Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Picasaweb Caption: Yesterday Shannon Switzer and I (Vic, just look me up as "Stokastika" ha ha) went to visit Kristin Esteves, the Coordinator for Indie Roadtrips, and we had the most wonderful conversation! Shannon and I are interested in careers at the intersection of science and society, more so science-art-society in terms of linking knowledge with inspiration and human-environmental change. We want to find out "who are the people who are willing to do something different at the interface of science and society? Who are the new generation of scientists who are willing to connect the dots in any way possible to solve real-world problems, despite the modern, constricting conventions of academia?" Shannon and I are on our way to applying for an Indie Roadtrip with the guide of Kristin, and I guess a starting point is to have a picasaweb photoalbum. So far, I'm showcasing a collection of really cool Roadtrip Nation stickers... but I'm sure the photoset will keep expanding....
"Wow! This has been very inspirational!" I exclaimed to Kristin Esteves (Roadtrip Nation, http://roadtripnation.com), and Shannon Switzer, (Aquasoul Shannon, International League of Conservation Photographers, http://aquasoulphotography.smugmug.com/), "I really wished we just filmed our conversation right now! Maybe we can do a retake!" We all laughed. Shannon and I went out of our way to meet Kristin, the manager of the Indie Roadtrip Division of Roadtrip Nations, in Costa Mesa, California, and we emerged from their cozy, non-cubicle-super-comfy production company at the edge of an obscure road (perhaps 5 miles or so from the nearest beach) filled with hope and big dreams.
Randomness can sometimes converge into coherent order.
Let's see, where to start. First of all, I heard about Roadtrip Nation indirectly, through my parents watching PBS, and I was jealous of the three dudes who went on a bus all across the country (in which I had the privilege of being introduced to one of them today, I met a celebrity!) to meet a bunch of really cool, creative, intelligent people who have ultimately constructed their own roads to life. Roadtrip Nation was a line on my computer and occupying a dimly lit neuron in the back of my head until... I encountered that big green bus in the middle of the lawn between two high-traffic bikepaths at UCSB! It was fall quarter of 2008 and I just returned to graduate school. I was fairly depressed about my situation in life--starting from scrap again after transferring through three different graduate schools, having a very rocky relationship with one of my advisors, getting trashed by a guy who has the ability to emotionally sever himself from close to anything within a few minutes, lack of new friends... the list goes on.... And here was this massive, flaming green RV bus right in front of me! Boy, was I excited and dreams started to whirl in my head. I was informed by the Roadies that Roadtrip Nation was based in Costa Mesa, California, and I tweaked my head in surprise, "Huh! You're local!" About two-point-five hours from UCSB. That was WONDERFUL!
I took two or three cards with them, and I kept dreaming about how I wanted to interview people at the interface of science and society; people's whose feet have dug deep into the realm of science, but have felt compelled to translate the stories and adventure of science into creative products, from narratives to art... such as to inspire and educate the public... as well as move a few chess pieces in the political realm. Well, back them, with a swirling brain and no one really to talk to and share ideas with... these ideas remained largely dormant inside me.
In early November of the same quarter, I was filming the strangely bizarre artwork of Scott Chatenever (engineer-gone-artist) who creates ceramic pieces that almost look like real life. Many people are often fooled as to whether it is a real coral reef or a piece of art. He had been greatly inspired by chaos theory... or the leftovers of the engineering equations... and how the chaos element of the equation ultimately has its own order. I hung out with Scott on Santa Barbara's First Thursdays Artswalk, and in the wee hours of the night I had my fill. I was walking down the street in a total slump (the day had been tremendously overwhelming), and someone calls my name. It was Scott Bull, head of UCSB's Coastal Fund and President of Santa Barbara Surfrider. Scott had this promotional art-surfing-ocean event held at a very cool jewerly shop downtown for Surfrider and he wanted me to film it. 100 bucks. I was so so... SOOO tired... but I managed to still pull it off and do it. Of all things, I was carrying my film camera with me. Talk about being at the right place, right time. It ended that Oscar Flores (my friend) edited this film and I had to pay him $100 out of my own word and I lost out in nearly all dimensions for being over-committed... except for one thing. At the very end of the Surfrider Ocean event, I met some very friendly, blond-headed girl through Scott Chatenever. Her name was Shannon. She told me that she graduated from UCSB in biology and environmental studies. Shannon was seriously involved in photography, and that she was currently interning at the Santa Barbara Independent weekly magazine. I kept her card and didn't think much of the encounter for at least a month or so... well... you can't blame me... because my grandfather passed away, and I essentially gave the finger and any other possible f*you to the whole world, as I hid and was by myself for most of the entire month. Then I happened to pick up the Santa Barbara Independent sometime in early January... and on the VERY FIRST PAGE was a picture of Shannon! Apparently she wrote a few blurbs in the magazine and had an opportunity to interview Jean-Michel Cousteau.
