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It has long been my passion to experience Antarctica and I may finally have this opportunity. Quark Expeditions is seeking a blog writer to officially document, in writing, a one month cruise aboard one of their ships in the Antarctic in February 2010. They are identifying their official Antarctica blogger through a bout of public voting followed by a series of interviews with the top finishers. I would love to win this prize so I could share this experience with you on my blog.

I have been blog writing for five years, authoring the popular science blog, Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted). During these five years, I shared the joys and the wonders of science, nature and the environment with the public, as well as my personal struggles with bipolar disorder. When the blog was two years old, it was recruited to join Scienceblogs -- then, a fledgling online public outreach and educational project of Seed Media Group. Since then, "Scientific Life" essays have been included in every year’s edition of The Open Laboratory, an annual publication that collects together the finest writing about science, nature and medicine in the blogosphere. [Open Laboratory 2006 (my essay: "How do Hummingbirds survive Cold Nights? Torpor in Hummingbirds") Open Laboratory 2007 (my essay: "Schemochromes: The Physics of Structural Plumage Colors") Open Laboratory 2008 (my essay: "Audubon's Aviary: Portraits of Endangered Species")] Due to the support and high profile provided by ScienceBlogs, I’ve been interviewed throughout the world and invited to write for several print publications and speak to a variety of audiences. I’ve also had essays published in both Nature (6 August 2009) and Science (August 2009) and I am currently working on a book.

In addition to my writing ability, I offer a unique combination of passion and intelligence combined with a lifetime of determination and resourcefulness. Despite being made a ward of the courts as a teenager, I was determined to improve my life and never lost sight of my childhood dream: to earn the best education possible. I overcame many challenges, including homelessness, to achieve my goals. I worked my way through school doing anything from shoveling horse poop and breeding parrots to researching cancer and HIV/AIDS, ultimately earning my PhD in Zoology. While attending university, I contributed to many polar-based research projects, such as studying whales and seals, and learning how hormones help birds cope with extreme environments, like the Arctic. 

Quark Expeditions is keenly aware of the environmental pressures on the Antarctic, so they want their official blogger to use this unique opportunity to make the public more aware of conservation and ecological impacts -- including the many subtle effects of overfishing, global warming and yes, even the effects of ecotourism, such as those resulting from the cruise they are offering. As a lifelong naturalist as well as an evolutionary biologist, I offer the public a unique combination of knowledge of, and respect for, nature and the environment. I have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to conserving nature. I have volunteered and been paid to write essays, articles and speeches, teach courses, tutor, lead field trips, and raise funds for several environmental and conservation groups.

But intelligence, hard work and vision were not enough for me to survive and succeed. Throughout my entire life, I have been surrounded by people, many wonderful people to whom I am deeply indebted who have been there for me, who believed in me and who helped me achieve my goals. I’ve many friends from the universities I’ve attended and taught at; from the conservation, bird watching and bird breeding communities I’ve been part of; and from the blogosphere ..

I would use this voyage to write a huge, extended “thank you” to all of these groups, to all those who encouraged me by reading and commenting on my blog, and to all those who believed in me and stepped outside the usual social boundaries that constrain human behavior to help me when I needed it most.  I would love to take you all with me on this special voyage. Unfortunately I don’t own a 17 cubic mile suitcase, so instead I will act as your eyes and ears and use my words, images, audio and video to share this precious and fragile part of the world with all of you.

There are hundreds candidates who registered to be Quark Expeditions’ official Antarctica blogger, but I offer a unique combination of passion combined with a lifetime of determination and resourcefulness, a knowledge of and respect for nature, a proven track record of blog writing, and an intense desire to work hard for you. By voting for me, you are voting for a fellow Kossack, and if I win, I will carry the entire community with me in my heart and mind on this great adventure!

Originally posted to GrrlScientist on Mon Aug 03, 2009 at 06:05 AM PDT.

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