Category Archives: Environment

1.21 Gigawatts: Sci-Tube – Five Videos That Will Blow Your Mind

-Sarah Keartes

#1 Crying in Orbit?


In his recent mid-orbit vlog entry, Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Chris Hadfield demonstrates the physics of crying in space.

“Your eyes will definitely cry . . . but the big difference is, tears don’t fall, so grab a hanky,” Hadfield said. It is earth’s gravitational force that causes our tears to fall. In a micro-gravitational environment, tears collected in the eye are unable to flow downward. Instead they pool together, forming a “ball” of water which will sit on the eye until it reaches a larch enough size and will break free and float around.

Even more interesting is that space tears can actually sting your eyes. The reason behind this is unknown, but NASA has long studied the effects of space travel on human vision, which include flattening of the back of the eyeball, changes in the retina and optic nerve, and problems with both near and distance vision.

#2 The Prince Rupert’s Drop: Unbreakable Exploding Glass


Do not be afraid of this video’s seven-minute playing time. Stop what you are doing and tune in to this incredible high-speed video. Correction: high-speed video of explosions. Correction: high-speed video of exploding glass—that you can’t break with a hammer. What?

Destin of “Smarter Every Day” (with a bit of help from Orbix Hot Glass in Fort Payne, Alabama) explores the physics behind the Prince Rupert’s Drop. The drop, also known as “Prince Rupert’s Balls” or “Dutch Tears,” is a tadpole-shaped glass object that is created when molten glass is dripped into water to cool.

The resulting structure possesses mind-boggling physical properties: the head of the drop can be bashed and beaten to the heart’s content without breaking, but even the slightest nick to the glass tail causes a large release of stored potential energy resulting in microscopic fractures from tail to head. In other words? Boom goes the dynamite.

#3 00-Robots? University of Pennsylvania Quatrotors Go “Bond”


The James Bond theme has been covered thousands of times on Youtube, but to my knowledge, it has only been covered once by a fleet of autonomous flying robots.

Birthed from U. Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences GRASP lab, the tiny robots, dubbed “Nano Quadrotors,” can be programed with a series of points that must be reached at a precise time. Amazingly, the direct path is chosen by the bots, which are able to pick up the locations of fleet members using infrared technology.

GRASPLAB members are working with scientists to improve their robots by mimicking the swarming behaviors of birds, fish and insects—the Quadrotors operate not as a swarm, but much like a flock.

#4 The World’s Cutest Frog


Forget cats. This tiny, slimy squeak-toy which looks more like a character from Pokémon than an earthly creature, is the Namaqua Rain Frog (Breviceps namaquensis), and it may be the cutest thing I have ever seen.

Unlike many of its amphibious relatives, the frog, filmed here by nature photographer Dean Boshoff, is a desert resident. Native to the Namaqualand coast of South Africa (and adjacent sandy inland areas), the Namaqua Rain Frog is a burrowing species which surfaces only when ample rainfall brings a plethora of insects to feed on.

Should that blood-curdling, utterly terrifying, well, “peep” not do the trick; the frog will inflate itself to its full girth when threatened.

#5 “4D” Printing: Transformers Anyone?


SJET, LLC is a research-based practice founded by architect, designer, and computer scientist Skylar Tibbits. Combining tools from architecture, design, fabrication, computer science, and robotics, SJET focuses on creating self-assembling structures using “4D”printing technology. In other words, they are working to build things that build themselves without external guidance.

“What we’re saying here is, you design something, you print it, it evolves…it’s like naturally embedding smartness into the materials,” Tibbits told Wired in an interview.

How does it work? Each piece of the structure is molecularly altered—embedded with patterns of elements that attract each other through negative and positive interactions when the correct amount of energy is added (here through shaking). Tibbits and SJET see the application of this technology in the creation of large scale smart structures in extreme environments such as space and the ocean.

“The self-assembled structures of the future won’t just be large; they will also be smart. Every brick, beam, and bolt may one day compute and store digital information about the building, environment, and construction to aid assembly,” Tibbits said.

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Oregon’s Whale Watchdog

Carrie Newell beneath the Gray Whale head at the Whale, Sea Life, & Shark Museum in Depoe Bay, Oregon. (Image courtesy of Carrie Newell/The Whale, Sea Life, & Shark Museum)

-by Bryan Kalbrosky

On a clear day, the waters are clean and cerulean, the sky is unblemished, and the bright sun airs across the entire coast of the Pacific Northwest. Scenes like this not only help make the Oregon Coast one of the top travel destinations in the region but one of the most captivating places in the country to spend time during the spring and summer.