In the beginning of winter quarter, I called up Shannon and we eventually met... along with several social events... from birthday parties to an informal screening of Sharkwater. It was a lot of fun. I had tried to start a group that was exploring the interface of science and art, and Shannon constructed a strategic name called "Woven Atom," which visually could mean the notion of "synthesis" at any scale, except most importantly, there were absolutely no negative or cliche associations with the term, and I thought it would be a perfect name for a group. Shannon, Lydia, Becca, and I started meeting once a week or once every other week, and we had an opportunity to discuss issue at the interface of science, art, and collective change. After a quarter of realizing I was not getting my work done for my Ph.D. I came to the conclusion that starting a group right now was not a very intelligent thing to do... and so I have become more reclusive as of late. It is my fault and my failure, but I am hoping that when the time is right, a group such as this can be resurrected.
What was really cool during winter quarter is that during this time period I self-published a book of poetry called "CHESS: The Poetry of Human-Environmental Change" and that Shannon was accepted into the International League of Conservation Photographers (she happened to meet the Director of the League at a Photography show in Las Vegas, Shannon is encouraging me to join... and I AM working on improving my portfolio!).
Shannon returned to Oceanside (her hometown), and I myself have met some wonderful, inspirational fishermen through my job as an objective note-taker for the Fisheries Information Network (FIN), which is now leading me to spending quite a few weekends in the San Diego / southern California area. Shannon and I have kept in touch. We are so like-minded in our vision for our future and our level of determination to succeed, despite the distance... it would be a great loss for the both of us if we didn't maintain contact... and eventually... serious (or seriously fun) collaboration. Like right now.
At the end of March of 2009, I finally was determined to go visit in person Roadtrip Nation. I saw the website at http://www.roadtripnation.com/, and it was very vibrant and encouraging, but there was no human flesh behind the pixels on the screen. I needed to see reality for myself. I discovered the address and phone number through Googlemaps: Roadtrip Nation. 760 Newton Way, Costa Mesa, CA, 92627, 949-764-9121. I was really excited to discover a production company that was OUTSIDE of Los Angeles (the Central Casting experience was a bit much for me). I was absolutely mortified to show up at the end of an obscure street full of sleepy businesses and perhaps even some car repair centers... only to find a segment of a building/warehouse that had this... nonprofit look. Roadtrip Nation's interior walls were coated with trendy collages and inspirational quotes, as well as an ancient massive green RV that now serves as an office, a fairly large "collective meeting space" that was filled with couches, a production room (where several computer were being used to edit films), and a hallway with a few collectively shared offices. It was as snuggly and as anti-corporate you could ever imagine! Amen, I found a College of Creative Studies (CCS) Mecca OUTSIDE of CCS. The fundamental mottos for Roadtrip Nation were "Define your own road to life." and "Self-construction over mass production." Personally, these kinds of philosophies are so compatible to my own that I could be won over through these concepts... but I still had to meet the people behind the scenes. In the first trip I met a lady at the front desk who was a bit harsh with me, but it turned out that I think she was having a bad day because the second time she met me, she was very kind and enthusiastic... and stated that she remembered me! Eventually, this team member transferred me to Luke, because I wasn't exactly sure about the programmng and exact opportunities at Roadtrip Nation. It turns out there are three main pathways: (1) applying for the PBS production of Roadtrip Nation in front of the camera (2) applying for the PBS production of Roadtrip Nation behind the camera and off-season / highschool education division (internship), and (3) applying to the Indie Roadtrip grant process, either as a film-maker or blogger/photographer. I was interviewed by Luke for the potentiality of becoming an intern, but then I told Shannon about the opportunity, and since we are both struggling to be in the realm of science, art, and society--on the same road to life, but oblivious to the opportunities out in the world after we receive our graduate degrees--we've been bubbling and oozing over the phone about how we could collaborate this summer and apply for an Indie Roadtrip.
