Alessandra is a global citizen since birth: an Italian, born in Germany, raised between Latin-America and Europe, currently living in Brussels. Her international upbringing instilled in her the passion for travelling and exploring different cultures and corners of the world.
After high school she travelled and worked for two years with Up with People, an international non-profit organisation, which inspires young people to take personal action to make positive change through travel, volunteering, and music.
She then studied languages and communication and obtained a masters in European studies. Alessandra has more than 15 years of international experience in communication, public relations, European affairs and project management. Currently she works as Communication Officer at the Directorate General for Climate Action of the European Commission.
She is a keen sailor and Board Member of the Sailing Club of the EU institutions. Listening to Jimmy Cornell’s stories about his sailing adventures, as well as his observations about the impact climate change is having on our oceans made her think about how she could combine her experience in communicating about the human impacts on our climate and the planet we live on with her passion for sailing. eXXpedition seemed like a great opportunity to show how every individual action can contribute to tackling global challenges.
BARBARA graduated in Biological Science, has a Masters in Bio-Medicine, a PhD in Microbial Ecology and I she is currently a research fellow at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE).
HIE’s diverse portfolio of research is renowned to bring excellence to decision-making in natural and managed ecosystems centring on ecosystem functioning in Australia and internationally. In a changing world, Barbara aims to understand the effects of rapid change in altered ecosystems and on the communities of living organisms ranging from the smallest microbes to the tallest forest trees.
On the Sea Dragon research vessel, she will use an automated microbial sampling and communication device (OSMO) developed by Indigo V Expeditions. The Indigo V Expeditions is a multi-national scientific and sailing initiative based that aims to gauge the health of the worlds’ oceans by taking water samples and looking at the relative health of the microbial communities in that sample.
Since 2013, Indigo V Expedition is effectively crowd-sourcing the collection of oceanographic data by harnessing the existing fleet of private sailing yachts. Their work has been awarded by the UNESCO, NBC news, Australian Research Council and presented in the most prestigious venues around the world. The data collected by Barbara in the Amazon eXXpedition will be coupled with the ones collected by Indigo V Expeditions across the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and the Amazonian terrestrial ecosystems.
Positive designer-maker activist
Erika strongly believes in the power of design to be one of THE solution to overcome environmental and social issues in a positive way.
ERIKA likes to call herself an activist, environmentalist and happy designer.
Erika believes that design is a new form of positive activism that has the potential to become a powerful tool to tackle environmental and social issues. She is driven by a real, genuine and strong motivation to develop design projects that can highlight existing problems and potentially solve them.
While travelling in Asia she discovered for the first time the beauty of the underwater world and she completely fell in love with such splendour and peace. During these trips Erika could see closely the consequences of manmade actions to the oceans and how waste and plastics are now an integral part of such environment. She could not believe that such an important resource, which covers 70% of the world and from which people depend, is threatened and did not want to just stand and watch this new horrible scenario.
With this research expedition Erika is hoping to develop a design project that can sensitise people in respecting the environment more, stop generating waste and ultimately, and most importantly protect the oceans and its wildlife.
Technologist, researcher and photographer
Sabrina is a curious technologist who is passionate about leveraging innovation and collaboration to tackle the world’s difficult challenges.
Originally from Italy, Sabrina is a technologist and experienced sailor now living in San Francisco. Her passion for the water started when she was born. She spent a lot of time on sailboats as a little girl. Her father sparked her interest in sailing from a very early age and since then she has always loved to be on sailboats crossing the whole mediterranean. She started racing on dinghies, cruising offshore and she worked as a sail instructor for few years before she moved to San Francisco. She is now sailing in the ocean and in the beautiful San Francisco Bay. Sabrina is an active and enthusiastic person, she feels at ease in the water and enjoys all water sports like swimming, scuba diving, surfing and kite-surfing.
“When I was a child the sea seemed to me infinite and rich. Today, the seas of my childhood no longer exist. Sailing long distances has given me a deep awareness of the negative impact that human behaviour has had on our seas. We need to protect what we love, the nature, our lives and our health”.
Sabrina is an engineer specialized in internet security and holds a MSc in Telecommunication Engineering from Politecnico di Milano in Italy. She also earned a MA in Development Economics from the University of San Francisco with a focus on social and environmental issues.
Lead product designer for Accessibility.
Caterina is an industrial and strategist designer, technology lover and sailor.
She graduated in product and communication design at ISIA Firenze and worked at WAACS Design & Consultancy in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in Tanzania as interior designer and photographer and studied Product Design in Finland. She is currently living in Milan and working at Design Group Italia as industrial designer, UX researcher and strategist. Her daily job is to design experiences, research trends, map new technologies and look for market opportunities for clients as 3M “Innovative technology for a changing word”, Pepsico and Unilever. Caterina is a multi-awarded designer in national and international design contest her projects are based on future vision possibilities, new technologies and new way of living in favor of clean, natural, sustainable and healthy ways of living. Caterina is an experienced speaker having presented at conferences around the world as TEDx and Ciudad De las Ideas in Mexico.
In 2012 she won the Singularity University / Axelera Global Impact Competition in Italy with ‘Freeijis project’ for a full scholarship for the Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University, NASA Ames Research Center in California a transdisciplinary program which combines 10 weeks of outstanding business leaders and academics from around the world to develop solutions to solve the greatest challenges facing humanity. Caterina is the Executive Director of Axelera an italian non-profit whose aim is to inspire future italian leaders, entrepreneurs and technologists by spreading knowledge about exponential technologies and the importance of addressing the widespread global challenges. Caterina has sailed all her life. She was in the italian national team for 3 years and she sailed for national and international regattas around the world. You can find more information about Caterina at: http://www.caterinafalleni.com/