Who We Are

Terranaut Club is made up of a group of passionate and dedicated women in science. Each of us has taken a different path to the careers in STEM that we now hold, and each of us recognized our passion for STEM and the environment at different points in our lives. While our histories may differ, we are unified by the mission to create and provide opportunities for girls to recognize their own interests and seek their own futures in STEM fields and environmental advocacy.

Do you share these passions?
Are you interested in volunteering with us?

JULIA WHIDDEN

Founder, Executive Director & Instructor

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While I grew up interested in animals in Niagara Falls, Canada, I didn’t discover my passion for science until my grade 11 Biology class. This led me to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, and then my Masters degree in Biology. For my Masters in Biology, my research project was focused on marine conservation, specifically the conservation of two species of fish in the Bay of Fundy known as “skates”. Skates are a group of fish that are closely related to rays and sharks, and they’re present in all oceans worldwide! For my project, I studied the species identification (how to tell them apart) and population demographics (male vs. female, juvenile vs. adult, length and weight, etc) of two species of at-risk skates: the little skate (Leucoraja erinacea) and winter skate (Leucoraja ocellata) in the Bay of Fundy.

Following my Masters, I was awarded a Fulbright Canada scholarship to study in the US for a year as a Visiting Researcher. I moved to Miami, Florida for 1 year and joined the University of Miami’s Shark Research & Conservation Program (SRC), where I got to do research and field work tagging sharks and learning about science-based community outreach. I got to be a part of media productions for Discovery Canada and National Geographic, and co-founded F.I.N.S. (Females in the Natural Sciences) with SRC, a program that teaches girls about shark conservation by volunteering with an all-female crew on shark research expeditions. After moving back to Canada, I decided to expand and diversify the work I’d started with F.I.N.S. and created Terranaut Club in 2018! My goal was to create hands-on programs for girls that would get them excited about science and nature, and expose them to inspiring women in the fields of STEM and environmental advocacy. Three years in, I’m so proud of the impact that our team of incredible women have made in communities across Nova Scotia, Canada, and south Florida, USA.


DANIELLE QUINN

President, Board of Directors & Instructor

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I’m from a small town in New Brunswick, where I spent my childhood exploring the always-changing marshes and woods behind my house, and summers fishing and swimming in the St. John River. It wasn’t until much later – roughly my second year of university – that I realized my life-long love of nature could become a career! I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Acadia University in 2010 and remained there to do a Masters in Biology studying how fish communities have changed over time across Nova Scotia. Following graduation I worked in a research lab with a focus on marine conservation, and in 2016 began a PhD in Biology at the Ocean Science Centre at Memorial University in Newfoundland.

On top of my love of nature, a common thread throughout my education and current work is statistics and coding. I have over 8 years of experience coding for projects involving fish, mammals, marine invertebrates, insects, and plants. I love to code, and I love to teach coding! I’ve developed and taught statistical analyses courses across North America and as far away as South Africa, and I’m eager to see how we incorporate this into Terranaut Club programs. I’m incredibly excited to be involved with the Terranaut Club and to have the opportunity to encourage girls to discover their love of science!


CHRISTINE McLAUCHLAN

Treasurer, Board of Directors

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My passion for the environment started when I was really young. I loved animals and my family used to go camping a lot – I was that kid who would go find food to feed stray cats, and go pick up the worms on the road after a rainstorm to put them in the garden. I wanted to be a veterinarian from about 6th grade to my first year of university, when I started learning more about wildlife science and the water sector. I received my Bachelor of Science in Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Prince Edward Island in 2011, and then pursued work in wetland ecology. I’m fascinated by the interaction between people and wildlife, which is what led me to apply for a position as the Executive Director of the Petitcodiac Wastershed Alliance (PWC) in Moncton, New Brunswick. The PWC is an environmental non-profit that does monitoring and community education, and I became their youngest ever Executive Director at the age of 24. I loved this challenging and rewarding position, and left after 4 years to pursue education and training to work with children and youth.

I’m thrilled to be a part of Terranaut Club and encourage girls to get out there and explore their backyards! Women have a very unique and important perspective to offer the world. Pair that with an education in STEM, and we become unstoppable!


JOY HILLIER

Board of Directors

I grew up on a hobby farm in rural Newfoundland. We grew much of our own food and I spent a lot of time on the water with my family where learned to appreciate the diversity of the ocean and cherish the gifts of fresh fish and seafood. My upbringing instilled me with a love of animals and outdoor living. I am also interested in organic gardening, foraging medicinal plants, and raising chickens.

After high school, I took a gap year and moved to Nunavut. During my time in the North, I travelled extensively across the Canadian Arctic, and to Russia, Greenland, South America and Iceland where I experienced many diverse cultures and environments. I love seeing the world through the eyes of a visitor. In 2008, I moved to Nova Scotia where I received my veterinary technology diploma from Dalhousie University. Upon graduating, I worked as a vet technician in Halifax and then in a mobile practice in Nunavut’s first permanent animal hospital. 

In 2015, I left the veterinary field to found my own biotechnology company that raised crickets and mealworms as an alternative protein source. After attracting outside financial investment, I was able to combine my passion for good food, sustainable living and entrepreneurship to grow the business for several years. I sold the company in 2019 to move on to new and exciting projects.

I’m so honoured to be a part of the amazing Terranaut Club! I look forward to sharing my passion for insects, animals and entrepreneurship with young women to foster their own love of science and nature.


