VICE Squads, soft launching in February 2024

We are excited to announce the soft-launch of Virtual Ice Community Engagement (VICE) Squads in Feburary 2024 and the full U.S. Launch in Fall 2024.

To address this lack of diversity in cryosphere sciences, we propose an intervention designed to foster a more inclusive community with shared values, norms, and a sense of belonging that can serve as both support and refugium for marginalized scholars and allies within the cryosphere community.

We invite you to participate in the creation of virtual networks of cryosphere science scholars, referred to as Virtual Ice Community Engagement (VICE) Squads. These squads will enable cryosphere scholars that cross geographic, career stage, and disciplinary boundaries to form communities that foster inclusivity, storytelling, sharing of perspectives, and professional development. The VICE Squads will be organized around topics of interest to the community (e.g., equitable sea level adaptation, field safety) or by geography region (Midwest VICE, Miami VICE) with the aim of supporting and fostering collaboration between scholars. In addition to VICE Squads, we aim to host professional development workshops open to all VICE squad community members and enable conference “watch parties” that foster interaction and networking between scholars unable to attend conferences in person.

What are VICE Squads?

VICE Squads are topical or geographically organized groups that link scholars across sub-fields, institutions, and career stages.

Topics will evolve and some squads may be permanent while others only exist for a few years or months based on the evolving interests of the community. Some squads may have dozens of members and others may have a handful. We aim for these groups to become self-organizing and fluid–-both appearing and dissolving based on community interest and need. Individuals can choose to participate in as many (or few) communities as they want. The goal is for the individual squads to meet roughly monthly to initially discuss program prompts determined by the steering committee and project coordinator with input from each squad member, and evolve naturally as the conversation continues.

VICE Squad Format

We will start each community with introductions and an ice breaker designed to help the cohort network with scholars across career stages. This will provide early career scholars with the opportunity to network. This can be especially valuable so that early career scholars meet people in the field before attending an in person conference and to provide scholars opportunities to network without being forced to attend in person meetings. No single person will lead all meetings, rather people will sign up to lead individual meetings so that all have a chance to guide the conversations. Given the fluid nature of these virtual groups with people entering and leaving based on time and interest, we anticipate shorter frequent introductions.

For each community, we aim to:

  • Establish local community norms, values and goals for the community. This will be done on a community-by-community level and will be driven by our focus group sessions.
  • Establish local community governance and procedures to report and deal with conflict, harassment, bullying and other forms of incivilities.
  • Determine the best technology solutions and protocols for engagement. For example, Zoom meetings combined with Slack or Discord for text communication (or different platforms).
  • Survey the community to assess specific needs, discussion topics and meeting frequency
  • Establish science or DEI focused meeting topics that are integrated into the science agendas.

Professional Development Workshops

In addition to our VICE Squads, we aim to host bi-monthly or monthly professional development workshops that are advertised to all of our VICE squads, here on, PSECCO and relevant listservs (e.g., cryolist) once a schedule of workshops is finalized. Recognizing that a successful community needs to focus on both science and professional development, we aim to center activities on both tools to do science and to share scientific results.

Please let us know what specific workshop topics you would like to see offered!

Conference and Workshop Watch Parties

Many of the workshops and conferences that had offered virtual or hybrid options are increasingly scaling these back. Moreover, most virtual options for conferences are terrible. To address this, we aim to develop virtual or in person watch parties to add value to the virtual options. These watch parties would include the possibility to center scientific discussions and networking around the talks and posters and to provide participants with the option of presenting their work to the watch parties. We anticipate some people will have more flexibility to attend conferences and workshops in person and our virtual networks can provide meetup opportunities for folks that want to get together. Crucially, our networks can also help to provide safety information so that people attending conferences and workshops understand the landscape, risks, and have safety plans to minimize risk associated with in-person travel and provide opportunities for scholars that may not be able to travel or are threatened by policies designed to cause harm to specific communities (e.g, the LGBTQ+ community, pregnant people).


We have teamed up with the Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER) at the University of Michigan School of Education to develop an evaluation plan for the VICE Squads project. CEDER will serve an an external evaluator for VICE Squads, implementing a multi-method evaluation design with formative and summative evaluation metrics including the distribution and anonymous evaluation of Well-being and sense of belonging surveys of participants. We plan to share the results of evalations openly with the community so we can learn together which types of iniatives help to foster a sense of community, build collaborative capacity, and ultimatly support and retain cryospheric scholars from diverse and marginalized backgrounds.

Get Involved

Check back here on cryocommunity, our twitter account, and for announcements sent out via CryoList for ways to participate and get involved in this VICE Squads Program! Participation in VICE Squads will be open to all those within the U.S. and Canada in Fall 2024, with internationanl expansion planned for 2025! This incremental expansion plan is centered around timezones and participant availability so that it is easier to form squads and find meeting times that are reasonable for all. If you have more questions reach out to us here on cryocommunity.