Rutgers University

Press Releases

To Help Understand Climate Change, Rutgers Roommates Head for Antarctica

Taylor Dodge, left, and her roommate, Rachael Young, are headed for opposite ends of Antarctica next month. Credits: Cameron Bowman, Rutgers University

Taylor Dodge and Rachael Young, Rutgers University-New Brunswick seniors, are friends, roommates, South Jersey natives – and headed to opposite ends of Antarctica this month for separate research projects to gather data on the effects of climate change. 

They will spend the Antarctic summer making the most of a challenge and opportunity they’ve both been eager to embrace since their first year in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

Dodge, from Woodstown in Salem County, is headed for the West Antarctic Peninsula, the fastest-warming place on the continent, where she will spend six weeks at sea. She will collect krill – tiny crustaceans that are important food for many marine animals – for the Long Term Ecological Research project, which has been gathering data on the peninsula since 1990. Then, she’ll spend six weeks at Palmer Station, an American research station on the peninsula, helping to analyze the data and shed light on the impact of climate change on various species along the peninsula.

Sign Up for E-News

Young, from Ocean City in Cape May County, will spend 12 weeks at sea in Terra Nova Bay in the western Ross Sea, close to the International Date Line, gathering data on an ice-loving krill species – crystal krill, which serves as food for many fishes and birds. She and postdoctoral fellow Corie Charpentier will deploy a submersible robot glider with an echo sounder to determine the abundance of these creatures, their location in the water column and their relationship with other species in the food web. Her work is in support of Grace Saba, assistant professor of marine and coastal sciences.

Dodge and Young met as first-year students in the oceanography class taught by Rutgers University-New Brunswick marine scientists Oscar Schofield, Scott Glenn and Josh Kohut. They also were inspired by a documentary about Schofield’s work in the Antarctic.

“As soon as I heard that undergraduates could do this, I wanted to go,” Dodge said.

She applied twice to go to Antarctica, and wasn’t selected. “Then, this year, I applied again and kept my fingers crossed,” she said. “Just before I went to Europe this summer, I called and asked if I’d gotten it because I needed to know for planning purposes. I told Oscar I would take a leave of absence (from school) if I had to, so that he wouldn’t have to worry about my getting home in time to graduate. This time, I got it.”

Young is no stranger to research, having worked for two years with Saba on a fisheries-focused project on black sea bass and spiny dogfish at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s laboratory at Sandy Hook. For her, that experience and her upcoming adventure are part of the advantage of attending a large research university. “I found out my first year that undergraduates could go to Antarctica, and I knew I had to go there,” Young said.

Dodge, a seasoned adventurer, is a volunteer firefighter with the East Franklin Fire Department in Franklin Township, Somerset County, and has traveled extensively in Europe, North America and South America. Antarctica will be her fourth continent, and she plans to visit all seven eventually. Despite a tendency to seasickness, she plans to join the Navy after graduation.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - February 16, 2018


E STREET - While a tired nation is demanding gun control (yet again), Springsteen guitarist Stevie Van Zandt is having none of it. No stranger to political opinions, the New Jersey icon tweeted "What happened to us? We are averaging 2 school shootings per week AND WE DO NOTHING ABOUT IT!" Many tone-deaf politicians on Capitol Hill ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 15, 2018


TRENTON - As state lawmakers are set to announce a bill at 11 a.m. to decriminalize pot - an issue that has consumed the Statehouse -  the Record is reporting on an often-ignored issue: the state's ridiculously antiquated liquor laws. For example, supermarkets in the state can only have up to two liquor licenses, stemming ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 14, 2018


ON AIR - Gov. Phil Murphy had his very first "Ask the Governor" monthly program last night. He appeared on News 12 New Jersey to field your questions about all things New Jersey. Impossible to recap an hour segment. Of course, we will try: New Jersey should be a better place to retire. The state pension mess will be solved.

The Jaffe Briefing - February 13, 2018


ON THE RAILS - Perhaps Donald Trump is still ticked that New Jerseyans had no interest in his team, the New Jersey Generals, which played football in the now-defunct USFL. Or, perhaps he is angry we didn't frequent his now-defunct casinos in Atlantic City. Or, perhaps he is seeking revenge for the fact that 546,345 more New Jerseyans voted for ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 12, 2018


ON THE RAILS - Anyone who commutes by train should be laser focused on Donald Trump today. Not to capture the latest buffoonery, but because the President is unveiling his long-awaited infrastructure plan. Will this "master of the deal" step up and deliver the $15 billion of so that was promised for the Gateway Tunnel project? Or will he play ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 9, 2018


LEONIA - You can't make everyone happy. That's the message for Leonia officials, who solved one issue, and are now dealing with another. First, they appeased residents by blocking George Washington Bridge traffic from heading down 60 local streets. But now, as the Record reports, local businesses are breathing fire because, well, the ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, February 19, 7:00 PM

Villagers Theatre, Somerset

Hairspray Auditions

Arts & Entertainment


Tue, February 20


Project Feeder Watch

Green Home & Garden


Wed, February 21


Project Feeder Watch

Green Home & Garden

Don’t Blame Hurricanes for Most Big Storm Surges in Northeast

February 16, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Hurricanes spawn most of the largest storm surges in the northeastern U.S., right? Wrong, according to a study by Rutgers University–New Brunswick scientists.

Extratropical cyclones, including nor’easters and other non-tropical storms, generate most of the large storm surges in the Northeast, according to the study in the Journal of ...

Criminal Charges for Rutgers Student Protesters From $15 Min. Wage Campaign

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Police have issued charges to a dozen of the Rutgers University student activists who disrupted a public meeting in December.

The students, from the Rutgers chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops, disrupted the Dec. 12 Board of Trustees meeting as part of their campaign for a university-wide $15 minimum wage.

As the meeting started, students pushed through a rope ...

Rutgers-New Brunswick to Exhibit Papers of Sen. Frank Lautenberg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey’s longest-serving U.S. senator, left an outsize imprint on state politics and national policy by the time he died while in office, in 2013.

His papers, now curated and maintained by the Rutgers University Libraries, encompass 2,250 boxes of hats, buttons, campaign stickers, vinyl records, paper documents and other artifacts that, laid end ...

Verizon Features Vets4Warriors on FiOS 1 News

February 12, 2018

Fatima Aguilar’s first day on the job at Vets4Warriors was anything but normal. A military veteran serving as a Second Lieutenant with the New Jersey National Guard, she found herself in a potential suicide crisis situation as soon as she hit the phones.

“I started around three and a half years ago on the overnight shift, and my very first call was a US Marine veteran who was on a ...


Letter to the Editor: Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

February 15, 2018

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

Somerset Patriots Sign Frontier League All-Star RHP Randy McCurry

February 17, 2018

The Somerset Patriots have announced the signing of right-handed relief pitcher Randy McCurry for the 2018 season.

“I’m excited to play in the Atlantic League this year,” said McCurry. “It’ll be a transition for me but I am ready to face some really good competition and help the team win.”

McCurry enters his first season with the Somerset Patriots and ...