K a t y  M c N i t t
Expert on Ozone and Climate Change

I'm at the South Pole as more of a manager than a scientist, though I do a good deal of research, too. There are two of us here to maintain NOAA's projects. Jeff Otten keeps all of the instruments running. I'm responsible for taking observations and sending our data to Colorado for analysis. My official title is "Officer in Charge of the NOAA/CMDL South Pole Observatory". We measure things in the atmosphere which might affect the Earth's climate.

How did I get here? Just lucky, I guess! I'm a Lieutenant (junior grade) in the NOAA Corps. It's a lot like being an officer in the U.S. Navy. We're trained to drive ships, fly aircraft, and serve as managers for the rest of NOAA. After two years on a ship I wanted to travel, and I knew I'd regret it if I didn't at least try for the assignment in Antarctica, but I had no idea I'd get it! That was in 1992, and after a year of training in Boulder, Colorado I came to the South Pole. I lived here for a year, then went back to Boulder. Imagine my surprise when I asked for a repeat assignment and Got it! So I'm back at the Pole for a second year, and I'm really enjoying it.

I didn't tell you about school. Most officers in the NOAA Corps have science degrees, many from graduate studies after college. I have a Biology degree from Colorado College. My second major was Playwriting and Directing!

My personal motivation for coming back includes my belief that you "can't do the South Pole right in one year". It's such a magic place! I wasn't ready to leave last time without hoping I'd come back. Really, the only way to describe this place is Magic.

I have several goals for the next year. At work, I want to learn as much as I can about Global Change. My personal goals are to exercise, to floss every night, and to finish writing a novel I started two years ago. So far I'm doing well!

Other hobbies, besides writing and exercising, include painting, making various art projects, and goofing around with my friends. We go for walks outside, play cards, watch videos, and hang out. On Friday nights we get together and read poetry or short stories to each other. On Wednesdays I meet with the "trauma team". There's only one doctor on station, so she's training a group of us to help her with medical emergencies. Most of us are already trained paramedics, so it's good practice for us. Can you think of other jobs that we share, since there is no town nearby?

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