Monday, June 1, 2009

Meet the Expedition Leaders

People & Cultures
Hope Thornton.
St. Lawrence University, B.A.; SIT Graduate Institute M.A. Hope majored in Anthropology at St. Lawrence, where she led and organized trips in the Adirondack Mountains. She spent her junior year in Kenya, where she lived with a farming community in Kisii, herded goats and cattle with the Samburu, and studied trade beads of the Spice Route in Mombasa. Hope spent thirteen months working on a permaculture demonstration plot near Lilongwe, Malawi. As a consultant for Children in the Wilderness/Wilderness Safaris, she worked in Malawi¹s Liwonde National Park on issues of wildlife conservation and sustainable agriculture. She earned her Master¹s in Sustainable Development and International Education at SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont, where she also worked on a sheep dairy farm. Hope led Putney Student Travel community service programs in Tanzania for four summers, and spent the summer of 2007 in Malawi leading Putney’s Global Awareness in Action program. She co-led a National Geographic Student Expedition in Tanzania in 2008. She spent the past year researching the food and nutrition security situation in Usisya, Malawi and providing technical assistance to district level School Health and Nutrition Supervisors through the German Technical Corporation (GTZ). She is proficient in both Kiswahili and Chichewa.

Azikiwe Chandler.
University of Notre Dame, B.A. Zik is a widely traveled photographer, writer, and educator currently living in Africa. He majored in Architecture at Notre Dame, where he received the Student Leader Award for outstanding contributions to the university. Upon graduating he joined Americorps, serving as a team leader in South Carolina and Denver and as a selection and placement officer in that organization’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. Zik subsequently spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bluefields. Nicaragua, where his focus was at-risk youth. He returned to D.C. to work as a Projects Director for Americorps, and then moved to Seoul, Korea, where he taught English to middle and high school students. Zik has led numerous international education programs for a number of organizations – including Youth International, The U.S. Experiment in International Living, and Carpe Diem International – in Central and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Italy, Uganda and Tanzania. He recently completed a book-length memoir/travelogue. Zik is fluent in Italian and Spanish and conversant in Kiswahili, Portuguese and Korean. Some of his writing and photographs may be viewed on-line at


Mike Kautz.
Middlebury College, B.A.; University of Montana, M.F.A. Mike majored in English and Environmental Studies at Middlebury, where he spent a semester at Lund University in Sweden and a winter term in the Dominican Republic on a traveling writing workshop with the author Julia Alvarez. After graduating he completed a semester program in documentary photography at the Salt Institute in Portland, Maine, where his subjects included moose hunters, French-Canadian musicians, and volunteer firefighters. Mike took on a photojournalism internship at the Salt Lake Tribune, spent three summers working as a publications photographer for Overland Adventures, LLC, in England, France, Switzerland, the Western U.S., and Alaska, and worked as an instructor at a National Geographic Photo Camp in Maine. He served as huts manager for the Appalachian Mountain Club in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, where he oversaw one hundred seasonal employees and managed the AMC’s High Mountain Search and Rescue operations. Mike recieved a Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Montana. Some of his photography may be viewed on-line at Mike co-led the National Geographic Student Expedition to Tanzania in 2008.


Welcome family and friends of National Geographic Student Expeditions participants!

We have created this blog in order to keep you updated on the progress of your child’s National Geographic Student Expedition this summer. We hope that occasional updates throughout the expedition will help keep you informed about the activities, projects and successes of the program.

The expedition leaders will post entries approximately once per week during the program. The leaders’ first priority is the students and the program. If updates are infrequent, it is likely due to the group’s very busy schedule and inconsistent internet access. Please know that any important issues that arise during the program will be discussed and resolved with leaders and parents by phone, not through the blog.

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Best wishes from us all at National Geographic Student Expeditions