22 June 2023 • STEM Horvath '24 Researching Water Flow in Alaska

Through the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Woods Hole, Mass., MaryBridget Horvath ’24 is conducting climate change research in the Arctic.

MaryBridget Horvath ’24 is spending two weeks this summer tracking the effects of water flow from the melting of frozen ground to lakes and other bodies of water in Alaska through an internship with the Polaris Project.


MaryBridget Horvath '24

Horvath, a geoscience and biology double major, is working in the Yukon Delta tracking permafrost melt, seeing what it picks up, as it moves to lakes and bogs and how that either emits gasses or adds to the lake chemistry. Prior to that, she met fellow student researchers and completed training on decolonial researching and reporting.

The Polaris Project, run through the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Woods Hole, Mass., brings together university student researchers from across the world to conduct their own research on climate change and its effects on the Arctic.

“You can think about any major climate article and they’re going to mention the ice caps are melting and other effects of climate change on the Arctic because it’s such a novel environment,” says Horvath. “To be able to do research on the Arctic is really fascinating to me.”

Horvath had previously conducted research on the water system of a spring within Seneca Lake with Associate Professor of Geoscience David Finkelstein and last summer on chloride levels in Seneca Lake with Professor of Environmental Studies John Halfman. This is Horvath’s first time conducting her own, new research.

“I feel like this experience will prepare me to have a huge opportunity to think, ‘What do I actually want to study? What am I interested in?’” says Horvath. “Not only am I a student doing research, but I’m also doing new research and contributing to a body of knowledge about the Arctic and climate change science, which is super cool.”

Horvath learned about The Polaris Project through Associate Professor of Geoscience Tara Curtin. She is excited for how this may help her career as she will have the opportunity to present her research to the American Geophysical Union during a conference later this year.

Outside of this work, Horvath will serve as an Orientation Leader for the Spark! Outdoor Adventure Program, where she will hire and train guides who lead outdoor activities including hiking, sailing and kayaking. She is the president of the Women in Geoscience Club and will be the Lead Community Assistant for the William Smith Hill and a geoscience Teaching Fellow. 

Photo at top: Polaris Project field site in Yukon Delta.