Sofia Fea Ruiz
Hey! I’m Sofia, a 3rd year student at UC Santa Barbara pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies. Growing up in the woods of Connecticut, I’ve been fascinated with nature since an early age and have since become an avid adventurer! I love to explore unique ecosystems, a passion that guided me in my search for an exciting field study program. When I found out I could earn credit by backpacking and kayaking through the mountains, plains, and rivers of Montana I knew that the Wild Rockies Field Institute was the program for me!
I completed WRFI’s Montana Afoot and Afloat program in the fall of 2021. This helped me complete my upper division major requirements. After a year and a half of online school, Afoot and Afloat was quite literally a breath of fresh air and an academic experience unlike any other. Two months of soaking in the rich history, ecology, and culture of the vast state by foot, boat, and van not only enriched my environmental knowledge but instilled hopeful inspiration for the future. We learned from people and plants alike as we alternated between frontcountry meetings with compelling guest speakers and reflective moments in the stunning backcountry. The theme of ‘human-land relations’ applied equally to the socioeconomic systems we interrogated as to the personal introspection that was encouraged by our ethical explorations. The course was a time of immense growth for me, academically and otherwise.
Since returning to Santa Barbara, I’ve been spending my time studying, surfing, hiking, and taking mindful moments in nature. I love reflecting on my WRFI experience, so please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or just to chat!