About two weeks ago, Shannon and I attempted to speak with Kristin at Roadtrip Nation... through a random drop-by (it was a crazy day because I was stuck in bad traffic, Shannon was on three hours of sleep, and it was her last day of moving from Santa Barbara to Oceanside), but we found out that Kristin was frolicking around by her bravesoulonesome in London, engaged in her own Indie Roadtrip! At least Shannon found the place and became familiarized with the season. The second time I visited the production company, my level of comfort and familiarity started to grow... especially with the privilege of sharing my discovery with Shannon.
And finally, I sent an email to Kristin... and to my surprise, I found a very friendly, encouraging email in return (I am only saying this was a "surprise" because I have met a bunch of religious cult weirdo freak rejectionists in my short stint exploring the tar pit swallowing jungle of Hollywood). We were about to set up an appointment... and low and behold... all elements converged today with much success!
Shannon and I showed up a little after one (I was a bit antsy because I hadn't jogged yet), and Kristin was just about rappng up her relaxing lunch. Kristin has this wonderful gestalt personna about her... and in my ghost reference head... she reminds me very much of this super intelligent geology graduate student I used to hang out with at UC Riverside--Jen Sabado, around 5'7" semi-dark skin, dark staight hair a bit beyond the shoulders, trendy-glasses, soothing, laid-back voice, fit-physique, "eloquent-physically-fit-trendy-geek-type"--so that aspect of my memory vamped up with my level of comfort. We had the opportunity to sit down and chat in a collective office for about an hour... and slowly started deriving mental maps of each other. Kristin Esteves was part of the first Roadies I believe back in 2005, and ever since then, she had stumbled upon several job opportunities within Roadtrip Nation. She loves her current job so much and she said it suited her well because through she graduated from Cal State Monterey, she still didn't know what she exactly wanted to do with her life. Though Kristin committed to an interesting Teaching-English-in-Prague type of job starting October, and she wouldn't have known of this opportunity if she hadn't been working with Roadtrip Nation. Kristin also has mastered her writing abilities through this job, and she can be proud to say that she is establishing herself as a writer (Sweet! That makes three of us in a single room). Shannon's been around the world... with an outside-the-box Africa research adventure (I saw lots of gorilla pix!), much more so than myself, in which my mother being Greek has forced our "traveling experiences" to be largely endemic to this single country in Europe.... It is an eye-opening adventure on its own, but largely frustrating because there are a few dozen more countries sitting there north of Greece, waiting to be sampled!
I guess the most crucial part of the conversation came when I started mentioning my history. I graduated in CCS Biology at UCSB blah blah blah, but I transfered to three different graduate schools... from UCLA to UCR and then back to my quasi-academic-liberal-environment of UC Santa Barbara in which my non-traditional undergraduate education really made me have a hard time dealing with a world outside that is designed to compartmentalize you into a very tiny box. The world overall does not welcome "globalist, interdisciplinary" thinking, and there are very few people out there who would be willing to take you under their wing and protect you... but you otherwise have to do your own legwork.... I told Kristin and Shannon that conventional science is short of solutions in terms of meaningful and widespread impact in human-environmental change, beside the mentioning of the academic "ivory tower effect." That is why I have become interested in the research and practice (outreach) of science and society. What is exactly "science" because the conventions of science have shifted over time? What is the role of science and society? The interface of science, media, policy, and public awareness/inspiration? What is the future of science? What is the future for scientists? What are they expected to know? How are they expected to behave? Are they to remain cut off from the world, or are they to play the game of being a stakeholder in the circus/arena of multi-disciplinary problem-solving? Who are the people who are constructing/pursuing innovative programming synthesizing science and art for human-environmental change? Why can science NOT be divorced from art? How come science HAS been divorced from art? (historian of science and art, Ernst Haeckel, etcetera). Why is there a divorce between collective learning and collective behavioral change (e.g. science and policy)? How can a scientist sit in front of a computer and crunch numbers all day (sever his rational thought from emotions) to make an obvious doomsday conclusion... rather than get out of his office and attempt to do something about the problem? And just because a university scientist testifies to Congress about a certain issue, why is this called "advocacy" and this is looked down upon? Weren't cavemen doing science? If you learn something new, you change behavior, individually or collectively! You just don't sit there and watch the sky fall or the house burn amidst the overgrown pine forest! As a graduate student, when I walk out from the university, what should I be expected to know and do? What types of jobs are available to me? How will the structure of society be like? Do they even exist? What are the tools scientist need to become responsible, interactive citizens of society? How come science is in the shush shush for careers? Why does it remain an elusive profession, especially when most of the world we live in has been shaped by the pursuit of science and engineering?
