How did you decide to join the University of Colorado-Boulder Student Expeditions program?

I was looking for a summer program to do the summer of my junior year of high school that would be both educational and fun. I love National Geographic, and as soon as I saw that this expedition covered both adventure photography and climate change I was determined to go because these happen to be two of my passions. I also liked the fact that it we stayed on the CU-Boulder campus because I’d get a taste of college. And the fact that we got to meet Nat Geo expert and rock climber Cedar Wright was an awesome bonus!

Describe your most memorable experience from your trip. 

One morning, I got up really early and hiked to the top of one of the Flat Irons with my trip leader Nathalie Chardon and four other students. It was an optional activity but I’m so happy I decided to loose a few hours of sleep for that hike. We were hiking up the trail with headlamps and our cameras and when we got to the top you could see the sun rising over Boulder and the Rocky Mountains in the other direction. We found a box with pictures and items that people had left at the top and in order to get back in time we had to run half of the trail. It was such a special morning and I captured some incredible photos.

Describe something you did on your program that you thought you would never do.

I never thought I would get to not only meet but go climbing with one of the best rock climbers in the world. It was so crazy to meet Cedar and hang out with him after seeing him on Instagram and watching him in climbing videos.  He hung out and talked with us and we got to see him climb one problem. It was awesome!

What was the community like on campus?

It was such a special environment to be in.  Everyone was interested in the same things and excited about every adventure. We were all there to learn and have a good time and I think all of our expectations were exceeded by having awesome leaders, peers and some of the best adventures in my life so far!  I’m still really close friends with our leader Nathalie and four other students. Our entire group made a Facebook page that we keep in touch through, and we also stay updated on each others lives through Instagram and Snapchat.

How has traveling with Nat Geo impacted you?

Traveling with Nat Geo definitely better prepared me for college life! Living in the University of Colorado dorms and exploring campus during the program really helped me get a sense of what it’s like. Meeting new people and making new friends during the program also helped me to learn how to talk to people in college. Unfortunately the workload in college is a little bit more!!