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Plano West Senior High Alumna Makes Global Impact as Research Fellow in the Arctic Circle

July 20, 2023

A former Plano ISD student is leaving her mark in the Arctic Circle!

Kira McLeod, a 2021 Plano West graduate and member of the Royales Drill Team, was chosen as a prestigious research fellow by Dartmouth University. Kira's remarkable achievements led her to be selected for The Joint Science Education Project (JSEP), an international collaboration between Greenland, the United States, and Denmark. The project aims to educate and inspire the next generation of polar and STEM professionals, making an impact in science and addressing the rapid changes occurring in the Arctic. Kira was one of only six students chosen from across the United States!

image of kira in arctic circle

Launched during the International Polar Year in 2007, JSEP brings together high school and university students and teachers from the three countries, offering them a unique opportunity to study polar environments and explore the human dimensions of this rapidly changing region. Kira, currently majoring in nutrition at Prairie View A&M, deeply desires to help underserved communities attain nutritional equality.

image of kira in front of snow

Kira recently returned from a remarkable three-week research trip to the Arctic Circle, where she had the opportunity of a lifetime. As part of her journey, she was airlifted by a distinguished team to Summit camp, located 10,000 feet on an awe-inspiring ice shelf. This thrilling experience has further fueled her passion for science and her commitment to making a difference in the lives of those who need it the most.

image of kira

With funding for JSEP provided by Naalakkersuisut (the Government of Greenland) and the U.S. National Science Foundation through a generous grant to Dartmouth College, Kira's participation highlights the exceptional talent and determination found within the Plano ISD community. Her accomplishments serve as a testament to the boundless opportunities available to young individuals in pursuing their dreams, no matter where they come from.

image of kira

Kira's journey exemplifies the power of dedication and the importance of supporting aspiring professionals who aim to create positive change. 

We are Plano ISD proud of Kira!