Animal Conservation Adventure in Uganda

As a child, like many others, I had dreams of adventure. I have always been interested in wildlife and wildlife conservation. Watching silly kid movies like ‘The Wild Thornberrys’ and ‘Rio’, I wanted to become those people in the movies. Now I know it was only a little child’s dream, but this past summer I was able to live it. And this meant more to me than I can explain.

Through GLI, this past summer I travelled to Entebbe, Uganda to work at the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre. With my GLI theme being Resources and Sustainability, and global challenge being “how to preserve ecosystems and biodiversity in the face of climate change” my experience in Uganda was heavily focused on captive animal care, rehabilitation, and conservation efforts of Uganda as a country.

Me and my coworkers in the Kidepo exhibit after feeding the giraffes

I cannot even begin to explain how amazing it was to work, hands on, with some of the most amazing animals in the world. My program was split into 4 different sections- birds and reptiles, carnivores and hoofstock, primates, and veterinary care. I had 2 weeks at each section and then several weeks that I jumped between sections that I found particular interest in or where help was most needed. Every section had its own pull so picking a favorite is impossible for me.

Since there was such a wide variety in animal species, I had the opportunity of getting up close and personal with many different types of animals. The keepers walked me through the habitats for every animal, explained their diets, their routine care, and what threatens their population in the wild. For example, the center has two white rhinos, who are now completely extinct in the wild. This is due to their horns being taken for the ivory trade. My job was preparing, transporting and presenting food to these two beautiful rhinos. They were also very big love bugs, very gentle and kind. They are at the center for a breeding program in hopes to boost their population, in turn they are very used to humans and love it when you take a couple minutes of your day to give them some scratches. Petting a rhino is an experience I will probably never be able to relive, and it only made me more invested in wanting to stop illegal ivory trade.

I could go on and on talking about how each and every one of them impacted me differently, like the baby elephant that taught me how to patiently earn the trust of an animal, or the African grey parrots I helped raise from babies. But this experience was about so much more than the animals. Surprisingly, it was also about me.

This was my first-time solo travelling, and having it also be my first time in Africa was a lot. I quickly learned the culture there is completely different to how it is in the USA. At first, I was deeply uncomfortable, it was all very out of my comfort zone. But I learned to find the comfort in discomfort and embrace the fact that I was new and learning. I had people help teach me how to dress, how to correctly wash my clothes by hand, and how to hang them so they dry the quickest. So not only did I learn amazing animal care from experienced professionals, I learned a whole different way of life. A different way of life that I am actually starting to incorporate back into my life back at home.

I also can’t help but smile knowing that 2th grade me would be so proud.

A summer of science writing at FLBS

From the moment I entered GLI, I knew my theme was going to be Resources & Sustainability. As a kid, I was always passionate about wildlife and knew I wanted to dedicate my life to the animal world in some way. There was only one problem: I’m a liberal arts major. Studying journalism and creative writing, it can be tough to find a straightforward approach to working with wildlife. Luckily, the opportunity arose in the form of the Ted Smith Environmental Storytelling Internship at Flathead Lake Biological Station. Over the course of eight weeks, I fully reported and wrote five vastly different pieces all focused around Montana’s incredible freshwater resources, as well as the creatures who call our lakes and rivers home.

The first article I wrote centered around a UM grad student in the school of forestry Michelle Fillion, who is studying interesting structures known as Beaver Dam Analogs. These BDAs, as they’re called, act as artificial beaver dams where beavers have been eradicated (99% of North American Beaver populations have been eradicated since the arrival of Europeans in the Americas). Obviously, beaver dams are vital to stream health, so creating artificial ones are an excellent alternative to more invasive forms of stream restoration. Unfortunately, not much is known about how BDAs affect populations of aquatic macroinvertebrates that are at the center of stream food webs. Michelle’s project is looking into this, and is set to be completed by this time next year.

A stream reach with a BDA and several aquatic insect traps

My next story was a profile of Jim Craft, a long-time researcher of phytoplankton at FLBS. Craft is retiring in September, but before he goes he’s creating a photo catalogue of all relevant algae species in the lake (with the help of GLIer Brooke DeRuwe). I talked to Craft and his colleagues about the project, as well as his time at FLBS. Overall, he’ll be missed, but the photo ark will keep his legacy alive.

Jim Craft, right, shows FLBS interns how long-term monitoring samples are collected.

