18 February 2022

#AntarcticLog: Being a Roughneck

Posted by Shane Hanlon

#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here.

Hey! I’ve got a new project to share, one that emerged directly from my Antarctica science research experience aboard the JOIDES Resolution. This is a comic from I Was A Kid

Meet Ian Cortez, a roughneck (driller) working to bring sediment up from the seafloor to give scientists data that will allow them to tell the story of Antarctica’s deep past. Ian’s a second-generation roughneck, inspired by his father, who did as Ian is doing — leaving home and family in the Philippines to work at sea aboard the JR. 

Ian is one of 16 science careerists who form the proof of concept for I Was  A Kid, a program designed to invite a new generation of participants in STEM (and STEAM!) professions.  (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math).  These profiles, reflecting diversity in race, religion background, gender, sexuality, mental and physical ability, have shared the stories of their paths to their jobs — including the twists and turns along the way. 

I Was a Kid portrays these stories in comics, text, photographs, graphics, audio, and (soon) video.  Ian’s profile is one of five associated with the International Ocean Discovery Program, a partner. 

When I first met Ian, it was on the JR’s bustling drill floor. I drew the floor — and the derrick above — from a small crane-operator’s shack above the floor, clad in my down pants, jacket, and mittens. 

The drawing formed the background of #AntarcticLog comic #100, sent out via social media from aboard the ship, as it dodged ice bergs and whales in the Southern Ocean. 

Please follow @IWasAKidSTEAM on Twitter and Instagram to stay up with the latest. And consider whether your institution’s DEI goals might lead you to a capsule of your own profiles. If you’re a teacher, let me know how you intend to use it in your classroom — and how you and your students like what you see.  

Karen Romano Young is a writer, artist, deep-sea diver, and polar explorer. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram