MODG sophomore Eva Heroux recently was declared a winner of National Geographic’s 2019 Student Expedition Scholarship.

Eva traveled to Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and the Amazon this past summer, along with a team of National Geographic guides and photographers.

National Geographic offers a range of two-week-long trips for high schoolers each year, during which students have the opportunity to focus on a specific project area - photography, geology, or wildlife conservation.

Given that Eva has professional photographers in her family, it is no surprise that she chose photography as her focus.

“When I was younger, I’d get toy cameras as gifts and experiment with them,” says Eva, laughing. “I’ve always been surrounded by the arts.”

Students were able to photograph and research the rich and varied wildlife present in the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands. One particularly unique experience for Eva and her 17 fellow classmates involved swimming alongside four different types of sharks, including hammerheads that were bigger than many of the students.

“I was more excited than nervous,” says Eva, casually adding that she nearly bumped into a shark at one point. “We were with all these experts who had been doing it for years, so I wasn’t worried.”

Beyond exploring the wildlife and natural beauty of their surroundings, the crew of students also were able to visit villages in the Amazon and spend time with the local communities.

“We got to visit their homes,” recalls Eva. “I was given a bracelet from one of the local women. That was really special. I speak Spanish, so I could understand and talk to them, but we did have interpreters as well.”

Though Eva bid farewell to South America and her newfound friends some months ago, she has not let her love of photography go unused. Eva takes photography classes both in a co-op and an art center, and she hopes to ultimately develop her talents into a career.

“My family is very artistic,” says Eva. “I really want to do something with the visual arts!”

(Photos courtesy of Eva Heroux.)