SC17: Alice Qannik Glenn

SC17: Alice Qannik Glenn

Alice Glenn is a recent graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Studies.  She has 6 years of intern work experience with NASA contractors such as Lockheed Martin Landing and Recovery Systems, QinetiQ North America, and ASRC Space and Defense.

An Alaskan Native (Iñupiaq Eskimo), Alice was born and raised in the northernmost city in the United States—Barrow, Alaska.  Astronaut Harrison Schmitt sparked her passion and interest in the space program when she was 10 years old when he visited her village to give a presentation on the geology of the moon.

She received a program manager’s commendation for working on the Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle landing and recovery systems parachute compartment of the parachute test vehicle.  She recently completed a shadowing program of several ASRC Space and Defense employees working on the service and crew module for the Orion program at the Kennedy Space Center.

Alice’s work experience reflects a more technical aspect of the space program, and she is interested in exploring and learning about the human and aerospace life science area of spaceflight.  Long-term spaceflight will have significant effects on humans and life science in the future, and she is focused on the long-term horizon.

Alice has also been a contributor to the dedicated Alaska Native portal IAMIÑUPIAQ.COM.  Making her insights and experiences within the space industry available to the 12,000 Iñupiaq Eskimo members of her Alaska Native corporation.

Alice has been working at UMIAQ Environmental, LLC for the past year and a half as an Environmental Specialist.  She enjoys diversifying her career path and hopes to continue her education by entering the Human Factors Master Program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University soon.

Learn more about Alice here ...

Long-term Human Spaceflight: Lessons to be learned from the Iñupiat way of living, working, and thriving in the high Arctic


Uvaŋa Qannik Glenn. My name is Alice Qannik Glenn. I’m an Alaskan Native Iñupiaq woman, and I was born and raised in the northernmost town in United States named Utqiaġvik, Alaska – located 350 miles above the Arctic Circle on the coast of the Arctic Ocean. 

I was 19 years old during my first internship with NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  As you might imagine, I was pretty nervous and a little out of my comfort zone, but very excited.  I was young, invincible, wide-eyed and ready to take on the world.  But I quickly learned that life and work for a young, Native American woman, thousands of miles away from all the people, support, and food—that this was not going to be easy.  I had thrusted myself into the technical, conservative, and male-dominated American space program with no more than years’ worth of undergrad studies.  I asked myself, what could a young Native woman ever be able to contribute to the space program?

Since then, I have asked myself that question hundreds of times over, and here I am almost 10 years later perhaps able to provide a small answer. 

As you all know, we are approaching the next phase of human space travel—long-term human spaceflight.

Living in long-term spaceflight in some ways is similar to living in the high Arctic.  It is not uncommon for NASA scientists to execute technical case-studies in similar extreme environments to learn about the human behaviors that may be experienced or exhibited in long-term spaceflight.  The Arctic is a harsh and extreme environment where the Iñupiat people have survived for thousands of years, and they have been executing this study every day of their lives since time immemorial. The traditional knowledge passed down generation after generation is what has kept Iñupiat people alive. 

Alaska is sometimes referred to as the Last Frontier. Iñupiat traditional knowledge may exemplify the traits that the next generation of long-term space travel astronauts need for survival in the final frontier – deep space.