What is your role during the Extreme 2004 expedition?
My role is to communicate what's happening aboard R.V. Atlantis, on Alvin, and at the vents, with kids and teachers in classrooms.
Why did you choose this career, and how long have you been doing this? I'm an education consultant, and I write books and classroom materials for kids. I'm an illustrator, too. So I've chosen to pursue a lot of things at once -- almost always involving science. My career really began in high school, where I wrote my first children's book for an English class, but I've been working full time for more than 20 years.
Tell us about the most interesting thing that has happened to you because of your work.
This! I'm almost always looking ahead to new, exciting ideas and projects. One favorite thing I did in the past was a tour of New York harbor in a tugboat, part of research I was doing for an upcoming book.
What do you like most about your job? Least?
People. In science, in particular, I find people who are in love with their work, as I am with mine. Least favorite thing is rejection letters. Even experienced writers get 'no' answers to new things they try -- that hurts.
What do you like most about going to sea? Least?
Having the water beneath me just feels right to me. I dislike the smell of diesel fuel.
How often do you go to sea?
This is my first time as part of a research cruise, except for three hours last summer taking water samples in the Gulf of Maine. I love any kind of boat, and take every opportunity to get out on the water, although I don't have a boat of my own.
Do you ever get seasick? If so, how do you handle it?
I never have. I'm relying on ginger and M & M's -- two things I've been advised to bring on board.
How do you fill your free time aboard ship?
Drawing and writing.
What's your favorite hobbie? Favorite movie? Favorite book? Favorite food?
Knitting, walking my dogs, hanging out with my husband and kids. My favorite movie is Local Hero, a strange film about a Texas man who visits a small Scottish village. My favorite books are Philip Pullman's incredible series, His Dark Materials, which starts with The Golden Compass. I like to read them while chomping Atomic Fire Balls or Macintosh apples. Yum.
Where is the most exotic place you have been?
9 North -- our research site for this trip! Before that, a Greek island called Santorini, which has incredible high cliffs that were formed when the volcano in the middle of it blew. It's the most beautiful place I've ever seen.
What one tip would you give to students interested in pursuing a career like yours?
If you love to write and draw, get serious about it today. Same with science. Start learning, don't wait. Also -- let people know what you're doing. You'd be surprised where you'll find help and encouragement.