Academic Travel

Critical Botany & Equitable Leadership · Antarctica

Samantha excited about Antarctic plant life on a hill with penguins
Excited about Antarctic plant life on a hill with penguins

Organized by Homeward Bound Projects · November - December 2023

Three-week program building the capabilities of non-binary and women leaders in the context of global sustainability and collaboration. Focus on increasing participants' visibility, strategic thinking, community impact, and understanding of climate change in Antarctica and its global ramifications. Professional networking with United Nations consultants, policy makers, premier academics, heads of industry, and community builders from around the world. Study of resilience and adaptation strategies of Colobanthus quitensis, Deschampsia antarctica, mosses, lichen, and wildlife. Examination of Antarctic glaciers, sea ice, and icebergs change over the last thirty years. Development of communication and advocacy strategies as Antarctic Ambassadors.

Habitat, Conservation & Land Use · Khumbu region, Nepal

Organized by Wildlands Studies and accredited by California State University · April - June 2015

Seven-week program focused on habitat conservation, land use, and ecology on an elevational gradient in the Nepali Himalayas. Team orientation in Kathmandu (4,593′), one-week of field studies in Chitwan National Park (330’), then five-weeks of field studies in the Himalayan foothills. Our group trekked from Jiri (elv. 6,250’) to Everest Basecamp and Mt. Kala Patthar (elv. 18,225’). Two faculty members hosted daily lectures on local plants and animals, hydrology, geography, economic botany, and the Nepali language. Field and secondary study of native and garden plants, particularly, ginger and turmeric. Presented on Zingiberaceae (ginger family) cultivation and Himalayan cultural significance to cohort.

Students and instructors in Nepali Himalayas
Students and instructors in Nepali Himalayas

Agroecology, Cultural Anthropology & Linguistics · Cusco & Puno regions, Peru

Sam transplanting orchids in Peru
Transplanting endemic plants in the Peruvian cloud forest

Organized and accredited by The Evergreen State College; Spanish and Quechua studies with Amauta Spanish School · February - June 2014

Five-month language and cultural immersion program in the Andean mountains, primarily in Cusco and the Urubamba Valley, Peru. Program themes included subsistence agriculture and agricultural technologies, native plant medicines, and local market structures; montane and subalpine ecology; Quechua and Spanish languages. Students spent one-week in Manu National Park, studying Amazonian flora and fauna while inspecting the issue of insect trafficking; and ten days near Lake Titicaca, with focus on lake ecology and economy. Time abroad also included a three month research internship in the Lucumayu Valley Cloud Forest. Learn more about internship with Pacha Conservancy at

United Nations Commission on the Status of Women · New York City, NY

The Working Group on Girls member and African Road representative · February - March 2012

10-day convention on issues faced by rural women and girls. Selected as a youth representative to attend policy discussions, panels, presentations, and networking events at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Part of an international team of youths that contributed to the CSW 56 Girls Statement, policy recommendations that were submitted and considered for adoption.

African Road team with United Nations delegates from Malawi, Southern Sudan, Ghana, and Zambia
African Road team with United Nations delegates from Malawi, Southern Sudan, Ghana, and Zambia

Cooperative Governance · Kigali, Rwanda & Nairobi, Kenya

Samantha learning hands, shoulders, knees and toes song in Kinyarawanda
Learning the song "Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" in Kinyarwanda

Organized by African Road · April - May 2011

Three-week learning trip to community health initiatives and self-governed women’s and youth collectives. Program themes included community resilience, food sovereignty, agroecology, cooperative entrepreneurship, health and education equity, empowerment within collectives, and peacekeeping. Study of conversational Kinyarwanda and Swahili. 

Ignited passion for youth and grassroots leadership, regenerative agriculture, language, social equity, and peace.

Samantha Elie Botanist