Well, there you go. 20 questions. Stuff I am willing to ask. And so I have discovered that "modern conventional science" is only a PART of the recipe to human-environmental change. What else does a scientist need to know to become a complete package deal?
Kristin and Shannon seemed very intrigued by these questions that I was asking, and the final major point that I made was that when you are a young student and have a clear vision (e.g. synthesis of science, art, and society), but the existing structure of society does not have doors open to you, do not have avenues or pathways... it's a very painful experience because essentially your sensical unbounded ideas are stuck in your head. Your personal vision of the future, the very structure of your mind does not match the structure of society. A very fundamental mismatch that makes society seem like a bunch of prison walls in nearly every direction. Perhaps creating a film can lead people to start thinking about things... and maybe creating a culture of science, a culture of change through film can start breaking down the prison walls and people may be intrigued to open doors and design new opportunities. It's a dangerous road to walk, but nevertheless exciting.
We live in a world of dichotomies... rationale-emotions, science-art, science-society, humans-environment... when this world fundamentally NEEDS synthesis.... Where do we go to find people who are willing to cross conventional boundaries and connect the dots in any way possible to solve real-world problems at the human-environment interface?
I suppose those are some of the fundamental themes Shannon and I will touch upon in our film.
I was thinking in the car on my way up to Costa Mesa from San Diego... "I am eager to be a scientist and remain a scientist, but I am not willing to sacrifice my expression of emotion for the pursuit of science. Emotion needs to be a part of the equation... of course within sensible balance. And there needs to be new ways for scientists to express their concerns... their emotions...."
Beyond that, Kristin, Shannon, and I started discussing some logistics... like formatting mini DV tapes all the way to sacrificing my stationwagon--painting it green--for the benefit of the film. Kristin seemed extremely excited about our ideas and our passions, and she also seemed very impressed that we made the effort to come visit her and overlay a friendly face and community of dreamers on top of a website that does not radiate emotion the same way how human interaction does.
There are several things that Shannon and I have not figured out yet. Will we be place-driven or people-driven? Who will be the bare minimum of three people we propose to interview? What part of the summer? Late July? Early August? So many things to think about! And this blog is just the beginning... collecting my thoughts into some level of narrative-like coherence. It's all ROUGH DRAFT!
Anyhow, Shannon and I left Kristin of Roadtrip Nations with big smiles, and we two UC Santa Barbarians went buzzing a bit afterwards on what our next steps were. It's amazing to think that I found a sounding board for my brain, a collaborator! My first self-deciding collaborative film, where my film camera and crew become a cohesive, coherent extention of myself--not an appendix or tonsils, but more so my lungs, an extra pair of reflexive eyes, and most importantly... my heart.
The world looks very beautiful today, because randomness has formed some degree of order. And it was all unexpected. We keep pursuing order, one day at a time, and even more wonderfully unexpected things shall happen!
This is the best possible internship I could have ever applied for... because our own creativity is the name of the game!
OTHER RANDOM THOUGHTS:
**science: abstract to practical, from esoterika to pervasive
**science-art-society: a new academic culture of change--"If Science is a Culture, then where will I find it?"
**creating a shot list, defining our style before we hit the road, what will be our universal "toy" that will symbolize a connecting of dots and building blocks....
**BUMPER STICKER: Bureaucracy. A Global Disease.
**Luke mentioned the film crew structure for Roadtrip Nation is very ORGANIC--order comes naturally, take it as it comes, pursue that keeps working, scrap what doesn't work, order emerges through retrospect