Perhaps one of the most compelling features that the Oregon Coast offers from late March until mid-June is the presence of nearly eighteen thousand whales passing through on their twelve-thousand-mile journey from Mexico toward the Arctic Ocean in Alaska.

It is here in Depoe Bay, the whale watching capital of the Oregon Coast, that marine biologist Carrie Newell makes her home and career.

Whale Research EcoExcursions, Newell’s company, was founded independently in 2005 after Newell hoped to seek a proactive initiative to fund her own research. She began the company following inadequate support from Oregon State University, where she was teaching at the time. Newell, a licensed captain, is also a published author and a professor of marine biology at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon.

With a six-person capacity on her ex-coastguard boat (also known as an inflatable Zodiac boat best popularized by the Cousteau team), Newell and her dog, Kida, glide through the waves of Depoe Bay in search for one of the Summer Resident Gray whales. When the residents are in season, Newell advertises a 95 percent success rate for spotting at least one whale on her countless journeys after nearly every weekend for twenty years.

While there may be dangers on a potentially rocky ride, Newell holds a diverse and varied background in both marine biology and volcanology. With more than twenty years of experience on the water, Newell has absorbed a sense of respect for the ocean. Passengers often compliment her remarkable ease with which she travels.

“I want them to be educated. I want them to feel safe. I want them to come back knowing more than they did when they left,” says Newell. She also provides jackets, hats, and blankets to any patron on the six-person journeys aboard her twenty-six-foot long boat. “You do whatever you can to make sure they’re happy.”

Even though most whales are known to stay half a mile off-shore, every hour, up to thirty whales are known to pass through when they are in season. By Oregon state law, Newell and her boat are required to stay at least one hundred yards from the whales. If the whales come toward the boat, however, the passengers may freely interact with the animals.

Each whale can grow up to forty-five feet and can weigh as much as seventy thousand pounds when fully developed. While these whales were removed from the endangered species list in 1994, the experience of spotting a whale with Newell is often considered to be a life highlight by reviewers.

“I teach [my customers] that these whales are individuals and that we have to save them because it’s not just a whale—it’s a whale with a name and with a history,” Newell says.

She claims to understand the personality of these whales even with just a half a dozen encounters. Some of her favorite whales include “Scarback” (who was hit with an exploding harpoon in the mid-1980s), and “Blanco” (also known as the “white whale male gigolo”). Her all-time favorite consistent sighting is “Eagle Eye” (whom she first encountered nearly fifteen years ago), an easily identifiable and beautiful whale she has come across every year since she first named him. After so many sightings, Newell eventually named her boat after him.

Newell’s research includes measures such as discovering a whale’s gender, if they have any calves, what their condition and feeding areas are like, what the water temperature is, and a thorough analysis of the specimens found from plankton nets.

Thanks to her vast experience and research ethic, she was one of few selected to work with both Oregon Field Guide and Ocean Future Society on PBS Features with the Cousteau team. Here, she focused her work and research on proving the feeding habits of Summer Gray whales.

“Diving with the Cousteau team and just being able to talk to them and learn about their experiences was probably one of the high points of my whole life,” Newell says.

In the 2004 PBS Feature, Newell proved that gray whales actually feed on mysid shrimp while they are in Depoe Bay, and not their usual diet of amphipods. After this discovery, her fame within the scientific community began to skyrocket.

Much of the new information Newell discovers has been applied to the museum exhibitions that she now operates on the Oregon Coast. She can often be found here on the weekends managing the Whale, Sea Life & Shark Museum in Depoe Bay.

“It’s privately funded out my own pocket,” says Newell, who hopes to share her knowledge and infamous lifelong collections with people beyond her classroom. “I’m teaching an overload at the college now to help pay for the museum.”

Recently at the Whale, Sea Life & Shark Museum in Depoe Bay, Newell has installed a blowing gray whale that sprays real water and makes a sound at the push of a button. She is also working on the new bird room, with bird specimens and replica of a mother and child western gull.

As someone who paved a career to match her interests, Newell advises those struggling to find their passion to listen to to what their gut is telling them.

“It took me years to go after what I wanted to do,” Newell says. “Go with what your heart tells you is right. Get your foot in the door and keep your focus on what you want to do.”

Don’t Worry Be Healthy: Shedding Light on SPF

-Marissa Tomko

I brush my teeth seven times a day. I consider salads to be a food group. I think nail care is very important, and I tell people about every little pain I feel just in case I randomly lapse into a coma and the doctors need to figure out what caused it.

