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Women must Keep Learning, says Marine Ecologist and Drone Pilot, Dr Kim Baldwin

This is a part of blog series featuring Women Leaders on the occasion of International Women's Day 2022, and adds to our project Drones for Daughters - that inspires young girls for playing leadership roles in emerging technologies, aviation technologies and future of aerial mobility and bridging the gender gap in these industries.

Dr Kim Baldwin


Tell us About You! What do you do and where are you from?

I am a marine ecologist and commercial drone pilot with a passion for collaboratively developing ways to improve how we manage and sustain our environment with the use of information technologies.

I was born and raised in California, but have lived and worked in the Caribbean for the past 20 years. I have extensive field research experience from working on a variety of environmental projects. My work seeks to engage people with the skills to build effective partnerships and work together to leverage easy-to-use information technology tools that can help us foster an improved understanding of our environment and each other.

I am the Director of MarSIS (Marine Spatial Information Solutions, Inc.), and offer a wide range of environmental management, participatory research, drone mapping and geospatial analysis and monitoring services. I also offer a variety of in-person and virtual training courses that include drone flying, environmental mapping and monitoring, GIS, spatial analysis, participatory mapping as well as information sharing and engagement tools.

Additionally for the past 20 years I have worked as a Research Associate and Part-time Lecturer. with Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) at the University of the West Indies in Barbados.

What inspired you to do what you have been doing?

As a field researcher - I am passionate about mapping our world, its’ resources and all the various ways we can use our environment. My PhD explored how widespread collaboration enables us to better understand the importance of local environmental knowledge and aid our ability to map and identify interactions occurring within the ecosystem. I have found that collaboration not only helps to build partnerships, it allows us to develop a shared understanding of our environment as well as increasing support for management.

After working in the Caribbean for many years, I found that in order for us (scientists) to create more 'comprehensive information' that we needed to focus more on strengthening local participation in environmental management, including improving people's 'technological skills' to effectively enable the development of ‘locally-relevant' information and 'socially-acceptable’ management solutions.

As a leader, what is the most important task that you have taken on your shoulders?

To empower all people to understand the role they can and should play in helping to manage our environmental resources.

What kind of ecosystem reforms do you see happening in the next few years that will favour a gender-balanced world?

I have really seen tremendous improvements in just the past couple of years!! I think by continuing to acknowledge and speak about gender inequalities is very important as well as encouraging and supporting other women to believe in themselves, take risks, follow their dreams and most importantly lead by example!

This year's theme for International Women's Day is Break the Bias. So what is the most awkward, most uncomfortable bias that you faced and what do we do to change that?

As a 'privileged' (highly-educated, white-woman) working the past 25 yrs in Academia, Science, Technology, GIS and more recently with drones - I did not want to acknowledge that there was really a 'Bias'. Yet as I grow older and have gained experience, I now can see how widespread societal bias is and has affected my confidence over the years. We as women need to embrace and support each other to take risks and demand equality for everyone, everywhere, right now!!

What's your message for millions of daughters out there who are waiting to get inspired by you?

Follow your dreams, keep learning and know you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

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