailing with Mitchell’s students last fall. The e-mails continued when Brandt’s research vessel became icebound off the coast of Antarctica.

"We’d ask him about what’s going on down there, how the observations were going," said 9th-grader Shelby Perry. "It was very interesting to find out he was stuck in the ice."

Perry asked her new "pen-pal" if he could send her an autographed picture from Antarctica. He wrote back and said he would, and when he arrived at her class, he had a picture of two emperor penguins, signed by him.

Both Rawson and Perry said their interest in science had been fueled by Mitchell’s earth-science class and by their connection to Brandt and his experiences.

Jeff Meyers can be reached by e-mail:

JEFF MEYERS, Copyright ©2001, Plattsburgh Publishing Co., Plattsburgh, NY, Division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc., Campbell Hall, NY.


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