Bryn Edwards ’20 dips into history of the Galápagos with Uoroboros Fellowship

Bryn Edwards on Galapagos

Paradise found: Through CMC’s Sponsored Internships and Experiences Program, Bryn Edwards ’20 became a Uoroboros Fellow this academic year. Projects have to be driven by an international experience, so Edwards chose Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos, off mainland Ecuador. While there, she began researching and writing Paradise Found, a first-person fictional account of the human history of Norwegian colonists to Santa Cruz. “It still blows my mind that people from Norway ended up on these islands, and I personally have a connection,” said Edwards, who is of Norwegian descent. When she was a child, her mom Lauren, worked on the Galápagos for the World Wildlife Fund. “I grew up hearing stories from my mom about these crazy islands almost 700 miles into the middle of the Pacific,” she said. “When you see pictures of the wildlife there, it looks unreal. It’s all mystical in this Paradise Lost way.”

  • Bryn Edwards ’20
  • Hometown: Arlington, Va.
  • Majors: Government and philosophy
  • Activities: Swimming (freestyle and breaststroke)—All-American Honorable Mention 2018 in the 400 medley relay, Uoroboros Fellow, resident technology assistant, lab technology assistant, APPLE Council

Lonely islands: In June, Edwards spent four weeks doing research in a remote area outside the town of Puerto Ayora. She had been to the Galápagos before, but this was the first time she had traveled and lived alone outside the United States. “Where I was staying, there were no roads. All the fresh water had to be carried in by buckets,” Edwards said. “I was sad, but I knew the only way through this was to look forward and engage with everything. I set routines and goals for myself, and I started meeting as many people as I could. The sheer repetition allowed me to get what I needed for my book.”

Write stuff: Edwards pored over copies of family journals given to her by locals, read park archives, looked over documents from Norwegian historians, and thumbed through hundreds of photos. She’s about halfway done with her book. To receive credit for the project, Edwards needed to write 50 pages—she has 50 pages of research alone. Now she’s working on developing themes and characters with Professor Jay Martin, Edward S. Gould Professor of Humanities. “Here I am, a couple of months later, and the memories aren’t as fresh in my mind. But in a way, they’re more centered. I have a better sense of how I want a certain character to develop or have an experience influence them,” she said. “Getting stylistic advice and feedback from Prof. Martin as I write is tremendously helpful. I feel fortunate that CMC has been willing to support me every step of the way.”

Dual interests: Edwards chose CMC, in part, so that she could swim year-round in the outdoors. Even more important: pairing a high-achieving swim program with her desire to study government and philosophy. “At CMC, I can compete athletically at a really intense level while also taking equally as challenging classes,” Edwards said. “I didn’t feel I would be able to get both experiences anywhere else.” Head swim coach Charlie Griffiths was also a major reason why Edwards came to CMC. “I truly don't know where I would be or what I would do without him. I have never had such a motivated and inspirational coach,” she said. 

No distractions: As a member of the CMS swim team, Edwards competed for the SCIAC champion Athenas in 2017 and at the NCAA Division III Championships in 2018. She wanted intensity in athletics and academics, but it took until this year for her to find the right scheduling balance. “Having swim practice forces me to be attentive. I definitely manage my time better in season than out of season, so it’s probably a good thing that our season lasts so long,” she said. Swimming is also an essential mental release. For two-and-a-half hours a day, Edwards can look at the line on the bottom of the pool and forget about everything else in her life. “When I do get stressed about school, it permeates into swimming and I find myself distracted at practice,” she said. “Being able to leave all my problems away from the water has been really important.”

—Chris Watts


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