I am currently a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the marine biology department where I study community ecology of the epibenthos (critters that live on top of the seafloor) in the Arctic. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and although I was surrounding by beautiful volcanoes and glacially carved fjords, I never tapped into my passion for being outside until I graduated from college. My love of science and spending time on the water occurred when I moved to Gustavus, Alaska and first started kayaking in Glacier Bay National Park. After my first summer in 2012, fresh out of college with a degree in Bio-cultural Anthropology, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the ocean! I had many mis-adventures in boats, but I learned from each experience and my passion for being on the water kept me getting back in a boat and going backcountry camping. It took a couple of years going back to Glacier Bay working as a deckhand for a eco-tour cruise boat and for a kayaking company, so at age 25 I decided I wanted to be a marine biologist. Around this time I spent as much time as I could outside biking, kayaking, hiking, and camping honing my skills for the outdoors and found that my real passion was to be outside and learning. I have since built a skin-on-frame kayak and have had the privilege to take my hand-made boat on many paddling expeditions in the Salish Sea, Southeast Alaska, and most recently, South-central Alaska.
I have been inspired by many strong women throughout my life. So, when I heard about Inspiring Girls Expeditions last spring, I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer and help carry gear up a glacier. I did not grow up feeling empowered to explore and adventure outside or to express myself through art and science simply because I was not exposed to these ideas. I think Inspiring Girls Expeditions has the framework to inspire and empower an entire generation of women to be leaders in science and appreciate wild places.