Mariela Vasconcelos

Education: Oswaldo Cruz Institute, Fiocruz and University of London, PhD, Cellular and Molecular Biology Oswaldo Cruz Institute, Fiocruz, M.S., Cellular and Molecular Biology Juiz de Fora University, B.S., Biology, Science Education

Born and raised in Brazil, Mariela is a passionate traveler, educator, dive instructor, and biologist. Her PhD research focused on neglected tropical diseases, cellular and molecular biology, ecology, and marine biology. After completing her PhD in Brazil and London, she took a sabbatical and traveled by herself on a round-the-world trip, where she explored more than 30 countries and became a scuba dive instructor in Southeast Asia. Mariela spent two years in Thailand teaching diving courses and leading groups around islands to discover and learn about marine species and how to protect them. She also volunteered on marine conservation projects, such as the Coral Nursery, a program designed to develop coral colonies through fragmentation using techniques similarly used in reforestation. As part of her sabbatical she trekked solo, without porters or guides, to Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes in Nepal, learning much about resilience and courage during her journey. For the past several years she has been teaching diving and leading travelers in numerous countries, and also working as a consultant and speaker, facilitating courses about leadership, empathy, vulnerability, diversity, equity, and inclusion to young leaders. In the last year Mariela started her own company, Mar├ę Expedi├ž├Áes, in Brazil, leading expeditions and outdoor education around the country, and being a courage-builder, helping women who want to travel the world. Mariela loves everything to do with traveling, conservation, languages, new cultures, and education. She believes in the power of vulnerability to connect and bring courage in people. She is fluent in Portuguese, English, and Spanish.