Princeton Profiles: Zoe Sims, finding purpose and passion in the natural world

Princeton Profiles: Zoe Sims, finding purpose and passion in the natural world


ZOE SIMS: Living
and learning at Mpala has shaped me in ways
that I never expected. I’m definitely at my happiest
when I’m outside in nature. I’m feeling like I’m really
part of the ecosystem where I’m living, and
is something I’ve come to really deeply value. My name is Zoe Sims. I’m a Princeton in
Africa fellow here at Mpala Research
Centre in Kenya, and I’m a Princeton
alumna, Class of 2017. Princeton in Africa is
really about providing leadership and professional
development opportunities. My role, as part of the
management team at Mpala, involves connecting
and supporting students with the management,
and also supporting our researchers here at
Mpala, and supporting some of our outreach programs,
including the Northern Kenyan Conservation Clubs Program. DAN RUBENSTEIN: Zoe came from
the ecology and evolutionary biology department at
Princeton, so I knew her when she was a senior. She came here, immersed herself,
got to know all the faculty members, got to know the staff. And I’ve watched
her grow and mature, and she’s now very
confident in her roles. We had a group come from
Ol Girgir, one of our schools, one of our conservation clubs. Where they live, they
do not see zebras, they do not see dik-diks,
they do not see hartebeest, they do not see elephants. And so when they come to
Mpala, it’s amazing for them. So it fell to Zoe to blend
right into their school, to blend in and work
with their teachers, and make it an amazing
experience for them. And when we heard them
over lunch talking about, ‘I saw this, and I saw
that, and I saw this.’ It’s clear that she has
done a terrific job. ZOE SIMS: As human beings,
we are part of our ecosystems everywhere we are. I find that being here
at Mpala, in Kenya, I’m more acutely
aware of that fact. Partly because I
wake up every morning to the sound of guinea fowl
in the bushes outside my room. And many days I go
to sleep at night to the sound of hyenas
in the distance, calling to each other. All of these things are
just reminders that I am part of nature. I’ve never gone to a new place
before and felt so quickly at home, and so welcome
with such open arms. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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