That is just the beginning of the list of peculiar health obsessions that I picked up from my dad. But they’re not all weird. One actually important habit I picked up from my old man: compulsive sunscreen application.

The sun emits two types of rays that reach the earth: UVB and UVA. UVB, or ultraviolet B rays, are short wave rays that highly contribute to sunburns and skin cancers. Most sunblocks are used to protect you from UVB rays. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, this is because up until recently, it was thought that they are more dangerous than UVA rays. However, this is not the case. The CDC notes that UVA rays are the most common rays that warm the earth, and that they increase our chances of getting skin cancer. UVA rays are long wave rays that cause aging effects in the skin, such as wrinkles. It is also the main ray responsible for that golden tan so many of us long for, which over time, can cause skin cancer. Tanning salons use UVA emitting beds, and lounging in one ups your chances of getting melanoma by 75 percent after just one use—that’s pretty scary.

I know what you’re thinking—all of this ray knowledge makes you feel powerful. In fact, I know you’re reading this on your smart phone and are in the sunscreen aisle at the supermarket right now! But what kind of SPF do you buy? And what does SPF even mean?! I too, have asked these questions, and would love to shed some (sun)light on the answers.

SPF stands for sun protection factor. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, sunscreens must have an SPF label, as dictated by the FDA. The SPF label tells you what percentage of UVB rays are being absorbed or deflected by the sunscreen inside. (Because of this, it is important to look for broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA rays.) The EPA recommends that you use an SPF of 15 or higher if you plan on being exposed to the sun for more than twenty minutes. SPF 15 protects you from ninety three percent of UVB radiation, while an SPF 30 sunscreen will absorb or deflect ninety seven percent.

I don’t get serious very often. But when it comes to sun protection, I turn into a mom. (Love you mom!) No matter who you are or what color of skin you have, it is imperative that you cover up and protect yourself. I love a day in the water or a nap in the sun as much as the next guy, but I love my health more. So when you slip on your aviators for your next adventure, slather on some sunblock, and throw on a ball cap and a button up. Your old-age self will thank you.

1.21 Gigawatts: Do U(O) Know? Shark Finning

“1.21 Gigawatts” is a weekly science column covering local and national science news, as well as wildlife and conservation. Sarah Keartes is an ocean-obsessed junior studying journalism and marine biology. For more science mind candy, follow this Attenborough wannabe on Twitter.

-Sarah Keartes

Throughout the first week of the term, the hustle and bustle surrounding the campus book store resembles that of a Savannah watering hole. Buzzing about the perimeter is a diverse blend of organisms: “Jazzed Jenny,” a hyperactive creature who has had her fill of early morning caffeine; “Barely-There Billy,” moseying his way to class against all primal instinct; and “Miserable Madison,” low on much-needed resources after purchasing this round of textbooks.

There I sat lurking—a self-proclaimed nature nerd armed with a whiteboard waiting to prey on the minds of spring students, posing the question “Do you know what shark finning is?”

Around forty students took the bait and ventured a guess. While many of them penned their responses with confidence and conviction, not a single one answered correctly.

“Shark finning is riding sharks like Manny the shark guy,” one student wrote.

The incorrect responses continued, with students most commonly defining shark finning as “shark fishing,” “cutting off a shark’s [dorsal] fin,” and “making shark into soup.” Close, but no cigar. Let’s start with the soup.

Shark fin or “chì” soup has long been served as a symbol of wealth and class in Chinese culture. The simple soup which is comprised of pricey meat from the shark’s fins, along with a few traditional ingredients, boasts price tags of more than $100 per bowl. While the majority of fin meat sold in world markets does supply demand for chì soup ingredients, not all fins for sale in markets are the result of “finning.”

Shark finning does not just mean removing shark fins, nor is it synonymous with shark fishing. The term actually refers to the practice of removing the fins from a shark while the animal is still alive and aboard the shipping vessel. Once removed, the shark is dumped overboard to bleed to death. Lovely.

Why dump the sharks? Shark fin meat is vastly more valuable than the meat from the animal’s body, so by dumping sharks overboard, fishermen are able to use smaller boats and retrieve more fins at less cost to the industry. This gruesome practice is wildly unsustainable as large populations can be overfished rapidly by small fishing operations.

Shark finning has become one of the hottest topics on the marine conservation scene, sparking heated debates and nabbing the attention of many activists and politicians. But like our sample of students, many conservationists, bloggers, and shark supporters misconstrue the term.

