Who We Are

The 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?
Contact us!

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JULIA WHIDDEN

Founder, Director & Instructor

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While I grew up interested in animals in Niagara Falls, Ontario, 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, after which I completed my Masters in Biology with a focus on marine conservation. I investigated the populations and species identification of two at-risk species of skates, the little skate (Leucoraja erinacea) and winter skate (Leucoraja ocellata) in the Bay of Fundy. Skates are closely related to rays, and are cousins to sharks. They’re present in all oceans worldwide, but are greatly understudied and under-appreciated! (in my biased opinion)

Following my Masters, I was the lucky recipient of a Fulbright Canada scholarship, which provided me the opportunity to move to Miami, Florida for 1 year to intern as a Visiting Researcher in the Shark Research & Conservation Program (SRC) at the University of Miami. During this incredible experience, I learned extensively about science communications and public outreach, being involved in media productions for Discovery Canada and National Geographic. I also 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 a shark research expedition. My experience with F.I.N.S. propelled me to expand and diversify this initiative to general science and nature exploration, in both Canada and the US. Hence, Terranaut Club was born!

DANIELLE QUINN

Board of Directors & Instructor

DQ_TCphotosI’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

Board of Directors

CM_TCphotosMy 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 the 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!

EMMA CARMICHAEL

Board of Directors & Instructor

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 9.59.15 PMI have always felt connected 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 am now learning how to manage our oceans and the creatures within them in a sustainable way. I’m currently interning with the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I’ll be conducting interviews with individuals involved in international fisheries management to determine the effectiveness of these organization at species conservation.

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.

LAUREL ZAIMA

Instructor

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 10.02.37 PMI was born and raised in Michigan, and like many Michiganders, I grew up with a love for water. Throughout my childhood, I spent every summer in northern Michigan where I swam, fished, and kayaked on the Great Lakes. My childhood curiosity quickly grew into a passion for marine science. This led me to attend the University of Miami, where I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science and Biology. Throughout my undergrad, I was a Research Intern for the Shark Research and Conservation Program (SRC), where I worked on projects relating to shark morphology (how they look), physiology (how their body works), ecology (how they interact with their environment), and migration (where they move). Through educating many citizen scientists and high school students on these shark tagging expeditions, I learned a lot about effective teaching and science communications.

Since then, my passion for education and public outreach has led me to several careers in marine and environmental education. I was the Education Coordinator for Reef Relief, a non-profit in Key West, Florida that works to conserve and teach about corals, where I was responsible for running the Coral Reef Youth Education Program. I also was involved in F.I.N.S. (Females in the Natural Sciences) alongside Julia (the one above!), where I taught girls about coral reef ecosystems and guided them on snorkel excursions and shark tagging expeditions. Today, I work as the Education Program Assistant at the Columbia University-Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. I teach students and the public about climate science, the impacts of climate change, possible solutions, and about the Hudson River Estuary.

I’m overjoyed to be involved with the Terranaut Club! I look forward to sparking an interest through memorable hands-on educational experiences and encouraging girls to follow their passions and pursue STEM careers.

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