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Melissa's Quest to Antarctica

$1,770 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 44 people in 13 days
Our planet has the potential to shelter, feed, clothe, calm, invigorate, heal, teach and inspire us – if we understand and protect it. But our Mother Earth is suffering, and Antarctica, being one of the most fragile natural environments, can provide insight into what's happening on a global scale. The scale of challenges facing Earth requires collaboration at all levels, in all fields, by all people.

Which is why I’m excited to announce I have joined Homeward Bound— an Australia-based leadership initiative for female scientists that aims to compile a network of 1,000 women leaders by 2026— for the 2019 year! This is a 12-month leadership program which culminates in participants spending 2.5 weeks in Antarctica and receiving state-of-the-art leadership, strategic, science and visibility training and a science education program.

I’ll be doing fundraising through GoFundMe and looking for sponsors to help come up with the money needed, and am open to any tips or open wallets (ha!). I will be working my tail off at work, half of my Patreon  funds will be going to this, and all Etsy sales  will also go to funding this trip. If you have been to Antarctica, let me know what items you are glad you brought/didn’t. I thankfully have over a year to be prepared, but have a tight schedule to make payments. This amount must be raised by the end of August. 

This is an exciting opportunity for me to go out of my comfort zone, raise my voice, and do my part to boost female participation in environmental policy-making. Developing leadership, visibility, strategy and communication skills in an international network of women enables us to become clear voices in addressing issues in our own fields, and in the broader global communities we serve.

(Photo by Rockhopper Workshops)
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We are SO CLOSE to $2,000! We need to reach 2k by the end of the week to stay on track for raising $8,000 by the end of August. Please share this campaign, RT, etc. Thank you!

Photo: Lucas Huffman
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I have a chance to inspire and influence thousands to take greater care of our ocean planet. But I need your help to do it!

Please donate, retweet, share ❤️

Photo: Lucas Huffman
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An avalanche-like THANK YOU to all who have donated! We have hit the $1,000 mark... only seven more weeks to get the remaining $7k - that averages about $1,000 a week!

If you can, don't forget to spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media.

Photo: Torsten Dederichs
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"Why you, Melissa?"

Estimado amigxs,

You may be wondering why you should help me at all. Chances are you don't know me in real life. So, I want you to get to know me a little bit better:

Yo soy Melissa. Passion led me to where I am today. That, and a whole lot of work. I work a regular job as a secretary; I get up at 6:30am to be on a bus by 7:00am in time to get into the city by the time my job starts. During this time I do conference calls, read new scientific articles, send e-mails to organisations and teachers about The Fins United Initiative (TFUI; my program that advocates for sharks and their relatives, their ecosystems, and the people who work with these animals), etc. I usually clock out of work by 6:00pm, then go to the bus and make it home by 8:00pm. Once there I make a quick dinner, and dive into my second and third jobs: TFUI and my podcast, ConCiencia Azul. TFUI takes about 15 hours a week (researching, interviews, writing up blog posts, adding sections to the website, collaborations, etc.), ConCiencia Azul at least 10 hours (website updates, interviews, recordings, editing, and more). The hours vary-- sometimes I have to get up at 2 or 3 in the morning to get interviews done or video a class in North America.

When I'm not doing the above, I'm working to produce English/Spanish e-books to provide to high school and universities worldwide that talk about things like how to set up your resume, how skills you learn in volunteering can help you in STEM, what you should do to get the most out of your first conference, etc. All free, all for them.

I don't get paid for any of this. Passion led me to being an advocate for misunderstood predators; it also me to standing up for the voiceless and stepping aside to let other voices be heard. Passion -- and being fed up with the status quo of leaving minorities behind -- led me to dream of educational tools that allow me to create more inclusive classrooms. I'm continuing to work on all of my "three jobs" and giving 110% to each. Not to mention, I'm doing my own science research on the side to eventually get my PhD.

So this trip to Antarctica allows me to figure out how I can be better at all of them. It allows me to better provide to those who can't speak English, who have disabilities in the classroom, who don't see themselves in the line-up scientific leaders across the world. I'm not saying I deserve to go to Antarctica- I'm saying diverse role models are still needed in STEM and this is a good step in the right direction. I find it a bit ironic that we're going to an all-white terrain when that's what it feels like sometimes in this industry. I'm in the unique position to be a role model for many POC; I want to share an e-mail I got today:

"I wanted to take the time to tell you a huge congrats on [event]!! It makes me so happy to see a female and diverse face in science at the forefront of what we do! You are really making a difference to so many little girls out there who will see a someone who looks like them and be inspired to go into [science]. I remember so distinctly never seeing anybody who looked remotely like me and wishing there was."

Help me stand up better for the voiceless and have a more powerful microphone to let other voices be heard. Muchas gracias.
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$1,770 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 44 people in 13 days
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