Q&A with SOI alumnus and office staff Nick Castel

Q: Nick, you participated in the 2016 Arctic Expedition, what brought you back to SOI? 

A: The Students On Ice expedition and the summer leading up to it was a big deal for me. Travelling to a remote part of Northern Canada had been a dream on my radar for several years, and getting a chance to tell it’s stories alongside Parks Canada was a big career goal for me in university. All of that and more came true last year. The expedition was a truly special, eye opening look at what could be waiting for me out in the world.

Back in my daily life after expedition, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was this momentum that was building inside me; like the expedition was only the beginning of a bigger journey. Sitting with that feeling around the same time as I was finishing my undergrad, I knew it was becoming time to act on those feelings. When this job opened up at Students on Ice it really felt like the stars were aligning. I jumped on the opportunity right away.

Q: Tell us about your role with SOI and what you hope to accomplish?

A: I am the Alumni Programs Assistant at Students on Ice. I am working alongside the Alumni Program Manager to strengthen and expand the resources we provide participants once they’ve come back from an expedition. A strong alumni program means that your SOI journey never really ends, rather it’s just the start of a whole new chapter. As an alumni myself, I have an ever deeper interest in making sure the program is adaptable to alumni from all walks of life. I’ve been here for a month, and already it’s been inspiring to hear everyone’s stories from expedition and how they are shaping it into their own unique impact. They are doing some really incredible things.

My focus this year is on media and alumni chapters. My plan is to develop a robust multimedia program that uses all sorts of new types of media  collectively tell their expedition stories, while highlighting their achievements and discussions around polar regions. It’s going to be really sweet, and if you are interested. Give me a shout!

Q: Finish the sentence. I don’t leave the house without my…

A: PSA! We should all be bringing a water bottle with us to work/school everyday. Did you know you are supposed to be drinking 2L of water everyday? That’s two full Nalgenes. I try my best to drink one before lunch, and one in the afternoon/evening. It definitely takes a while to build the habit, but when I started drinking more I found I had more energy throughout my day.

Q: What was your favourite childhood toy? Did it have a name? 

A: My favourite childhood toy was an old Sony camcorder that my brother gave me. Probably the most prehistoric piece of technology I am familiar with as a millennial. You recorded to old mini-DV tapes, and the footage was all interlaced if you moved the camera too fast. The quality was just awful, but that didn’t matter.  I made a lot of videos with my sister when I was young, we were big goofballs. Today I still love filmmaking.


Q: I recently learned…

A: I somehow stumbled into watching Bill Nye video clips on YouTube yesterday (that guy is so rad) and did you know that the sun radiates the highest amount of it’s visible energy at green wavelengths (483 – 520nm)? Strangely enough though, is that all plant life reflects those wavelengths. This is the reason why they appear green to our eyes. But wait… is this not counter-intuitive?! You would think that after millions years of evolution an organism solely reliant on the sun’s energy would have grown to absorb it’s highest energy output, but instead it reflects it! Why?? Amazing… Amazing

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