My third story was about a pair of FWP interns whose job it was to catch and kill invasive snapping turtles in the ponds surrounding the northern part of Flathead Lake that are devastating local turtle and waterbird populations. This story was my favorite, since it represented a very “backwoods” type of science that you don’t see every day. I spent a lot of time with Haaken and Abigail, who let me get lots of hands of experience, which even involved me dispatching of a turtle myself. I kept the shell of my catch, named Normal Bill, along with his mummified head and tail. I definitely won’t forget about this experience any time soon.

Haaken Bungum and Abigail Hendra pose with the shell of their biggest catch, a 40-pounder.

The final story I’ll discuss on this blog post is a profile of the summer artist-in-residence at FLBS, Jennifer Ogden. Jennifer creates intricate collages using recycled paper and is based out of Hamilton. This summer, she lived at the station and attended several field trips. By the middle of August, Jennifer had completed a handful of complete collages based on many of the same stories I’d been writing. She taught me that there are ways to promote sustainability even in the arts.

“Oh Snap! Invasive Harvest” by Jennifer Ogden, based on the real-life scientific work of Haaken and Abigail.

In the next few months, all five of my stories will be published at a variety of publications, helping me establish a solid portfolio of work before I enter the real world of journalism.

This internship affected me in countless ways. I learned better time management skills and craft skills surrounding writing, as well as got a glimpse of what life as a full-time journalist might look like. Overall, my biggest takeaway was much more largescale. Living on the pristine Flathead Lake, I got a front row seat for what an ecosystem really is. When we’re in first grade, we learn about food chains. When we get a little older and our brains can do more work, our teachers introduce us to the more complex food webs. It wasn’t until this past summer that I got to see the truly endless scope of connection in the natural world. My five stories, though vastly different, were directly connected in a million different ways. Everything that happens affects everything else, so it’s vital that we keep our waters, and our world, as healthy as we can. I’m thankful to GLI for allowing me to learn this tangibly in a way I’ll never forget.

A Semester Abroad in Athens, Greece

My college experience has been filled with extracurriculars from all aspects of campus. Despite my commitments, I left for a semester and did the best thing I could do for myself, travel the world. Over the course of four and a half months, I traveled Greece and eight other countries. The person I was when I left in January 2022 has evolved and grown into a more caring, supportive, kind, aware, and grateful person.

As a GLI student, I was constantly relating my experiences back to my global theme, Resources and Sustainability. Traveling Europe taught me a lot about approaches to environmental issues. Some countries were active in conservation, while others were active in contributing to global issues. Two of my courses abroad focused on contemporary environmental issues and waste management. Discussions in these classes were arguably more valuable than the content being taught. Students came from all over the world, who shared different backgrounds and perspectives. I opened my mind, put myself in their shoes, and thought hard about what they had to say. I intend to bring these conversations back to Montana, and apply them into my capstone project.

Santorini, Greece

After returning to the states, and to the University of Montana, I am more confident than ever in my ability to lead. Being adaptable is a difficult skill to learn and apply, however, practice makes perfect. Consistently traveling for four and a half months is perfect practice. Navigating foreign airports, transportation, cultures, and customs, while trying to communicate through a language barrier is a challenge, and a person needs to be adaptable and flexible in order to survive. Adaptability is an important trait in a leader. Showing a team how to acknowledge and overcome a hardship in an effective and calm manner can lead to a more successful team. Being abroad taught me to be flexible, to stay calm, and to approach a problem logically, instead of emotionally. I am excited to put this new skill to use in my future leadership experiences.

One of my favorite adventures was an afternoon trip to Cape Sounion to visit the Temple of Poseidon. Poseidon is the Greek God of the sea and waters, and has been my favorite from a little age. I was taking a Greek mythology course in Athens, so I knew the history and importance of the temple, the reason for the chosen location, and the meaning and value Poseidon has on Greek culture. The access I had to these historic temples is something I will forever be grateful for. Learning about the Greek Gods and Goddesses in class and being able to travel to the temples built in honor of them was one of the most rewarding parts of my study abroad experience.

Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion

Beyond the Classroom Experience in Cork, Ireland, Spring 2022, Riese Munoz

The Cliffs of Moher, March 2022

It had been a dream of mine to study in Europe ever since I was a small
child– so when I came to the University of Montana to study English, I was
excited to see that the GLI program I had also signed up for supported students
who wanted to go abroad. I immediately jumped on the opportunity, choosing the
University College Cork in Ireland as my destination.

