UAB graduate student Kevin Peters, 22, says his mom is worried about her youngest child going to Antarctica. To ease her fears, he’s been buying her books on the frozen continent to help her learn where he’ll be living during the next couple of months.
“She knows what a phenomenal opportunity this is for me,” he said. “My dad and brother are very excited, but my mom and sister are apprehensive. Plus, this is the first year all five of us won’t spend Christmas together.”
While Peters acknowledges he’ll miss the turkey and dressing on Thanksgiving and opening presents with his family on Christmas, he can’t help but be excited about heading to the icy realm of Antarctica.
“This is my first time in Antarctica and I’ll be in the company of experienced Antarctic explorers. I’m honored to have been chosen to work on this team, and I can’t wait to go. I get to see a new part of the world that few people get to see.”
Antarctica gives Peters a chance to perform research and learn more about where his future may be headed.
“And I get to work in one of the most remote, yet beautiful places in the world. I’ve got an adventurous spirit,” he said. “Who knows, this might open a new door for me, in terms of making a career out of research or even teaching at the college level."
This isn’t the first time Peters has accompanied UAB researchers out into the field. As an undergraduate, he conducted land crab population studies in the Bahamas with biologist and UAB School of Natural Sciences Mathematics Dean James McClintock, Ph.D., and UAB biologist Ken Marion, Ph.D. In Costa Rica, he studied rainforest ecology with Marion and UAB biologist Anne Cusic, Ph.D.
Peters prepared for the Antarctica trip by earning open water scuba certification.
“Though I won’t be diving, I wanted to be certified so I would understand better what the team would need from me in the boat while they were diving.”
He also had his wisdom teeth removed as part of the pre-trip medical exams necessary before departing for the two-month trip.
“Even though they weren’t bothering me at all, it is one of the specifications for going.”