sealPurdue News

August 1998

Student looks forward to cool research opportunity

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A forestry major from Purdue University will spend the first semester of his junior year on a frozen continent completely devoid of trees.

Benjamin Hasse
The National Science Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America have chosen Benjamin Hasse of Kingsford, Mich., as their candidate to spend next fall helping Antarctic researchers.

"No obvious connection to my major -- no trees in the Antarctic! But I should learn more about how I'll function in a harsh environment," Hasse said. Harsh is an understatement for the Antarctic, where the world's record low temperature was recorded -- minus 128.6 degrees Fahrenheit -- and wind gusts can reach nearly 200 miles per hour.

Every three years the National Science Foundation permits the Boy Scouts to designate an Eagle Scout to join its scientists, helping to fulfill the U.S. government agency's goal of providing students with research opportunities outside the classroom.

From October through mid-January, Hasse will travel to different research stations on the frozen continent.

He becomes the ninth Eagle Scout chosen for the Antarctic Scout Program. Paul Siple was the first, traveling with Adm. Richard Byrd's 1928 expedition at the explorer's request. Siple eventually became a researcher and one of Byrd's right-hand men.

"We chose Ben from 112 candidates and four finalists -- all outstanding students with proven scouting backgrounds," said John Alline, national director of Boy Scout training. "His natural curiosity about science and strong communication skills made him a standout. We also were impressed with his continuing service at a Lafayette homeless shelter."

Hasse said, "I don't have any specific scientific skills, but I'm told an extra pair of hands will be useful. I would be happy to dig holes in the snow or pull sleds myself just for the opportunity and adventure." Hasse, who is majoring in Spanish along with forestry, has maintained a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point average during his two years at Purdue, and he is a Purdue Beering Scholar.

The Steven C. Beering Scholarships and Fellowships were created in 1986 by Purdue President Beering to attract students of the highest caliber. The award covers all college expenses, including fees and tuition, room and board, books and spending money.

Undergraduate recipients who maintain the required standards hold the Beering Scholarship throughout their time at Purdue and may convert it to a fellowship to pursue master's and doctoral degrees at Purdue.

CONTACTS: Hasse, (765) 495-3546; (after May 14, call his parent's home at (906) 774-6820); e-mail: ; and John Alline, (972) 580-7835; e-mail:

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: A head-and-shoulders color photograph of Benjamin Hasse is available from the Purdue News Service. Color photo, electronic transmission, and Web and ftp download available. Photo ID: Hasse.
Download here.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page