News Detective: Emily Recalls an Unusual Trek

Emily Sohn, SNK’s intrepid reporter, recalls an unusual trek

I once traveled for 6 weeks with seven men. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy.

Emily taking a break from trekking in Greece.
David McLain/Aurora

The trip was a bicycle journey through Turkey and Greece. I was the smallest person in the group, my loaded bike weighed more than I did, and I was always the slowest on long rides. The expedition was a work assignment, so I had lots of writing to do on top of the strenuous biking. Plus, being the only woman meant I never had a roommate to make sure I got up on time.

Nevertheless, I managed to have a great time. The scenery was beautiful. The ruins were impressive. The expedition was successful. Every day, we sent dispatches, videos, and pictures to a Web site, where kids in classrooms around the world could follow our trip. Through the Internet, students also helped direct where we went, and they were able to e-mail us during the expedition.

I received more e-mails by far than any of the men on my team. Most of the messages were from girls. They asked about the things I was writing about, like animals, the environment, and the history of science. More often, though, they wanted to know more personal things.

“Are you homesick?” they asked. “Do you ‘like’ anyone on the Quest team?” was also a popular question. “What’s it like to be the only woman on the team?”

My answer was always the same. It doesn’t matter if you are a boy or a girl. You can do whatever you set your mind to. Unfortunately, many girls give up long before they have a chance to do the sort of exciting things that I’ve been able to do.

In one survey, many sixth- and seventh-grade girls said that it was more important to be popular than to appear independent. By the time they are seniors in high school, half of all girls say they’d give up math classes if they had the choice. These statistics make me sad.

There’s a whole world of learning out there. Don’t let it pass you by. You might be surprised at how much fun science and math can be, if you give them a chance. So, no matter who you are, get out there and explore!

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