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Laura Rip '04: Seven Years on the Ice

  • Friday, October 23, 2015
  • 3:30 PM–5:00 PM
  • Commons Annex Lecture Hall

Hear about Laura's time spent in Antarctica


Engineering in Antarctica includes it share of environmental and personal challenges. Laura will discuss building design and maintenance strategies relative to such cold and harsh locations and share her experience living at the South Pole Station for over a year including nine months of isolation from the outside world.

Next up for the U.S. Antarctic Program is overhauling McMurdo Station, the largest on the continent and the main port that supports the U.S. and various international programs. The new master plan will prepare infrastructure for state-of-art science missions and prioritize logistical and energy efficiency.  The process will take nearly two decades from funding to implementation.

About Laura

After moving from Washington State to Texas to Michigan where Laura attended Calvin College and graduated with a mechanical engineering concentration, she was inspired to work in the renewable energy industry and made a move to Colorado to work for the National Wind Technology Center as a test engineer for pre-market wind turbine blades.

After first hearing that people actually lived and worked on the southern-most continent, she started applying for any jobs possible, and providentially landed a facilities engineering job for McMurdo Station. Laura cut her teeth in the building sciences by designing and tracking facilities change orders from adding safety ladders for fuel tanks to new air intakes for the diesel generators. In 2007, Laura spent over a year straight on the “Ice” as the facilities engineer for the South Pole Station diving into building controls, metering and power systems. When the energy engineer position opened up, she joined the full-time staff in the Denver office from until 2012. In 2010, she won the inaugural ‘Young Energy Professional of the Year” award from the Association of Energy Engineers for her energy savings Antarctica.

Now she works for CH2M, a large engineering firm located in the Denver area, doing energy consulting for the military including performing energy audits, writing energy management plans, and commissioning building systems. Laura will always miss working with the Antarctic team and wonders if her trajectory will lead her back again one day.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

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