GLI gave me an interesting perspective on my study abroad experience in
Ireland, because not only was I going to study literature, I also had to take a
few classes that related to my GLI theme of politics and culture. This led me
to taking two interesting classes at UCC, one that was all about the folklore
traditions of Ireland, and another that focused on the blending of politics and
the Irish novel. I also wanted to investigate the Global Challenge of how
political and social division effects a culture long term– something that is
relevant in the country of Ireland due to its history of being colonized by the
British and the subsequent wars with England that followed.

Not only did I have the opportunity to study Irish culture
through both the lens of GLI and the lens of literature, studying abroad gave
me a chance to further my leadership skills. I traveled not only around Ireland
but around Europe alone quite often, and doing o helped me develop more independence
as an adult. At times, it felt as though I was doing my freshman year of school
all over again, as I was dropped in a place where I didn’t know my way around,
what the schooling would be like, or what people I was going to meet. Having a
second chance at that fresh start made me more confident in my abilities to
adapt to new situations—something of which I think has made me a more confident
and capable leader.


-Riese Munoz

St. Patties day parade with friends, Cork City Center, March 2022

A Potential Grizzly Cure To Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

While not a unique experience in the slightest my dream to travel abroad for my beyond-the-classroom experience was cut short by the pandemic. By the time the world had re-opened its doors the clock on my time as an undergraduate at UM was ticking too quickly, especially with all of the requriments I needed to complete for my Pre-med track. So, I wrote a rain check for my travel dreams and buckled down to find an experience at home that was still globally relevant. Thus I found the perfect experience right in the lab I had been conducting research in for the past 6 years.

The lab had recently been focused on the development of an antibiotic that was active against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are the nastiest bacteria we face as a global health challenge today. These bacteria are resistant to most if not all of the current antibiotics approved for use, thus if someone is infected with one it can spell disaster. While terrifying to think of a bacteria with no cure it highlights the importance of finding new ways to combat these infections. If left unchecked these bacteria could lead to brutal waves of infection or death globally, and thus are a serious challenge to global public health.

So I set to work helping the two researchers, a wife and husband research powerhouse, work on their development of this antibiotic. My primary duty during this stint was to help them analyze the results of their experiments looking for a better way to produce the antibiotic they had discovered that was effective against many severe strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Through this, I gained many new laboratory skills and learned more about the world of antibiotics and drug development, a complicated field with many varying laws and regulations both in the US and globally. I also learned more about what it takes to lead a lab research group and keep a lab on track to fulfill its research goals. It was a truly amazing experience to be involved in such a cool research project and to be so heavily involved in the research and development of a novel antibiotic.

While the setting of this research was not a new place or cultural experience for me, I still found it pretty amazing that I was able to conduct such cutting-edge research all while looking out over the beautiful mountain campus we all called home for the last 4 years. Ultimately I would be remiss if I didn’t say that living in a place where after a hard day of classes and lab work I could take a quick trip up to the mountain to ski or hike or just enjoy the beauty of Montana, was anything but the perfect place to conduct a beyond-the-classroom experience.

The National Sport of Protesting*

*Must Be Played by the Rules

While speaking about the ins and outs of French culture in a humming lecture hall, my jovial young professor quipped to our class about how, “in France, protesting is a national sport.” Everyone laughed at the embellishment, including myself. Despite my understanding that the culture and politics of a nation are inherently intertwined, I didn’t quite realize just how true this sentiment would prove to be in the coming weeks.

The left bank of the Saône River in Lyon

I had arrived at my host institution, Université Jean Moulin in Lyon, France in the hottest time of year—August. As the weeks rolled on and the streets cooled down, I found myself drawn to the cobblestoned city center more often, intrigued by the intricate architecture, impeccable fashion, and especially the open air markets brimming with fresh produce, spices, flowers, bread, art, and more. I would often download a podcast or two and head into the centre ville to wander around and soak up my new home; many of these strolls were enchantingly uneventful, but I distinctly recall the first time I was downtown on a Saturday. I had just picked up a load of fresh fruit and was rounding the corner near a town square when I was met with a wall of angry voices. My immediate reaction was that I had come face to face with a street fight, but I quickly realized that the river of people in front of me were not fighting not against but with each other. I stood petrified until the last of the hundreds (if not thousands) of chanting citizens passed me by. Though my shock never truly went away, I actually ended up running into many more protests throughout my year in Lyon; no matter what French city we were in, Saturdays proved to be the day to protest. Recalling what my professor had said at the beginning of the year, my interest in the importance of dissent in French culture was piqued. 