Who cares? Shark fishing is “bad.” If the issue is brought to the forefront, why does it matter?

In order to better understand this, let’s take a trip to yester-year. Since the dreaded “duh-nuh…duh-nuh” theme song first made its appearance in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, sharks have stared in more than forty horror films. This rise to stardom helped secure our finned-foes as one of the media’s most menacing monsters.

As technology and continued research allow us to become more environmentally aware, we’ve jumped to the other side. We watch “Shark Week” by the millions, we eat up Planet Earth and soak up David Attenborough’s narration, we are going green, we post, we forward, we petition, we tweet—we are part of the solution, right?

This is where we run into problems. Just like shark-slasher films polarized the way we looked at sharks, the gruesome practice of finning featured in blog posts, tweets, articles, and online petitions with little explanation of alternative fishing methods agitates the battle between fishing communities and conservationists, devaluing the work of those searching for a more sustainable solution.

This has become a prominent issue for shark biologists like David Shiffman.

“Increasing the level of confusion and misconception that’s already out there only makes things worse for the oceans, and demonizing responsible fishing practices can undo decades of progress made by those who do understand the issues,” Shiffman said.

Think you now know which sharks have been “finned?” Take the Quiz!

Top image by Nicholas WangIllustration by Lily Nelson. 

Miss Independent: The UO Women’s Water Polo Team’s Efforts Outside the Pool

-Eleni Pappelis

Sophomore Jenness Howery is an athlete at the University of Oregon. She participates in the university’s women’s water polo team but has been a swimmer since high school. She swam for Sheldon High School and was introduced to water polo her junior year. Having not gotten enough of her new found extracurricular, she joined the University of Oregon’s club women’s water polo team which she claims is the best decision she ever made.

The women water polo team at the University of Oregon consists of twenty-seven girls. Because club sports at the university are insufficiently funded, it is the women’s water polo team’s responsibility to fund expenses such as pool time and money to travel. The girls practice Monday through Thursday in Springfield. The team partakes in five traveling tournaments a season, January through April, and nationals extend through May which is based on the outcomes of regional tournaments. These tournaments take place in states such as Washington, Arizona, and California.

Howery explains, “It’s really important that we fundraise. Obviously it’s important to help girls who can’t pay the full amount to participate, but it’s also important to make sure to be successful inside and outside the water.”

Each year, the team comes up with fun and creative ways to fund themselves. Some activities include cleaning up Matthew Knight Arena after games or events, sending letters to friends and family to donate money, and selling donuts, cookies, and shirts. Restaurants such as Track Town Pizza and Panda Express participate and have donated a percent of their profits on a scheduled day to the team.

One of Howery’s favorite fundraisers is a banquet held for the highest donors. This banquet is waited by the team and includes a silent auction with prizes from gift baskets to resort vacations. Howery explains that this particular event is special to her because the whole team is bonding to support themselves.

These ladies consistently make it to nationals, and have been working hard to uphold the success they make for themselves.

Image from

University of Oregon Sophomore Jumps The Fences

-Eleni Pappelis

When fox hunting became a more fashionable sport in the 18th century, competitive horse jumping first started to develop. Due to fences around enclosed properties, horses and their riders required training so they were able to clear the fences and get to the foxes.

Today, the objective of jumping is to complete a course with no mistakes. Each course tests skill, precision, and training. This winner of a competition is the horse and rider who clear the course fastest with the least amount of penalties. Penalties are given when any part of an obstacle is knocked down or when a horse refuses to make a jump.

Ali Levy, a sophomore at the University of Oregon, has been riding horses since she was 8 years old. While competing at a horse show, she takes at least three classes a day, in which she must memorize a ten-jump course and is expected to execute it perfectly.

“Long story short, I have to do it flawlessly and still look good,” Levy says.

While she attends school during her off-season, Levy rides at least once a week. When it becomes closer to a show, she trains for five hours a day, six days a week.

“I love this sport because it takes me away from my busy life for a few hours. It is nice to leave campus for a while to spend some time relaxing,” says Levy.

Levy intends to join the club team at University of Oregon in the future and is excited to compete on the team because of the many horses she will have the opportunity to ride.

“I really enjoy riding different horses because it makes me better,” she says.

A New Sport Takes Hold: The Zen & Art of Squirrel Fishing


-Emily Fraysse

Yes, you did read that right.

