Milbry C. Polk (BA, honors) Radcliffe College, Harvard University, has lectured in more 150 schools, universities and public affairs organizations. She co-founded and was executive director of Wings WorldQuest, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women at the leading edge of science and discovery. She also founded and directed programs for the American Museum of Natural History and the Museum of the American Indian. She was Vice-Chair of the Conference on Affordable World Security (Newseum, March 27-28, 2012).
Among her writings are Women of Discovery (Library Journal award Best Books of 2001 and School Library Journal, Best Books); Egyptian Mummies (Margaret A. Edwards Award best books); editor, The Looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad; and Reviews and Contributing Editor of The Explorers Journal, 1998-the present. She co-founded with Imagination Celebration, and wrote yearly curriculum for nine years for The Art of Exploration, a program for the Public Schools of Ft. Worth, Texas.
She led or participated in expeditions to Prince William Sound, Alaska; the Western Desert of Egypt (National Geographic); Yemen; Southern Sudan; Saudi Arabia; Iran; Pakistan; John River, Alaska; Nepal; Brazilian coast; Greenland; Baffin Island; Devon Island; India (American Museum of Natural History); Chinese Tibet; NW Greenland, and the Andaman Sea.
Ms. Polk's honors include: The Sweeney Medal, The Explorers Club, Capt. J-E Bernier Medal, Royal Canadian Geographic Society (2015), Anne Morrow Lindbergh Award (2011); Alumnae of the Year, Madeira School (2011), Environmental Leadership Award, Unity College; Womens' ENews “Leader of the 21st Century”, Who's Who, Women of the Year Award; Honorary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Fellow of The Explorers Club and Fellow of Wings WorldQuest. She is on the Board of The Explorers Club, serves on numerous Advisory Boards and served for ten years on the Board of Governors of the National Arts Club.
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Being born in Oxford, UK and growing up between Europe, Egypt and America
Becoming a photo journalist in the 70s & 80s
Working with Margaret Mead
Thinking of doing a PHD at Oxford
Figuring out what she truly wanted to do
Following the route of Alexander the Great
Starting to put together expeditions and selling them to magazines
Working in the Middle East & Asia
Wanting to be an explorer from a young age
Using her initials to apply for a guiding expedition course
Life as a photojournalist
Respecting the local culture
Taking photos of Yemen
How exploration has changed over the past 40/50 years
The importance of curiosity
Getting married and getting pregnant
How life changed after having a baby
Being introduced to women explorers
Having a library of 1,500 books on women explorers and adventurers
Going to find women explorers from India
Wanting to create a Women Explorers Library
Wanting to keep the collection of books together
The importance of learning women’s stories
Being driven by your passion
Reading everything and being fascinated by history
How Wings WorldQuest was started
How it evolved
Starting to focus more on education
Why it’s an exciting time to be a young woman
Joining the Explorers Club in 1994 as a Fellow and now being on the board
Working with Adventure Canada
Going outside her comfort zone
Doing adventures/expeditions without technology
Needing to be careful
Keeping positive during tough situations
Building a fellowship of women
Women supporting women
Writing book reviews and writing a book on her great grandmother
New book - Women of the Arctic
Babes & Death
Women on pilgrimages
Going back to Oxford to do her PhD
Needing to update her website
Final words of advice
Figuring out your passion
Why there is no such thing as failure
Listen to your inner self
Wing WorldQuest - WINGS was formed in 2003 to identify and support the discoveries and accomplishments of women explorers and scientists and to inspire the next generation of problem solvers.
Website - www.wingsworldquest.org
Instagram - @wingsworldquest
Facebook - @WINGSWorldQuest
Twitter - @wingsworldquest
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