Multidisciplinary Climate Scientist and Advocate from Mexico

With a legacy of community service and scientific research in her wake, Mariana Hill Cruz (Arctic, 2008) is surging forward towards international impact via cutting edge scientific research and engagement. She is currently working on a Masters in Biological Oceanography at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research at the University of Kiel in Germany.

The Expedition Experience

As a young girl from Mexico City, Mariana had always dreamed about experiencing the true cold of the Arctic. When her dream came true in 2008, she described it as an overwhelming experience. She remembers one particularly vivid memory after a hike to the apex of a glacier in Sam Ford Fjord, Nunavut: “we had the chance to drink from the purest water of the planet: new-born water still running over the glacier it just melted from. The taste of the water was perfect: cold and pure.” However in that moment, as she watched it melt in isolation off into a muddy ice-free landscape, she imagined it as “a Giant bleeding to death”. This moment among others from her expedition, led her to take action.

Realizing Goals & Ambitions

After her trip and while navigating the social anxieties of being a teenager, Mariana felt an urge to change her focus in academics. Taking a leap of faith supported by her friends and family she enrolled in Marine Science at the University of Western Australia. Propelled into a whole new world of science and self-discovery, Mariana found herself more positive and engaged than ever before. In the months after finishing her degree, she even stumbled upon a newfound passion of hers in the Philippines: freediving… with sharks.

“One day my voice will be strong enough to be listened to by the top leaders of the planet. I hope to be able to advise them in the best way to build a sustainable society that coexists without damaging the piece of nature that still exists.”

Making A Difference

Mariana describes this new energy inside her as ‘bravery’, an energy that has helped her speak up in her communities around the world about issues she is passionate about such as climate change, family planning, and international Arctic policy. Mariana and her mother have also been using mathematical models to monitor Mexico’s greenhouse gas emissions, which she hopes will promote fuel mitigation initiatives in the country. In all of her studies, she enjoys finding new linkages between different areas of science and technology.

Looking Ahead

Currently completing a Masters in Biological Oceanography at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kielm and University of Kiel, Mariana hopes to understand as much she can about the oceans as a whole. Her dream is to then merge this understanding with climate science and then further draw ties to biological productivity using new types of modelling, “…food webs are very important for capturing carbon. Building a model that brings together physical and biological oceanography in face of climate change might be my PhD challenge. I have thought about several ideas as crazy as ‘the blood properties of deep diving cetaceans’, so I am very excited to see where this will end up”.

“And my advice to all young people: Being a good student brings many benefits, even if it is not so evident at the moment. Get used to working hard and give your best in everything you do.”