“Water sloshes rhythmically as I make my way across a farm on San Cristóbal Island in the Galápagos. As I begin my trek up a steep hill, the weight of the five-gallon water bag I’m carrying begins to wear on me. This is my second trip grabbing water today, and I’m tired.
“‘¡Tomas más que las vacas!’ shouts a nearby farmer. It translates to, ‘You drink more than the cows!’
I couldn’t help but smile and laugh along with him. Geovanny Sarigu, the farm’s manager, works under environmental stressors like high temperatures and water shortages regularly. And he knows these things will only get worse over time. But every time I see him, he wears a big smile that infects everyone around him.
Galapágos farmers take such pride in their jobs as producers — and I really enjoyed working alongside them to collect data for a research project led by Angélica Gómez, a Ph.D. student in the UNC Department of Geography. Over winter break, [we] traveled to the islands … to discover how human activities have altered this once-pristine ecosystem — a question still largely unanswered.
In our efforts to understand the changes, the people we met and interacted with made me realize I had picked a meaningful project that would not only impact me, personally, but would directly enhance the lives of others.”
— Haley Moser ’18
Funding for Moser’s trip was made possible, in part, with funding from the UNC Department of Geography, the Institute for the Environment, and the Faculty for the Future — an organization that funds Ph.D. women in STEM from developing countries to do their research.