Lindsay VanSomeren

Lindsay graduated with a master’s degree in wildlife biology and conservation from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She also spent her time in Alaska racing sled dogs, and studying caribou and how well they are able to digest nutrients from their foods. Now, she enjoys sampling fine craft beers in Fort Collins, Colorado, knitting, and helping to inspire people to learn more about wildlife, nature, and science in general.


Getting to Know Lindsay

As a writer for Untamed Science, there are a few questions we thought might help you get to know Lindsay a bit better.

If you were an animal, what would you pick and why?

I’d be an Arctic tern, so that I could fly around and see the entire world for free!

Why do you love writing and particularly why do you love science writing?

The world is a big place and there’s an infinite number of things to learn. By writing, I can explore all kinds of different topics and teach people about all kinds of amazing things. I like writing about science in particular because there’s always new things to learn, and I love showing people that science isn’t boring and dull – in fact, it’s the opposite!

What life experiences have helped you the most become who you are today?

When I was in high school, I started racing sled dogs. After I graduated, I moved to Alaska with my team, and worked as a dog handler in a long-distance racing kennel. It taught me that it’s OK to be weird and want to do things differently than other people – in fact, it’s more fun that way! It also taught me to get outside my comfort zone (something I’m still working on today).

What are some of the biggest life challenges you’ve overcome and how does that shape your life philosophy?

I used to be an insanely shy person. I would run away and hide from people rather than talk to them! I’m still on the shy side, but going through grad school and now working as a freelance writer has made me come out of my shell. More than anything else, it’s taught me that sometimes the best things in life come from getting outside your comfort zone. It’s scary at first because you think you’ll make lots of stupid mistakes, and you will! But by pushing past this fear – and even embracing it, because it means you’re doing something worthwhile – you can get better rewards than you ever thought possible.

If money were no option, what would you be doing?

I’d be off backpacking around the world. I like backpacking because you get to see the land and all the things in it up-close and personal in a way you just don’t get when you’re zooming around in a car. I’d go off the beaten path and find some cool locals to hang out with.

What do you do on weekends for fun?

Right now, I’m pretty busy with working. But, I like to go hiking and fishing, and there’s a lot of opportunities for that in Colorado.

What advice would you give to 15 year old you?

Don’t worry about what others think of you. High school seems like it’ll last forever, but in a couple years you’ll be graduated and you’ll keep in touch with a few people, but almost everyone will forget about all the things you worried about. Instead, focus on doing the things that make you – not others – happy. Oh, and in a few years when you go to college – be smarter about taking out student loans!

Any other advice you’d give to upcoming science writers?

Always try to look at the big picture of how all the little cogs and wheels fit together. Everything is connected. By zooming out and looking at the big picture, you can see all kinds of new little things to learn.

Also, just start writing. It’s a skill just like any other, and you need to practice it to get good. Write every day – it doesn’t matter what you write about or for whom. Just write. You’ll always be learning and evolving. I hope that I’ll be a much better writer in 10 years than I am today!

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