Crossing the Gender Gap

Crossing the Gender Gap

Katy House thought she would live a fairly conventional life and be married with children at her age. Instead, at 27, she is the first woman in the world to travel on the thousand-mile-long South Pole operations Traverse, or SPoT, as a diesel mechanic.

And all because of a chance comment one afternoon two years ago.

As she was leaving work one afternoon in Spokane, Wash., Katy House’s boss asked her if she would be interested in taking a job in Antarctica as a diesel mechanic at the vehicle maintenance facility at McMurdo Station.

Person works on a big machine.

Photo Credit: Laura Gerwin
Katy House works on a traverse tractor.

“You want me to go where? I can’t go to Antarctica,” House responded.

“Why can’t you go to Antarctica?” asked her boss, Mark.

“Well, why can’t I go to Antarctica?” thought House, who grew up being encouraged, “to do whatever she wanted to do, whatever she loved.”

House eventually accepted the job at McMurdo Station. She now spends the austral summer driving 1,000-mile-long supply trips from one of the United States’ two year-round research stations to the other. At least two other women – Judy Goldsberry and Christy Carney – have driven on the traverse. House is the first to serve as the team’s mechanic.

The mission for the team that travels the longest, coldest route on Earth is to re-supply the U.S. Antarctic Program’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station with fuel. The program is managed by the National Science Foundation.

Located in the middle of the windiest, coldest, driest, largest desert on Earth, Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station supports a variety of scientific research, with experiments focused around radio telescopes that are helping scientists to learn about the early universe, a massive sensor looking for elusive subatomic particles called neutrinos, and an observatory that monitors the levels of various gases, including greenhouse gases, in the atmosphere.

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Source:: Antarctic Sun Featured Articles

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