EGU2020-12911, updated on 29 Nov 2022
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Girls on Ice Switzerland – using immersion to inspire interest in science

Kathrin Naegeli1,2, Chloé Bouscary3, Caroline Coch, Anja Fridrich4, Rebecca Gugerli5, Marijke Habermann2, Lena Hellmann2, Marlene Kronenberg2,5, Lisbeth Langhammer, Coline Mollaret5, Yvonne Schaub, Margit Schwikowski1,2, Julie Wee5, and Michaela Wenner6
Kathrin Naegeli et al.
  • 1University of Bern, Institut of Geography and Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research, Bern, Switzerland (
  • 2Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen
  • 3Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Lausanne
  • 4Zurich University of Teacher Education, Zurich
  • 5Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Fribourg
  • 6Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology, ETH Zurich, Zurich

Girls on Ice Switzerland runs tuition-free wilderness science expeditions for young women from diverse backgrounds. The glacier expeditions interweave science (e.g. glaciology, geomorphology, environmental aspects), art and mountaineering. Girls on Ice Switzerland does not only intend to transfer scientific knowledge, but also aims on a general understanding of the scientific process, on a mediation of nature experiences and on an enhanced self-confidence and self-evaluation. A combination of inquire-based teaching, experiential learning, and the tangibility of climate change science in the alpine environment provide a unique teaching environment. This particular framework allows to communicate science to non- and potential not-yet-peers, to facilitate insights into the scientific work through hands-on experiences, and to enhance the participants’ general interest in science.

Between 2017 and 2019, Girls on Ice Switzerland organised four glacier expeditions, which were evaluated in detail by pre- and post-inquiry of the participants. Through both quantitative and qualitative methods, the evaluation focused on the (i) perception of science, (ii) scientific knowledge, (iii) critical thinking, (iv) interest in science, (v) self-assessment and self-efficiency and (vi) connection to nature. It showed that the programme overall reached its initially set aims and that it particularly fosters critical thinking, increases physical and intellectual self-confidence and strengthens confidence in women.

Here, we will present the programme Girls on Ice Switzerland, its link to Inspiring Girls Expeditions and the overall philosophy, but also highlight evaluation results that help to optimize the science communication by demanding a clear set of goals for different characteristics of the programme. The unique women-only environment is ideal to encourage young women to start studies within the field of natural sciences and strengthen young female scientists to pursue their academic career.

How to cite: Naegeli, K., Bouscary, C., Coch, C., Fridrich, A., Gugerli, R., Habermann, M., Hellmann, L., Kronenberg, M., Langhammer, L., Mollaret, C., Schaub, Y., Schwikowski, M., Wee, J., and Wenner, M.: Girls on Ice Switzerland – using immersion to inspire interest in science, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-12911,, 2020.


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displays version 1 – uploaded on 05 May 2020
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-12911, Mariasilvia Giamberini, 06 May 2020

    Hallo Kathtin, I am an italian geoscientist and mother of a girl aged 14. Very interested to see if my daughter can join the initiative in the next years. Is the summer camp in English, as she does not speak German. And can you please let me have information about how to join? Moreover, I am in touch with secondary school science teachers who are keen to enhance the enrolment of women in STEM subjects in thei runiversity carriers. Can I spread the information about this initiative among them? Thanks!
    Silvia - email

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Kathrin Naegeli, 26 May 2020

      Dear Silvia

      Thanks a lot for your interest in Girls on Ice Switzerland. Unfortunately, I have to tell you that we run the expeditions in german or french only. We consider the following level of language skills as necessary: “To provide a safe and meaningful expedition we require participants to have at least a very solid B2 level of German or French, preferably a C1 or above (see Wikipedia for details on these levels). Preference will be given to applications from Switzerland and surrounding areas.”
      We would love to expand/establish new programs and an Italian version could be one of it. Therefore, spreading the information about Girls on Ice Switzerland is highly welcome. Please always include our general contact email
      Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have further questions, inputs or recommendations!
      best, Kathrin ( , )