What I learned from rejection

What I learned from rejection

I had my first big rejection last week. I mean big. The crushing, leaves you speechless type of rejection. In February, I submitted a proposal for a National Geographic Fulbright fellowship. I wasn’t very optimistic, until I found out in late April that I was a finalist. Suddenly, the impossible didn’t seem quite so impossible,




Dear Class of 2014

Think of your greatest fear. Maybe it’s something tangible, like spiders or snakes. Maybe you’re afraid of the dark or of losing a loved one. Maybe it’s something on a larger scale, like a pandemic or war. If you were to ask me four years ago what my biggest fear was, I would have said




What I want to be when I grow up.

There are three questions every college senior gets asked. You’re a senior?! How does it feel? Do you know what you’re doing in May? What do you want to be when you grow up? #3 is my personal favorite, because it instigates a sense of inescapable panic while simultaneously making me feel like a six




This could change your life.

Have you ever faced a moment that might change your life? Do you remember the feeling? It’s a lot of nervous anticipation combined with excitement and cautious optimism. There’s also a lot of, “how did I get here?” I know the feeling, because it’s exactly how I feel right now. As I write this, I’m




Reflections of a Senior

I was on the phone with my advisor yesterday talking about my upcoming honors project. Somehow the conversation turned to the incoming freshmen and Orientation. He chuckled and asked, “When you were a freshman, did you have any idea you’d be where you are now?” I was speechless. I didn’t know whether to laugh hysterically



4 Things that Can only Happen in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are in a world of their own. When you leave the Florida mainland and venture south into Key Largo, you cross an invisible boundary into a place where the air is saltier, the sunsets are brighter, and everyone moves just a little bit slower. After living in the Keys for just a



The Night Dive

Follow along with The Lionfish Project on my project website, Facebook page, and Twitter, as well as the National Geographic Explorers Journal. I was lying face down on the couch in the dive shop when Doug came up and tapped me on the shoulder. “Night dive tonight” he said. “You coming?” I groaned and peered up at him cautiously. Considering




And so it begins

Follow The Lionfish Project on my website, facebook, and twitter.  It’s been eleven months since I first developed the basic idea for The Lionfish Project. I had been bouncing grant ideas off people for weeks, the only thing I had narrowed down was that I wanted to do something with lionfish. One night in August,




The Young Explorer Grant

The month of January and February were particularly tough for me. After first starting my Lionfish Project proposal in August, I had finally turned in my final submission to the National Geographic Young Explorer’s program. Throughout January and February, all I could do was wait. I first learned about the program while interning at National




Dreaming Big is Hard Work

I decided to do a research project next summer. At first, I didn’t know what I wanted to do; I just knew I wanted to do something. I’ve always had this romanticized perception of scientific research—I love the idea that you’re delving into a topic in a new and unexplored way. But mostly, to me,