Terranaut Club is made up of a group of passionate and dedicated women in science unified by the mission to create and provide opportunities for girls+ to gain interest in STEM careers and become environmental leaders in their own communities
Do you share these passions?
Consider volunteering with us!
JULIA WHIDDEN (she/her/hers)
Founder, Executive Director & Instructor
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. My Masters research was focused on the conservation of two at-risk species of skates in the Bay of Fundy. I then moved to Miami, Florida for a Fulbright scholarship that allowed me to study shark research and conservation at the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. While there, I founded F.I.N.S. (Females in the Natural Sciences), an outreach program that teaches local girls about shark conservation and marine science by volunteering with an all-female crew on shark research expeditions. I fell in love with STEM outreach and environmental education, and realized that this is what I wanted to pursue! After a few years of dreaming, planning, and shaping, I reached out to Danielle, Emma, and Christine, and Terranaut Club was born. Our 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 these fields, and we’re grateful to all those who have helped us achieve this mission.
SAMARA EATON (she/her/hers)
Board of Directors President
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 Terranaut Club and to encourage girls+ to follow their sense of adventure, develop their leadership capabilities, and pursue their love of science!
DANIELLE QUINN (she/her/hers)
Board of Directors & Instructor
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 10 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 love to incorporate this into Terranaut Club programs. I’m incredibly excited to be a part of the Terranaut Club Team and to have the opportunity to encourage girls+ to discover their love of science and nature!
ERICA PORTER (she/her/hers)
Board of Directors
Growing up, I wondered what career path would be interesting and rewarding for me. Becoming a Fisher and Ocean Techinician never crossed my mind. I always enjoyed cosmetics and doing my hair but was equally as keen getting muddy and doing outside chores. I grew up in a small Nova Scotian community with a nearby wharf, which allowed access to the beautiful Avon River. My dad has been a Fisher for as long as I can remember and has a strong connection with the river. On the Avon, we would fish from his boat, beach comb on the banks, or simply relax and enjoy the cool breeze on a hot day. He would also take me to the woods, always pointing out animal tracks and observing trees (I wish I could remember all the names!).
When I was 12, I got my first summer job at a local farm but retained small jobs (normally involving fishing with dad) during the school year. At 16, I started part-time commercial fishing. After graduating high school, I was given the opportunity to fish full-time and took it. Now, ten years later, I love my field of work and wouldn’t change it for the world. Through the years of welcoming diverse groups of people to our fishing operations, we slowly transitioned from commercial fishing to fishing to collect ecological data for science. I am proud and privileged to share my knowledge and experience to the STEM world all while being outside in nature almost every day.
Outside of work I can be found searching for waterfalls, knitting, and spending time with my dog Kiefer! I am delighted to be a part of Terranaut Club and to inspire girls+ to find and pursue their passion! There is no limit to what you can do if you set your mind to it.
KERI STALKER (she/her/hers)
Board of Directors Treasurer
Magic happens where cutting edge science meets operational excellence. This intersection is where I’ve spent the last 20+ years of my career, beginning in the early days of the Human Genome Project where I worked with an international consortium to apply high-throughput approaches to genome sequencing and analysis. This work resulted in the publication of the first comprehensive sequence of the human genome, an effort that I will be forever grateful to have participated in. Since then, I’ve had the honour and privilege to work on many exciting research and operational projects through my work as Assistant Director at the Broad Institutre and as Global Head of Operations at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research – both in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Massachusetts is also where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in biology from Wellesley College and later my master’s degree in business from Harvard Business School. My family and I moved to Nova Scotia in 2019 to create a homestead in the Annapolis Valley, where my husband grew up. I spend most of my time now learning about and caring for our vegetable gardens, horse, chickens and our two amazing children. Having spent my career in and around science, I have witnessed the myriad challenges faced by underrepresented genders and races in STEM fields. I’m tremendously excite and thankful to now be working with Terranaut Club to address these challenges.
CHRISTINE McLAUCHLAN (she/her/hers)
Board of Directors Secretary
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!
SARAH BROWN (she/her/hers)
Guest Speaker Series Coordinator
My love for the ocean and all things outdoors began from a very young age. Originally from Southern Ontario, I knew from age 8 that I wanted to be a marine biologist and live on the ocean when I grew up. Now 24, I am completing my Masters in Biology at Acadia University, living a 20 minute drive from the coast of the Bay of Fundy, living my childhood dream. My masters research focuses on the thermal biology of a tropical fish species and how it is effected by fluctuating temperatures. Starting in the second year of my undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph, I became focused on climate change research and wanted to do everything in my power to learn more about how climate change impacts our oceans. I just got my scuba diving license, I’m trying to teach myself how to surf, and I spend 90% of my summer in the water; I love what I study and I study what I love.
I feel so lucky to have been introduced to Terranaut Club. I love their mission and their values and I had the most fun volunteering during the summer programs – it was the summer camp I always wanted as a kid! It feels amazing to be able to share my passion for the outdoors with young people just learning everything for the first time; the amazement in their eyes when they hold their first fish, or complete their first dissection, or see a butterfly up close for the first time (!!) is priceless. I hope to be able to continue to share my love for science post graduation, pursuing a career in education in STEM.
EMMA CARMICHAEL (she/her/hers)
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 enroll 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 Masters, I worked 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, serving as Secretary of the Board of Directors from 2018 – 2021.
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, recently completing a Bachelor’s of Education at Mount Saint Vincent University.
HUNTER HOGAN (she/her/hers)
Summer 2021 Co-op Student
From the time I can remember I’ve 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. My passion for marine life came from the countless fishing expeditions with my stepfather and uncle in St. Margaret’s Bay. This is what led me to pursue a degree in Biology at Acadia University. I’m currently entering the 4th year of my undergraduate degree, and have also been working for Acadia in an aquatic ecology research lab. I’ve 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.
Terranaut Club is one of the first opportunities I’ve seen that gives girls+ hands-on opportunities to explore their passion for science. I’m 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 years to come!
JULIA SALTZMAN (she/her/hers)
Social Media Coordinator
I’m an interdisciplinary marine conservation biologist and the social media coordinator for Terranaut Club. My Masters research with Dr. Easton White at the University of New Hampshire will focus on socio-ecological questions in small-scale tropical fisheries and species monitoring in Madagascar and South America. I graduated from the University of Miami in 2021 with my bachelor’s in marine science, biology, and ecosystem science and policy. While there, I worked in the Shark Research and Conservation Lab where my research focused on the impacts of prey quality and quantity on shark abundance and movements. Most recently, I worked under Dr. Catherine Macdonald at Field School conducting research on Atlantic tarpon. I’m passionate about education and outreach, and also work closely with Laurel School, an all-girls school in Ohio, where I serve as a mentor for high school students in their capstone program. I can also be found giving presentations about sharks and ocean conservation to school age children, or anyone that I can get to listen! I spend most of my free time hanging out with my dog Jasper and also have a photography business.
YOUTH ADVISORY COUNCIL
Members: Ella AK, Ella M, Madelyn B, Kailey B – Supervisors: Julia Whidden