While the origin remains uncertain, the sport of Squirrel Fishing has been growing in popularity the past five years. What it ultimately entails is the challenge of “catching” a squirrel by attempting to lift it off the ground using some type of bait (usually a nut, preferably a peanut) that has been tied to a fishing line or string. The nut represents the strong bond that is developed between human and animal.

This abnormal activity has been practiced all over the states from Harvard University to the University of California at Berkeley to Penn State.

A woman named Annie started a website demonstrating the exact skills and equipment needed to perform this odd hobby. With the aid of labeled photographs, Annie states in the first step that, “a happy little squirrel should be within reach.” She warns that since squirrels are often found in public places, you must take the time to find a secluded area— it’s worth it!

For your makeshift or purchased fishing line, be sure that it is not too long. Annie nails the point by saying, “a shorter pole allows greater contact with your friends the squirrels, and isn’t that what we’re all looking for?”

When on the hunt, remember to slightly crouch with bent knees. Although the squirrel may be in a guarded position, this semi-non-threatening approach will make the squirrel much more comfortable with coming up to you. Since squirrels are skeptical and skittish by nature, the guarded behavior is to be expected. Be patient—if their backs are turned or they fluff their tails, then they are not ready to be fished for. Annie’s advice is to go for the fat ones because they tend to be friendly and are slower runners. But make sure you have the arm strength to pick it up! Eventually the determination and lure of the nut will be so enticing that he will eventually succumb to the kernel.

Playing tug-of-war, pull up the bait slowly as the squirrel grasps to it, completely under the nut’s spell. The reward of this fine activity happens after the tree-crawler is lifted off the ground with his little stubby legs flailing in the air. Notice his beady black eyes, cute little belly, and sweet nose. After admiring the poor creature, let him have the prize, and continue on with your day!

Hurling—Not Curling

-Casey Klekas

I play an Irish sport called hurling, which, as we hurlers like to say, is a cross between lacrosse and murder. It is not the ice sport of curling, where ex-janitors come to flex their sweeping skills. Rather, it is an ancient Gaelic game that combines every other field sport I can think of. Here’s the rundown:

Hurling is played by two teams of between nine and fifteen players, depending on how many are too hung over to make it to the field at noon (remember this is an Irish sport). The field is supposed to be over four hundred feet long, but we normally just play on a soccer or football field. Soccer goals are in place, but they have football posts attached, so it looks like an “H”. The game is played with a “sliotar,” a slightly more forgiving baseball. Each player has a wooden stick, similar to . . . well, similar to nothing you’ve ever seen. It’s called a “hurley” and its about three feet long with a flat paddle at the end. Whenever I’m on my walk home from hurling practice, hurley in hand, everyone stays out of my way. It looks like a prop from some medieval torture chamber. But during a game, the hurley is used to whack the sliotar, rather than someone’s kneecap—not intentionally, at least.

The object of the game, besides survival, is to have more points than the other team. It’s one point between the football posts and three points inside the soccer goal, which is difficult because the biggest, burliest man on the team plays goalie. The better players can score by putting the sliotar between the posts from half-field or more. I, on the other hand, have only been playing for two years and am lucky to keep the ball in bounds.

To move the ball, you normally use your hurley. You catch the sliotar with your free hand, then toss it on to your paddle. The paddle is flat, so you must balance the ball if you want to move more than the four legal steps of ball-in-hand. You are going to want to move because there is at least one sizeable Irishman on your heels. To shoot, you simply flip the ball back to your hand, then toss it to yourself like you would hit a baseball. Oh, yeah–you don’t hold the hurley like you would any other club. Your dominant hand is on bottom, so opposite a baseball bat, which makes for an initial awkward period of about a month.

You can also slap the ball with your free hand, which is good for short passes and assists, but no throwing. You can kick it and play a full game of “sliotar soccer,” as long as you don’t mind the axe chops of hurleys at your feet. The other team can eventually prevent you from kicking the ball, so you can also use your hurley to hit the ball on the ground–like a mutant form of croquet or a violent variation of field hockey.

The list of illegal moves is short: No throwing the sliotar, as I said. No picking it up from the ground with your hand–you must scoop it up with your hurley. No cross-checking with your stick. And, no… uh… that’s it.

I forgot to mention: it’s not a light contact sport. One of my first games, I nearly broke my thumb. Well, I didn’t nearly break it—some bearded ape from Corvallis did. During the first game of an all-day tournament last year, I watched a man break both his tibia and fibula like a pretzel. The next game, a boy tore a ligament in his knee. But, most days it’s just a bunch of guys outside whacking some sliotars.

