Antarctica by degrees
9 July 2018
“I feel guilty that I’m not studying after work now!”
Scott Base Carpenter, Killian Russell, has been doing more than maintain New Zealand’s research base in Antarctica for the last six months, he’s also been studying for his bachelor in Business Studies.
“I had two papers to finish: Mathematics and Core Management Principles. I would do a full day’s work, then sit down to study” he says. “It’s almost the perfect environment to study as your meals are cooked for you and you obviously don’t lose time commuting. It’s hard to study when the Auroras are kicking off though.”
Killian, originally from Dublin, Ireland, has spent the past four years working towards his degree through the University of London. He sat the final two exams in May, under the watchful eye of invigilator, Bill Henriksen from the US National Science Foundation at McMurdo Station (3km from Scott Base).
“All the paperwork was sent down on the last flight in April. Bill made sure it was all in order, watched me while I sat the exam, and ensured I followed all the procedures.” He adds, “They were two and three hours each, so I really appreciate his commitment.”
Bill scanned Killian’s answers back to the University of London. The hardcopies will be flown back to London in early July when the first flight in two months will arrive - and leave - McMurdo Sound. He’ll have to wait until August for his results.
Killian is Antarctica New Zealand’s carpenter at Scott Base. He flew down in October 2017, and will fly back to New Zealand this October.
“I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish my degree this year but the chance to work and live at Scott Base for a year was worth the risk” he says.
Although summer means 24 hour light in Antarctica, in winter, it’s the opposite.
“We’re celebrating midwinter at the moment. That really takes on new meaning when there’s 24 hours of darkness seven days a week! I’ve found my degree really useful here, especially the psychology and management papers. There is only 12 of us that run Scott Base through the seven dark months of winter, so we have to get along!”
Killian hopes to continue his studies, aiming for a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development. He’ll hopefully graduate with his Business Degree in London next March, where he’s likely to meet the University’s Chancellor Princess Anne.
“It’ll also be great to finally meet my online classmates after four years of study. Finishing my degree down here really does embody the University of London’s saying: ‘Studied Everywhere, Valued Anywhere’!”