The Saturday morning market in my neighborhood (Montchat)

In the United States, protesting is often regarded as a partisan activity that makes headlines for a few days or even weeks, but rarely results in tangible action, especially new policy. In France, however, protests can last for weeks or even months, and organizers behind the cause typically galvanize members of the public rather than alienating them. Moreover, the French parliament is filled with a dozen major political parties (the most popular of the 453 registered parties in the country), which gives more incentive for party leaders to listen to their constituents in order to gain political power. This merging of protesters, public, and parliament often results in widespread government concessions; one example we learned about was when fishermen blockaded the Port of Calais after the E.U. placed new limits on their industry, leading to a $66 million government payout. 

Not even rain could stop this protest in the small town of Vienne, France

Even though demonstrating in the streets were an incredibly common (and even revered) French pastime, I noticed a distinct lack of dissent within the French classroom. I struggled with the antiquated model of teaching used by Jean Moulin, wherein professors were seen as the ultimate authority on a subject, and class consisted of hundreds of students who robotically transcribed every word of every lecture. Questions were discouraged, and discussion was almost unheard of. As someone whose leadership and learning styles thrive in a collaborative environment, I struggled to adapt my proficiencies to this new environment. I found myself engaging in many internal disputes to keep my inquisitive side satisfied, but it was quite difficult to remain reticent during some of my more interesting courses, especially when I disagreed with the lecturer.

One of the many soliloquies (classes) I attended

Traveling elsewhere showcased the variety of manners in which a constituency can rebel against its leadership. For instance, a weekend trip to Djerba, Tunisia, offered up no evidence of the popular hatred of the current president, which has made headlines since January of this year. Instead, the streets were eerily quiet, to a point that perturbed my companions and I. We asked our AirBnb host why this was the case, and he responded by saying that the majority of his fellow Djerbians “prefer to keep their political opinions inside, both inside their persons and their homes. Only those in the capital are arrogant enough to yell openly.” 

My time in Lyon reaffirmed the close relationship a country’s political fabric has with its culture, but also made me realize how nuanced this consanguinity can be. In Tunisia, vibrant ‘nationwide’ protests may in fact be contained within just one city, though sentiments of dissent may be shared by citizens across the land. And in France, protesting may be a national sport, but one must play by the rules, which include keeping resistance to the street (and not within, say, a classroom). 

Picnicking in the foreground of the Vienne protest

Caroline Kane- Out of Classroom Experience Summer 2022

My Beyond the Classroom experience was truly one of the most impactful experiences I have had as an undergrad. I spent my summer at the Flathead Lake Biological Station (FLBS) where I took three upper division ecology courses, Conservation Ecology, Landscape Ecology, and Alpine Ecology. These classes were field-based, meaning we spent 4 out of 5 weekdays in the field, usually Glacier National Park, learning about the ecosystems and the efforts in place to conserve them. My global theme for GLI is natural resources and sustainability, a theme in which these classes fit very well. These field-based courses had running themes of conservation, ethics, natural resources, and human impacts on the environment.

These courses taught me a lot about the methodology in the field sciences and helped me experience hands-on the profound impacts that humans are creating that are fundamentally altering these fragile ecosystems.  For me, it also brought up a lot of questions surrounding the grassroots style of environmental activism and what we can do right now to face these wicked problems head-on. Specifically, I learned about the Citizen Science program in Glacier National Park, which is a scientific program that engages the public to gather data and information. This program is an excellent example of something here and now that people can engage with to make a difference.

Being able to spend so much time in the outdoors camping, swimming, and hiking helped to instill the importance of protecting our wild places and solidifies the need to do everything in our power to maintain our beautiful state. One specific experience we had was hiking Pitamakan Pass in Glacier. From the top, there are 360-degree views of mountain tops and valleys dotted with lakes and streams. Being able to see so far in every direction was insane. On the pass, there is a special type of fossil called stromatolites (see below). These are 1.4-billion-year-old fossils that detail the first signs of life on our planet. Looking at these in person was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, as they are the oldest known fossil! They were also a humbling reminder of looking back into time before humans walked the earth and how life has evolved so very far. It was also a reminder of the ecosystems and organisms that existed so long before humans and made me reflect on the ways that humans have impacted places like Glacier National Park.

