Fourteen years ago in 1996, I eagerly started my first day in playgroup at the Swiss School. Over the next 9 years at the school, I made lifelong friends and had fantastic teachers that taught me to love learning. I have many fond memories of my primary school days: sleeping under the stars in school camps, admiring a hornbill that landed outside our classroom window, and swimming with my friends in various competitions. My bilingual education helped me transition to the Swiss Stream at the English-speaking UWCSEA, where I learnt the value of hard-work and perseverance, and discovered my curiosity for the sciences.
After the IB program and a gap year, I moved to St Andrews – a tiny seaside town in Scotland – for undergrad. In my first week of classes, I had a geology field trip to some local outcrops, and I learnt that field scientists get to go on outdoor adventures as part of their job! I was hooked. After a couple of summers working in different labs, I realized that I like studying the interactions of life and the environment.
Now, I am in the 5th year of my PhD program in Earth System Science at Stanford University in California, USA. I study microbes at the bottom of the ocean, and how they cycle greenhouse gases and affect climate. Cumulatively, I have spent almost 3 months at sea, collecting samples from offshore California and in the Gulf of California, Mexico. When I am not doing fieldwork, you can find me in lab setting up experiments, processing data, or teaching classes. Although I do not know what the future holds after my PhD, I am glad to have found a program that satisfies my science curiosities and lets me go on maritime adventures.
(Nicolette Meyer, Singapore 2021)