Inspiring Girls* Expeditions 2024 accepting applications

A group of young women sit in a circle in front of Gulkana Glacier learning from an instructor.
Photo by Verenis Lucas Bautista
2023 Girls* on Ice participants learn science, expedition and art skills from expedition leaders at Gulkana Glacier.

Inspiring Girls* Expeditions Alaska is accepting applications for a unique suite of tuition-free backcountry science and art education programs in summer 2024.

The expeditions are open to 16- to 18-year-old high school youths. Alaskans are highly encouraged to apply, and expeditions especially welcome marginalized youths who may have experienced barriers accessing science and outdoor-focused programs. Participants are selected through an application process that focuses on passion for science, art and the outdoors, rather than academic grades or past achievements.

The program is run through the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center, with additional funding from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Gulf Research Program.

Alaska’s 2024 expeditions will include mountaineering on an Alaska Range glacier and sea kayaking in Kachemak Bay. Teams of nine participants spend 12 days exploring glacier terrain or intertidal zones while gaining a greater understanding of ecosystem connections in each of these environments.

Inspiring Girls* Expeditions Alaska offers a unique opportunity to explore and understand the landscape through several different lenses.

“Participants might learn about a mountain near their camp first through a scientific lens that helps explain how it was formed, next through an artistic lens that views it through different colors and textures, and finally through a backcountry travel lens that helps in understanding the safest route to the summit,” said program director Joanna Young.

Participants explore these inspiring landscapes under the leadership of an instructor team composed of professional scientists, backcountry guides and artists.

A group of young women traverse a snow field on a rope line in front of Gulkana Glacier in the Alaska Range.
Photo by Hannah Mode
2023 Girls* on Ice participants learn to safely traverse snow fields at Gulkana Glacier by snowshoe while on a rope line.

“It is so wonderful to see the friendships and lifelong memories that develop over the 12-day expedition,” said program coordinator Sarah Clement. “We regularly hear from alumni that these new friends become their personal and professional networks, even years later.”

Inspiring Girls* Expeditions also provides participants with opportunities for post-expedition mentoring and to continue learning through their alumni network.

The asterisk in the Inspiring Girls* name conveys that the program welcomes cisgender girls and transgender, agender, two-spirit, nonbinary, intersex and genderqueer youths.

The last day to submit an application is Jan. 31, 2024. For more information, please visit the program website.

ADDITIONAL CONTACT:  Stephanie Wright,