My Summer GLI Experience with Sustainable Agriculture

This summer I was given the opportunity to participate in ongoing research surrounding sustainable agriculture. With the GLI theme of natural resources and sustainability this internship gave me a lot of great insight into the role that sustainable agriculture is going to play in our changing world. My experience took place in and around Fort Collins, CO. through Colorado State University’s AgNext group. This group focuses on bringing cooperate agriculture, academia, and local ranchers closer together to find plausible solutions to decreasing the amount of methane and cardon dioxide emissions seen in modern agriculture.

Although agriculture continues to receive a lot of criticism from outside sources one thing I learned while I was there is that local farmers/ranchers have a different definition of sustainability than the media does. What I learned is that for these farmers and ranchers view sustainability as whatever is going to keep them producing into the next year. This means that the solutions that AgNext is coming up with has to give them the bang for their buck or they most likely will not participate. From a cooperate perspective “sustainability” has become a buzz word that businesses use to get the consumer to feel good about investing in their product. For AgNext this means ensuring that what corporations are putting out into the media is actually what they are doing behind the scenes. Before this internship I looked at sustainability more from a natural resource perspective, but after this internship I realized that there a lot of different definitions for this word and while they all ultimately have the same goal, the execution is going to be different.

Boris the research steer chilling in the Diamond V pen where we were studying the use of feed additives on methane emissions.

One of the things I am most grateful for from this internship is the opportunities they gave me to grow as a leader. All of the research I was helping on was being conduced by grad students. I was able to work on a wide variety of projects including studies with Merck Animal Health, Diamond V, and USDA-ARS. My internship gave me a lot of autonomy and room to voice my own ideas about how we could solve problems that we ended up running into with some of these projects. The grad students made it feel like an actual team and were always available if I ever had any questions. Overall, this internship made me a lot better at asking clarifying questions and be willing to not always have the final say in how things were going to go. I also learned a lot of problem solving skills, since a lot of the technology that we were using to measure methane emissions were very high tech and on the newer end of development.

Steer using Greenfeed to measure individual animals methane emissions at USDA-ARS study site in Nunn, CO.
Me opening the computer in the Greenfeed system to diagnose a problem. This Greenfeed is from the first generation of Greenfeeds produced by C-Lock about 10 years ago, so in many respects it is a dinosaur and requires a lot of extra attention.

If you would like to learn more about AgNext and the research that they are doing please feel free to visit their website, Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to learn more about C-Lock system visit there website. All linked below.

Facebook: @CSUAgNext

Twitter: @CSUAgNext

AgNext Website:


Alaska Dive Semester

My global challenge is studying the conservation of native fisheries, specifically anadromous species. I have a strong connection to the chinook salmon, sockeye, and steelhead runs that spawn in the rivers and streams around my hometown, Salmon ID. This is the longest salmon migration in the world, and these populations are in peril from both habitat loss and passage barriers along their migration corridor. I have studied these issues in their spawning grounds of the upper Salmon River watershed, and I wanted to extend my experience to the ocean. In spring semester of 2022, I attended a program called the Alaska Dive Semester that is offered by the University of Alaska SE and is based in the coastal community of Sitka. This unique program provides a small cohort of 15 students with the opportunity to earn an Occupational Endorsement Certificate in Scientific Diving that includes certifications in rescue and cold-water dry suit diving, a small vessel operator license, and a scientific diving internship. It sounded like the perfect opportunity to live in an ecologically rich fisheries hub while gaining experience in field techniques and diving.

The Alaska Dive Semester was the most eye-opening, learning intensive, and physically demanding four months of my life. Having never scuba dove before, within the first two weeks (mid-January) I was diving in a dry suit in 34-degree Fahrenheit water in the Sitka Sound. By the first month, I could perform rescue procedures for diving accidents or cold-water exposure emergencies and was certified in providing oxygen and CPR through the Diver’s Alert Network. By the second month I was learning underwater data collection techniques, identifying marine invertebrates and fish, and using technical equipment like lift bags to deploy heavy ocean exploration instruments. By the end of the semester, my classmates and I were making our own dive plans and float plans to complete our scientific diving internship. We designed and carried out transects in Macrocystis Kelp forests to determine ecological community structures and sampled for Didemnum vexillum, an invasive tunicate species.

