Imagine going to work this time of year, but it’s a steady 20-degrees below zero. It’s reality for 2008 Midway High School graduate Ryan Dyer.
Dyer is a computer systems analyst for the United States Antarctica Program, which helps support the National Science Foundation’s research at McMurdo Station - located about 850-miles north of the South Pole.
Dyer applied for and accepted the job early in 2017, got medical clearance, went through thorough outdoor survival training and then boarded a plane for Antarctica. He arrived in early July and remembers his first impression when the plane door opened.
"It was cold!”, Ryan exclaimed in an exclusive telephone interview with News Channel 25. “When I was getting ready to get off the plane, I was really excited, and I stepped foot off on to the ground, and I think it was about -50, -60 wind chill off of the runway we have, and that cold just hits you and you kind of go into shock, but once you get over it, it's pretty cool. You kind of go, 'All right. I'm here'."
Ryan says McMurdo Station currently has 163 people there, with the numbers going up to around a thousand during the Southern Hemisphere summer, which starts in October. He stresses right now that it’s dark 24/7 with temperatures consistently around 20-degrees below zero and wind chills that can reach 70-degrees below zero.
Ryan’s job as a systems administrator is keeping the community’s computers and servers up and running, and that his job has its meteorological and cyber challenges.
"We have quite slow internet down here,” he says. “We have probably half of most people's homes have, and during the summer we'll share it with nearly a thousand people, and so we can't really use any cloud services, there's no Netflix, no Hulu, so we kind of try to keep things operating here."
Ryan’s job on Antarctica runs through December. If you’d like to follow Ryan’s journey there and want to learn more about the United States Antarctic Program, click on the following links:
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