What drew you to that particular NGSE trip?
I was drawn to the Bali expedition because I have always been interested in marine biology and marine conservation. The ocean is essential to our existence and its crucial that we understand the issues that are compromising the health of the sea.
What were you most looking forward to about it?
I was most looking forward to staying at the Green School and seeing how they operate a fully sustainable K-12 school. I was also excited to work on the BioRock reef restoration project in Pemuteran because of the incredible success its had in rebuilding an entire habitat.
What is the most important lesson you learned while in the field with National Geographic?
The most important lesson I learned on the trip is that its not just the big campaigns and projects that make change, it is the small things that all of us do on a day to day basis. Having a reusable water bottle, choosing a glass bottle instead of buying a plastic one, buying truly locally. One of the most impactful things you can do is to make smart purchases and to make change with your dollar by buying and more importantly NOT buying daily items that are neglectful of the environment.
Do you still study or practice any of the subjects or skills you learned during your trip?
I learned valuable skills that are centered around maintaining a sustainable and conservation minded life and I will keep that with me forever.
Where is the next destination on your travel wish list?
I have so many places I want to go its hard to pick just one, but if I have to pick next on my list it’s probably Patagonia.
What have you been up to since your expedition?
After the NGSE trip I planned a gap year before going to Brown. I spent three months in Fiji volunteering for a shark conservation project with Projects Abroad and Global Shark Campaign. As volunteers we take part in survey dives in the Beqa Lagoon looking at the population of indicator species on the reefs. The project also has an incredible mangrove nursery and reforestation initiative and tagging project. While in Fiji I did my PADI divemaster training. I also went to Australia and revisited Bali in these past few weeks.
How do you think your NGSE trip prepared you for college and beyond?
My National Geographic Student Expeditions program taught me to immerse myself in a group of people I had never met. To me this was an invaluable aspect of the trip because it is crucial in life to be able to stay comfortable in foreign situations.
Where do you hope to be ten years from now?
I am very passionate about both neuroscience and marine biology so in ten years I see myself doing research in one of those two fields. I plan on finding that path in the next four years of college.