Wants to map the Arctic Ocean through different lenses

Her name means "luck", and she feels fortunate to have spent her time as a Fulbright scholar at UiT in Tromsø. At the end of her stay, Onni Irish invites to an interdisciplinary workshop for 5 June that will examine the different ways the Arctic Ocean can be mapped.

Moe, Trude Haugseth
Bilde av forfatter finnes ikke, dette er en placeholder
Trude Haugseth Moe
Publisert: 25.05.18 00:00 Oppdatert: 02.11.21 11:08

Onni Irish has spent a year as a Fulbright* scholar at the JCLOS –The K.G. Jebsen Centre for the Law of the Sea – at the Faculty of Law at UiT.

American Fulbright scholar Onni Irish feels fortunate to have spent a year at UiT. Now she invites to a interdisciplinary workshop on how her field, Ocean mapping, can be seen through many different lenses: politically, economically, scientifically, ecologically... Foto: Trude Haugseth Moe

 I will be sad to leave in a few weeks; my time at the JCLOS has been a fantastic experience, Irish says.

Irish has a Master of Science in Ocean Mapping, from the University of New Hampshire and a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

As a culmination to her time in Tromsø, Irish wishes to give something back to UiT. She has worked with JCLOS colleagues to organize an interdisciplinary workshop: Mapping The Arctic Ocean.

Mapping Can be Applied to Different Disciplines

The main theme of the 5 June Workshop is that mapping can be applied to a variety of disciplines. One can map the seafloor, just as one can ‘map’ a legal framework, says Irish.

The purpose of the workshop is to explore how these different ways the Arctic Ocean
can be ‘mapped’ interact, intersect, and overlap.

Invited leading expert in ocean mapping

Her former graduate school adviser and one of the world’s leading experts on ocean mapping, Dr. Larry Mayer, will be the keynote speaker. One of Dr. Mayer’s key research interests is seafloor mapping applications to Law of the Sea issues.

There will also be speakers from UiT: Dr. Paul Wassman (ecology) and Dr. Arne Eide (fishery) from the Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics; Dr. Berit Kristoffersen (social science) from the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education; and Dr. Ingvild U. Jakobsen and Dr. Vito De Lucia from JCLOS at the Faculty of Law.

Some of the speakers from UiT in front of Árdna, where the workshop "Mapping the Arctic Ocean" will take place 5 June. From the left: Arne Eide (BFE), Vito De Lucia (JCLOS/Faculty of Law), Berit Kristoffersen (HSL) and Onni Irish (JCLOS/Faculty of Law) Foto: T. H. Moe

In addition, Irish has worked with the U.S. Embassy in Oslo to arrange an event for Dr. Mayer to speak with experts from the fields of political science, security studies, and international relations at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).

Every field is interconnected

Irish says that Dr. Larry Mayer, her time at JCLOS and experiences in Tromsø, in particular the ARCTOS Early Career Scientist Workshop, have inspired her to approach her work from an interdisciplinary perspective.

 Law, ocean mapping, or any other field does not exist in isolation in the real world. Everything is interconnected, says Irish.

– I’ve found that to approach Arctic marine research, you need to be aware of these connections among the different disciplines and take them into account. Marine ecology, politics, economics, among other fields all play an important role in facing the challenges of the 21st century in the Arctic, Irish says.

During the 5 June workshop, she hopes for informal interdisciplinary conversations, where the participants discuss the state of knowledge in the Arctic Ocean, and how the different disciplines interact with each other.

Knew where to go

The Fulbright Program is the United States (U.S.) Government’s flagship international educational exchange program.

Why did she choose UiT for her Fulbright stay?

– Norway is a leading country when it comes to research in the Arctic. I first learned about the JCLOS in a newsletter from the US Arctic Research Commission while I was working on my master’s thesis on the Arctic. So, when someone suggested I apply for a Fulbright Research Grant , I knew exactly where I wanted to go, Irish says with a smile.

Taken advantage

During her year here, she has taken advantage of the opportunities Tromsø has to offer – as both a center of Arctic research and a center for outdoor activities. 

She has been hiking in the mountains and visited Svalbard and Lofoten for research seminars.

When she returns to the United States, Irish will go back to working for a submarine cable company.


Onni in Finnish means “luck”. It seems to fit well with her experience at UiT.

 I feel very fortunate to have been award a U.S. Fulbright Research Grant and to have spent my time here in Tromsø. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Onni says with a smile.

Ingvild U. Jakobsen, the Dean of Research at the Faculty of Law, also feels lucky.

– Onni is a very skilled and diligent researcher. She has a broader academic background than us, which complements our legal research in a very good way. She also has a very good understanding and knowledge of the Law of the Sea - and can thus build a bridge between legal research and other sciences – something that the workshop, Mapping the Arctic Ocean, is an example of. In addition, Onni is a very positive and social person, says Jakobsen.

She adds:

– It means a lot for us to have Fulbright scholars and other guest researchers to stay here. They bring in new perspectives and contacts. We also appreciate that good researchers find it useful spending time with us.


Workshop: Mapping The Arctic Ocean

Date: 5th June 2018

Location: Árdna, UiT Tromsø

Time: 09.00- 16.00

Lunch will be provided

Please read more and register for the workshop here

*Fulbright Grant:

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. It was created in the aftermath of World War II, to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills. Each year approximately 40 Norwegians receive grants to study, teach, or conduct research in the US, and some 30 Americans receive grants to do the same in Norway. 

Larry Mayer: Bio 

Moe, Trude Haugseth
Bilde av forfatter finnes ikke, dette er en placeholder
Trude Haugseth Moe
Publisert: 25.05.18 00:00 Oppdatert: 02.11.21 11:08
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