After every game, the teams join together for a round of beers and burgers, followed by another round of beers. But sometimes this occurs between games.

So, if any of this playful barbarism sounds appealing to watch, or if you hate yourself enough to play, come support the Eugene Trappers. We practice every Saturday, one o’clock behind Roosevelt Middle School. We’re looking for new players so please come by ready to hurl!

This Saturday, March 9, we host a tournament played at the Eugene Irish Festival. Check us out on Facebook and YouTube. There are only a few hurling teams in the Pacific Northwest and Eugene is home to one of them. So support your local boys and help us celebrate the Irish diaspora. Go Trappers!


Photos by Ricci Candé

Elephants and Rhinos and Bears in Oregon? Oh my!

-Emily Fraysse

Bobbing his head forwards and back, he lunged right for our car.

“Roll up your window! Roll up your window!” screamed my mother in the driver’s seat.

Of course, in the first thirty seconds of driving into the Wildlife Safari Park, we get attacked. Before this moment, we never thought we would experience a full-grown ostrich bombarding our car, especially not in Oregon, but we did. Thankfully, before the beast could do any damage to the paint job of the Toyota Rav4, the workers at the Wildlife Safari shooed him away to the side of the road.

The park, located in Winston, Oregon, consists of two main areas: the drive-thru and the Village. The Village houses an array of animals such as wolves, flamingos, Egyptian geese, kookaburras, alligators, lemurs, bobcats, and bearded dragons. Another part of the Village is like a petting zoo, with pygmy goats, lamas, miniature donkeys, and horses. But the most amazing part of this park lies in the rest of the 600+ acre lot. Guests get the chance to experience animals up-close by driving through the five sectors (Africa Section, Wetland Area, The Americas, Asia Section, and Tiger and Cheetah Area) of the park.

It was traveler Frank Hart’s vision to create a non-profit facility in the Pacific Northwest with its main goal being to save rare and endangered species. Thirty-eight years later, through education, conservation, and research, not only has it become a fantastic wildlife safari, but the zoo is one of the top breeders of cheetahs in the United States. Since the zoo opening in 1972, there have been 171 cheetahs born in the park.

Going along with its goal of protecting the diversity of species, it created the Conservation of Rare and Endangered Species (C.O.R.E.S.) program in January 2005. Connecting with researchers all over the world, the Safari’s website explains that the program is creating, “scientifically-controlled managed breeding programs, public awareness of wildlife conservation issues, and in some cases, reintroduction of wildlife bred in captivity back into secure habitats.” Currently, it is working on cheetah reproduction projects as well as an African Elephant conservation and reproduction center.

Check the website for inside events including bear feed, breakfast with the bears, camel rides, cheetah encounter, elephant barn encounter, elephant car wash, and lion feeding!

Duck & Cover: She Loves to be a Dirty Duck

-Eleni Pappelis

After trying nearly every sport offered at Beaverton High School, there was only one that stuck with Zoe Wilson. At the age of sixteen, Wilson started playing rugby at the recommendation of her friend. Her school never had a women’s rugby team before Wilson’s friend, Sierra, rallied a team together. Wilson decided to give the sport a shot and went with Sierra to the first few practices. She immediately fell in love with rugby. This interest soon developed into a passion. She more noticeably felt this connection while transitioning to a college team.

Wilson was a freshman when she joined the Dirty Ducks women’s rugby team at the University of Oregon. It was during her first season that Wilson’s dedication to rugby was tested.  With a close score against Stanford, players rushed down the field fighting to win another “try” against their rival team. Unexpectedly, Wilson tore her meniscus in her left knee during the play.

“It was really hard because I just wanted to keep playing,” Wilson says. “It was really frustrating.” However, she did not let this physical pain hinder her from finishing the game.

Eyes teary from the initial shock of her injury, Wilson quickly composed herself and demanded that she would be put back in the game to play. She set aside her pain to devote all of her remaining ability to rugby.

Wilson is now a sophomore and captain of Oregon’s Dirty Ducks Rugby Club. As a result of her injury, she wears a knee brace whenever she participates in practices or games. The damage in her knee makes her more susceptible to future injuries and could possibly lead to a necessary surgery. Wilson believes that only the most serious of injuries could force her to stop playing rugby.

“I get a lot out of rugby, “she explains. “It allows me to feel like the person I want to be.”  Wilson’s experience proves that rugby is much more to her than simply a game. It demonstrates her strong character. Wilson is driven to win and dedicated to stay tough to support her team. She is determined to play the hardest she can, even if it means receiving a few wounds.