**Kristin mentioned how one day of traveling is like one week of living your usual, sedentary lifestyle.
**Why are things not changing rapidly? (1) Lack of catastrophe (unwilling change) (2) Lack of will power, motivation, consciousness (willing change) (3) Lack of technical knowledge--or self-pursued know-how (e.g. waiting for Toyota to crank out hybrids versus we tinker with our extra time to convert our very cars into electric vehicles, converting a power grid to solar-power panels through our own means) (4) We are too interdependent (crutching other aspects of society to produce products rather than being independent in technological pursuits)
**Painted Green Subaru Legacy as Sacrificial Lamb for the summer
**Either a west-coast route or an east-coast route
**Be people-interview driven over place-driven
**Suggestions for people to interview, a starting point:
**Godfrey Reggio and Phillip Glass (Qaatsi Trilogy)
**Michel Gondry (film director / science slant, wanted to be a scientist as a teenager)
**Werner Herzog / Errol Morris (Arizona?)
**Santa Fe Institute, President is Geoffrey West, houses scientists and writers (New Mexico)
**Mary Carrillon, Ice Stories, providing scientists with media tools and programming (Exploratorium, San Francisco)
**UC Santa Cruz Science Writing Program / Scientific Illustration Program--several recommendations, names (speak with Robert Irion)
**Tap into Shannon's Contacts with National Geographic, International League of Conservation Photographers
**Milton Love (fisheries biologist, if science is culture, then go see Dr. Milton Love)
**Barry Spacks, poet married to a scientist, reaching into the science realm (outsider, third person)
**Affiliations with the Jean-Michel Cousteau Society, Ocean Futures, Home Planet Productions
**Michael Hanrahan, Blue Horizons, UCSB
**Dotty (scientific illustration at Kerr Hall, UCSB)
www.roadtripnation.com/apply --> Shannon/Victoria Switzer/Minnich firstname.lastname@example.org wovenatom
What I wrote on my profile for Roadtrip Nation.
Though my hand-me-down name is Victoria, my self-proclaimed writing/artistic name is "Stokastika," which means seeking order from chaos. In a nutshell, I am a California native (but Half-Greek) born in a family with a lineage of scientists... but I have an instrinsic propensity to express myself and my knowledge of science through humorous narratives and multi-media ventures. I am very much interested exploring a profession integrating science, art, and inspiring/educating various audiences in the dimensions of human-environmental change. Participating in Roadtrip Nation can help me become exposed to those few people who are willing to "step outside the box" of the ivory towers and connect the dots in any way possible to address and solve real-world problems. Being a conventional scientist simply is not enough. For a brief synopsis of my relativistic identity crisis, please visit: http://stokastika2.googlepages.com/whoistokastikashort.pdf (short version) and http://stokastika2.googlepages.com/whoisvictoriastokastikaLONG.pdf (long version, it's a bit haranguing, but it shall do!). And most importantly, a resume can be viewed here: http://stokastika2.googlepages.com/vminnichroadtripnationRESUME.pdf
Why do I want to hit the road?
My great friend Shannon and I are very determined to go on an indie roadtrip because we are two "anomalous scientists" with very similar, yet non-traditional, artistic visions for our future, though we don't know where these opportunities are. Though we have survived years of education, internships, and jobs closely revolving around the sciences (biology, earth sciences, environmental sciences), we have come to realize that the conventional recipe of being a scientist in the university is falling short of solutions in terms of educating and inspiring wider audiences, as well as leading to drastic changes in the human-environmental condition, ranging from shifting collective consciousness to changing policy and management of ecosystems. Shannon and I, with our emerging skills and experiences in art, are attempting to venture out of the comfort zone of the university "ivory towers," foraging for professions at the interface of science and society. Who are those people who go out on a limb to make science accessible, fun, and available to address real-world problems? Who are those people who make science a culture of change?
I myself have a "sacrificial lamb" of a car (Subaru Legacy, 1993) that I am willing to paint green for the purpose of the trip. Shannon and I discussed the potential of coordinating a trip either up-and-down the West Coast or the East Coast, but then we decided to cater our route more along the lines of accessibility of major interviewees. Hypothetically, if Al Gore were available to be interviewed in San Francisco, then I think we would coordinate most of our adventures/interviews along the West Coast. If John Bohannon ("Gonzo Scientist") were available for an interview in Boston, then I'd think we'd cater toward an East Coast trip. Our goal is to remain realistic, affordable, and within a two week time-frame.
Primary questions I would ask the interviewee.