The skiff handling and outboard maintenance experience I gained from the program made it possible for me to stay in Alaska for the summer and work as a fisheries technician on sockeye and chum salmon runs in Yakutat, AK and Juneau, AK. Salmon fishing is a pillar of life in southeast Alaska, so I was able to see firsthand the impact of the fisheries on the local economy and culture. I learned that the Tongass National Forest is intrinsically tied to the health of salmon runs. From diving all semester, I saw how important marine habitat is for anadromous fish to carry out their life cycle, and then witnessed during my summer work how marine health effects escapement rates in freshwater systems. These fish are a keystone species to say the least.

Aside from the invaluable skills I learned and the understanding I gained for Alaska fisheries; I also had a blast diving in arguably the world’s best cold-water diving location. Some dives I would descend when it was snowing and ascend to sunshine. I saw a variety of sea life including sea otters, Pacific octopus, wolf eels, nudibranchs, rockfish and greenlings, herring, and sunflower stars. I had a few close encounters with 900-pound sea lions and went on frigid night dives to see the water lit up with bioluminescence. I drove skiffs in rough sea conditions, backcountry skied on my time off, watched humpback whales bubble net feed, and learned about the indigenous Tlingit and Haida tribes’ history in the area and current subsistence practices. It was a life changing experience, and I plan on returning in the future.

Yes COVID – And , the travel bug

If the travel bug were real, I’d be infested. And I’m sure I caught it the moment I stepped off the plane in Lyon, France where I would spend the past year studying international politics and French literature. 

I joined the sizable cohort of international students at Université Jean Moulin in Lyon during the turbulent COVID pandemic, when the existence of such a program was under stress from a myriad of health and safety concerns. I think there’s interest in the idea that two very different viruses — COVID (real) and the travel bug (not real) — would exist in the same plane for me during that year. 

The lens through which COVID asked that I perceived the world revealed so much about my global theme and challenge. In fact, it really redefined culture and politics by putting them into quotidian terms. For instance, the diversity of cultures within Europe, already a small sliver of global diversity, insists that culture isn’t an abstraction to be experienced for a few months by airplane, but instead a lens through which we define our own existence. At the risk of getting too metaphysical, I realized while abroad that a theme like culture and politics is more about how we name the world than it is about what that world superficially looks like. 

The guiding principal for me right now is a ‘Yes – And’ : it’s the idea that two things can be true at once, and that there’s always a third truth next to them. 

Naming the world for me began at the academic level. I sat among French students in classes on topics ranging from fundamental rights and liberties in European courts to medieval poetry in early France to the geomorphology of water-based landscapes in the time of climate change. Diversity is a word that comes up a lot when we talk about culture, and it certainly applies to academic culture as well as social culture. This diverse set of subjects affirms that the perspectives with which I approach my degrees are not mutually exclusive. I can look at the world from both a cultural and a political stance, from both a literary and a scientific stance, or from both a pragmatic and an abstract stance. Understanding academics in this way indicates that nothing exists in isolation, and that interdependence is the defining quality of global culture. 

Naming the world continued and found its peak impact for me while travelling. This is where diversity in the classic sense returns, as I started to think of seemingly distinct countries like Finland, Tunisia, Malta, and so many others in terms of their interdependence. Oftentimes, though, I’ve been surprised by how pervasive that interdependence can be. In an example, a pastry vendor in Marrakech, Morocco, related to my travel friends and I that he used to work in the tourism industry, directing visitors to popular attractions around this part of north-western Africa. During COVID, when travel declined, that business practically dried up. In order to remain economically afloat, he pivoted to baking as a (hopefully) temporary position to support his family. It’s startling that we all experienced the COVID pandemic in very diverse ways, but more importantly that our personal privileges dictated how severely we were each impacted.

More profoundly, the way we each pivot during stressful moments is so indicative of how we have learned to name the world. It’s overly simplistic, but I like the sentiment that we are all just piles of organs trying to make correct decisions.

As I transition back into a more ‘stationary’ education here at UM, I continue to think about the uniqueness of those two viruses existing simultaneously. The globe is stocked with ‘Yes – And’s. I hope that I can let multiple truths exist together, and that I can let them guide my evolutive naming of the world.