Author: Shannon Switzer

Shannon is a published travel writer and award-winning conservation photographer. She’s worked with National Geographic Traveler Magazine as their “Curious Traveler” and is also one of National Geographic’s Young Explorers, raising awareness about the pollutants that are degrading our country's coastlines and oceans. With a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Shannon has conducted field research and photographed endangered species and remote cultures worldwide. After living in Australia, Uganda, the Seychelles Islands, and on a boat sailing and surfing 3,000 miles down the coast of Mexico and Central America, Shannon believes in travel that directly invests in the integrity of the communities she visits. As a lifelong West-Coaster hailing from San Diego, she’s excited to now explore all the “Right Coast” has to offer. Her dream is to someday live where she can ride her horse to the beach with board-in-tow and surf. After graduating from Duke, she also hopes to help small island nations fight the good fight against sea level rise.
Shannon Switzer
alumni, CEM, student life, students

Goodbye, Dear Friend


We met in 2009. My life was in limbo but exciting things were happening. I had just completed a 6-month internship at a weekly newspaper in Santa Barbara and returned from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico assisting a now quite successful underwater photographer, Thomas Peschack, through an expedition with the International League of Conservation Photographers.

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Shannon Switzer
alumni, leadership, student life, students

Time for a New Year’s Reboot


I’ve officially completed the first quarter of my PhD, and I felt like it was one of my weaker academic performances to date. Much like my first semester in the MEM program at the Nicholas School, I felt ALL the feelings: inadequate, gleeful, inept, intellectually engaged, inefficient, excited, frustrated, enlightened, moronic, self-assured, and doubt-ridden…to name a few.

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Shannon Switzer
alumni, CEM, events, student life, students

Here’s to you, Class of 2015


A few weeks before graduation I was honored (and surprised!) to be selected as the student speaker for our graduation ceremony. The nomination forced me to hunker down and write about my time at the Nicholas School. Initially this seemed like just another item to check off the long end-of-the-school-year task list, but it ended up being an incredible gift. It forced me to carve out time to reflect on all of my experiences and especially the extraordinary people I’d come to know during our two years in the Master of Environmental Management Program.

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Shannon Switzer
CEM, coasts, Duke Marine Lab, oceans, student life, students, travel, Video Posts

Surf’s up in Siargao


Every now and then there’s a shining moment in time when the stars align and perfection ensues.
This few-times-in-a-life event occurred during my recent trip to the Philippines, to both finish my research evaluating the mangrove restoration and alternative livelihood project in Oriental Mindoro, and to explore another one of the countries 7,107 islands.

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