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'Expert in Instructional Technologies'

Nina has recently obtained her PhD in Instructional Technology at Ohio University. She is passionate about distance learning in an extreme environment, with a focus on glaciers and virtual reality. Nina is an expert mountaineer and has done a ton of alpine climbing, sailing, motorcycle, she really loves combining expedition and research.


Meet Nina, before the expedition:

Hi Nina!

Where are you right now and where are you originally from?

I am currently in Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming in the U.S. I was born in Germany, and when I was two years old, my dad passed away, so we moved to Bosnia, where I grow up. Later on, we moved to Serbia, where I finished my undergrad. I had a great opportunity to do my master’s degree and Ph.D. at Ohio University in the U.S..


What is your job?

As I have just finished my Ph.D, I am looking for my next opportunity in academia. In the meanwhile, trying to pull some tires and prepare as much as I can for the expedition. At the same time, I am working on educational outreach for the expedition, talking with many schools worldwide.


Can you describe yourself in 3 words?

Optimist, Hard worker, Loyal.


What does “Climate Sentinels” mean for you?

This expedition means a lot to me. It gives me hope that science is approachable to everyone with the use of technology. On top of that, the findings from the samples that will be collected during our expedition in Svalbard will answer many questions that are crucial to informing how to protect the Arctic’s ecosystems.


What are you hoping to achieve with this project?

Climate Sentinels is not just an expedition with 6 female scientists. I hope it will encourage other scientists to move borders and say YES, it’s possible to do more “clean science.” With the use of VR, we will bring this unique environment to the general public, and many people will have the opportunity to see and learn about the Arctic virtually. 


Is there anything that scares/worries you about the expedition?

With the rise of temperatures, glaciers have more open crevasses, which can be a big challenge. I’m also scared of polar bears and aliens (I guess the movie “The Thing” had a big influence on me).


What are you most excited about with this project?

I am really excited to be that piece of the puzzle that will connect the general public, youth, science, and the Arctic. The best feeling is when I know to answer outstanding questions that we are getting from many schools around the globe, and I can share the knowledge that I will gain from the expedition. I’m so happy to be part of this team. Since was the last one to join Climate Sentinels, I got huge support from Alia, Heidi, Anne, Silje and Dorothee. Honesty, with this team I’m not scared of aliens any more :)

Meet Nina, after the expedition:

Hi Nina!

Where in the world are you, and how has your life changed since Climate Sentinels

After the expedition, I went back to the US, Kansas City, to start a new job as an assistant professor at Northwest Missouri State University. It was great to come back to the US, Missouri, but I’m definitely missing ice, snow, and friends.


If you had to summarize Climate Sentinels in three words, what would these words be?

These days I’m playing one online game called Wordle. My pick to summarise Climate Sentinels in three words would be: Edge, Epiphany, Laotong.


If there was one moment during the expedition that you will never forget, what would that be?

It’s so hard to think about “just” one moment because every day had a minimum of 30 of these moments. I think the last day when we decided to continue without making any middle camp, was too dangerous to stop because we were close to the sea ice and polar bears. I remember Silje standing in front of the sun looking into the horizon; it was around 2 am, we were all exhausted; it was very windy and cold, I was behind her, and her hair was the same color as the sun. Still, that moment seeing Silje as a part of nature as an eternal flame was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever seen.


During your pre-expedition interview you mentioned that “crevasses and bears (and aliens!)” worried you. In hindsight, did you ever get scared by any of those things during the trip?

I can easily add more to that list, such as sea ice and storm. Looking back to the pre-expedition interview, I can confirm that thinking about bears even now in a warm office scared me, especially after seeing footprints, how close they were to us and how big they are.


What have you learnt from this expedition?

WoW, I can easily say that expedition for me was one more Ph.D., in every aspect. I learned so much, especially about myself and the real picture of the arctic.


Would you like to embark on another expedition with these crazy ladies again? And if yes where?

With Heidi, Silje and Anne, I’m ready to go even to the Olympics curling competition, I need to say I don’t know anything about curling, but I’m sure we will be back with a medal. This is the best team ever, and I really hope we will have a chance to work again all together with Alia and Dorothee on another project.

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