SAMARA EATON

Board of Directors

I grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia and my passion for the environment and conservation action comes from many years of camping, hiking, and canoeing as a kid where we always had binoculars, camera, field guides and notebooks at the ready. I completed my Master’s degree in Biology at Acadia University in 1999 where I studied ecology and conservation and researched yellow-spotted salamanders, frogs and toads. Since then I have been working in the field of wildlife conservation, focusing on biodiversity and specifically the recovery of species at risk in Atlantic Canada. I have worked on a group of Endangered and Threatened plants in Southwestern Nova Scotia called the Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora, as well as Wood Turtles, Blanding’s Turtle, Eastern Ribbonsnake, Eastern Mountain Avens, and many bird species at risk. Currently I am working at Environment and Climate Change Canada – Canadian Wildlife Service in Sackville, New Brunswick where we are working with partners to implement a new, ecosystem-based, holistic approach to the conservation of species at risk that includes Indigenous and western perspectives and enhanced collaboration with partners.

Now, with our two children, we encourage a love of adventure, exploration, and learning outdoors and the importance of taking action to help our natural environment. Through my career and volunteer experiences with local environmental organizations I have gained much knowledge of the importance of women in science and through years of coaching kids lots of opportunities to inspire youth and instill leadership skills through teamwork.

I am so excited to be involved in the Terranaut Club and to encourage girls and young women to follow their sense of adventure, develop their leadership capabilities, and pursue their love of science!


Staff

EMMA CARMICHAEL

Program Coordinator

Ever since my early days of searching for frogs along the shores of Kejimkujik, I have always felt a strong connection to the environment. Born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I pursued my love of nature and completed my undergraduate degree in Biology at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. At Acadia, I discovered my passion for marine conservation, and this passion led me to enrol in Dalhousie University’s Masters of Marine Management program, where I learned all about how to manage our oceans and the creatures within them in a sustainable way. Following my MSc., I began working with the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I had the amazing opportunity to work alongside their Marine Team, conducting citizen science in my community and connecting with conservation groups from around the world! In between all of that, I’ve also had the utmost privilege of watching Terranaut Club grow as an organization.

I believe that giving others the opportunity to experience science and nature through hands-on experiences is crucial in helping people find their passion. That’s why I love our Terranaut Club work so much, because we provide the opportunities for girls to become inspired. And in turn, the work I have been able to do with Terranaut Club inspired me to pursue even MORE education myself, undertaking a BEd. at Mount Saint Vincent University. I am so grateful for the ways that Terranaut Club has influenced my life, my career, and my passions. I can’t wait to see where this organization takes me next!


HUNTER HOGAN

Assistant Program Coordinator / Co-op Student

From the time I can remember I have always been fascinated with all types of critters. My love for animals began at a very young age. I was fortunate enough to have a family with a shared passion for the environment. As a child, we spent a lot of time outdoors and I naturally developed a love for marine and terrestrial animals. From those experiences I learned to appreciate the diversity and beauty of our local habitat.

My passion for marine life came from the countless fishing expeditions with my stepfather and uncle in St. Margaret’s Bay. Here I quickly became fascinated with all walks of marine life.

This is what led me to pursue a degree in Biology at Acadia University. I am currently entering my 4th year of my undergraduate degree. While I have been pursuing my degree, I have also been working for Acadia in an aquatic ecology research lab. I have had the opportunity to be involved in many research projects run in the lab. From these experiences I have gained a wealth of valuable knowledge that I will be able to carry forward throughout my career. After finishing up my undergraduate degree, I plan to continue into a master’s program at Acadia focusing on marine science in the Inner Bay of Fundy.

I have always been heavily involved in my community. Before coming to Acadia, I received a scholarship through the Ted Rodgers foundation for the volunteer work I had done in high school. Specifically, I worked alongside the Challenger Baseball program to bring sport opportunities to children with disabilities.

The Terranaut club is one of the first opportunities I have seen that gives young women hands on experiences to explore their passion for science. I am thrilled and honoured to be a part of this wonderful group of women in STEM. I hope to inspire young girls to pursue their love for science, now and in future years to come!


Volunteers

JULIA SALTZMAN

Social Media Coordinator

Julia Saltzman (she/her/hers) is an interdisciplinary marine conservation biologist and social media manager for Terranaut Club. Her research with Dr. Easton White will focus on socio-ecological questions in small-scale tropical fisheries and species monitoring in Madagascar and South America. Julia graduated from the University of Miami in 2021 with her bachelor’s in marine science, biology, and ecosystem science and policy. At University of Miami, she worked in the Shark Research and Conservation Lab where her research focused on the impacts of prey quality and quantity on shark abundance and movements. Most recently, Julia worked under Dr. Catherine Macdonald at Field School conducting research on Atlantic tarpon. Julia is passionate about education and outreach, and especially loves Terranaut Club. Julia also works closely with Laurel School, an all-girls school in Ohio, where she serves as a mentor for high school students in their capstone program. Julia can also be found giving presentations about sharks and ocean conservation to school age children, or anyone who she can get to listen! Julia spends most of her free time hanging out with her dog Jasper and also has a photography business! 


YOUTH ADVISORY COUNCIL

Members: Ella AK, Ella M, Madelyn B, Kailey B – Supervisors: Hunter Hogan & Julia Whidden


Our Terranaut Club leadership team in July of 2019, before we welcomed our amazing new additions, Joy and Sam.

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