Monday, July 22, 2013

Crowdfunding Biodiversity Across the World by a Former Student

Professors see talented students on a regular basis. There are many Vandy students whose aspirations are sky high and motivations are supercharged. But every once in a few years, and I'm sure many of us have this experience, a star shines in our classes or research labs - someone who is innately connected to their path. Someone who will change the world. Someone who inspires the professors. Emma Steigerwald is just that person, a student from my Microbiology class, a researcher on phage WO genomics in my lab, and a star about to light the way for biodiversity and conservation from a student's perspective. From the first day of Microbiology class, she sat up front, said hello, and never changed her seat or intellectual engagement with the class. Emma is extremely intelligent, dedicated to studious and meticulous learning, and has a personality that is calm, collected, and honorably humble in the fashion that most great scholars or leaders are. She has a long list of merits to back up her star qualities including a Truman Scholarship and Michael B. Keegan Traveling Fellowship

I have enclosed her crowdfunding video below to support her travels around the world in a Darwin-like adventure to not discover biodiversity, but protect it. Sir David Attenborough would be proud. She writes:
Please consider backing me to make this journey of learning and adventure possible, then follow my journey and my reflections on my blog! I promise to bring you into the field through my photos and blog, to dedicate my energies to assisting these NGOs, and to absorb the wisdom of their successful programs!

As Vanderbilt's 2013-2014 Michael B. Keegan Traveling Scholar, I will pursue my project across the world for the next 13 months. Following my vocation, my project's mission is wildlife conservation in the world' biodiversity hotspots. By interning with NGOs across the biodiversity hotspots—regions rich in species but also highly threatened by human activities—I will be working with conservation projects where the extinction threat is most keenly felt.

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