(1) Who are you? (2) Where you are from? (3) What is your profession? (4) What is a basic overview of what you do in your job / basic duties? / a day in the life of? (5) Do you love what you do? (6) Why do you love what you do? (7) What are the circumstances that led to your profession? (a) childhood upbringing (b) more recent experiences / job opportunities? (8) What are the major conflicts you faced throughout your life that have potentially impeded your vision--pathway? (e.g. self expectations versus family expectations versus peer pressure versus educational pressure versus societal expectations) (9) What are some of the hardest decisions and major sacrifices you had to make to pursue your dreams? (10) Did you have a vision of becoming who you are now, or was it more of an accident--chance opportunity meets a prepared mind--and you grew into the job that you worked through? In other words, did you design society's coat around you, or did society give you some one-size-fits-all-coat and you sort of grew into it? (11) What is the fundamental driver/motivation that had sustained the spark for you to get to where you are today? (12) How do you define science? The underlying human behavioral practices of science? (13) How do you define art? (14) Where do you draw the line between science and advocacy? (15) Do you feel that science is only practiced in the university? (16) How do you become a "legitimate scientist"? (17) What is the role of science in society? (18) How does your profession relate to other professions around you? Who do you interact with on a daily basis? Do you consider yourself a specialist or a generalist / synthesizer? Inbreeding or outsourcing? (19) With a society crutching so much on scientific and technological knowledge, future leaders essentially need to be detail-savvy--to be able to dig deep into the rabbithole beyond the user-friendly consumer interface--just to make rational decisions about how to manage lifestyle as a collective. What do you see the role of the future scientist? What do they need to know? Especially in the realm of environmental issues? (20) Fundamental take-home message?
**Additional questions (a) Work completely consuming you and your life (b) What were you doing at our age (around 21)?
Two interviews of choice out of 10 that I sampled.
After watching about 10 videos, I have come to the realization that the two most "pertinent" or "ideal" interviews to our interests were those of (1) Dr. Andrew Steele (astrobiologist at NASA) and (2) Atoosa Rubenstein (editor-in-chief of 17 magazine). Dr. Steele's chat on astrobiology to a non-technical audience was quite impressive such that a complex topic was boiled down to simplicity and that his storytelling was engaging. I also wanted to see how the interviewers approached Dr. Steele: what specific questions did they ask him? And how did they respond? The second interview of choice was surprisingly Atoosa Rubenstein, primarily because she had the most vibrant, enthusiastic personality out all the clips I watched. Since Atoosa radiated positive energy around her, I noticed that I paid much more attention to what she had to say compared to all the other interviews. Having the opportunity to have a conversation wich such a unique character--despite her discipline or profession--would be a treat on its own!
My reaction to the interviews.
I left Dr. Steele's interview feeling inspired by his quoteable quotes such as "we are stardust" and that "no one has the right to pigeonhole us," but I felt that he left out a lot of information in terms of "What is the daily life of a scientist?" "And what are the pros and cons about being a scientist?" "How does your work specifically impact our daily life?" In addition, I would have pushed hard on trying to acquire B-roll, or essentially more visualization of what Dr. Steele stares at every single day through a microscope. Dr. Steele may have been a happy camper, but many students are mortified by the mere sight of a microscope. The aftertaste of Atoosa's interview was much like the rare delight of my mother's homemade cheesecake. I felt like that if I met Atoosa when I was an undergraduate, I probably would have hung out with her quite a bit as my "serious adventure" buddy. If I haphazardly ran into her in a coffeeshop, I would have had an epic one-hour conversation with her. No matter what Atoosa does, she will carry along her great vibes with her.
Additional questions to ask the interviewees.
There were several questions not touched upon in both interviews. As mentioned previously, I would have liked to have known more about "a day in the life" of a scientist such as Dr. Steele, as well as learning about what he thought the significance of his research was to society. A few other topics that were not addressed were (1) What were his activities or passions when he was a child? How did he fall in love with biology and not any other discipline? (2) How did his family encourage/discourage him through life? (3) What were the "other open doors" that he was adamant about keeping open? (4) If he had an opportunity to tell a story about his technical research to a non-traditional audience (say a classroom full of middleschoolers), how would the story look like (book, cartoons, film)? What would be the basic plot and characters? (5) How does he see the future of science? What will scientists be expected to know and do? A few questions I would be eager to ask Atoosa are: (1) Did she ever face major obstacles or conflicts with her family or background as a kid to get to where she are today? (2) Though her work consumes her, what does she do to take a break? (3) What is a typical "day in the life" of the Seventeen Magazine Editor-in-chief? (4) What is her magazine doing to inspire and raise awareness among the teen culture about environmental issues and opportunities to play a role in human-environmental change?