My name is Sophie Stuart and I am one of the AmeriCorps members for the 2019 season here at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and was completely immersed from a very young age in the wild, and wet, beauty of the Pacific Northwest. I spent as much time as I could outside and was always drawn to the water, and the colder that water was, the more I enjoyed it!
As a teenager I spent many weeks traveling for mission trips around the world, which gave me a unique perspective on different cultures for someone my age. My childhood and teenage years revolved exclusively around advanced academics and a rigorous sports schedule, so it was a life-changing experience for me to travel to different places and see that the things that encompassed my whole life weren’t even on the radar of so many people throughout the world. From these different cultural experiences, I developed a strong sense of independence and an extreme work ethic. I worked as a swim instructor for 10 years, teaching thousands of children the skills they needed to not only survive, but to thrive in an aquatic environment, whether competitive or recreational.
After high school I took a gap year to refocus my future endeavors and lived in Morelia, Michoácan, Mexico teaching English, Bible classes, and coaching basketball. My time there truly solidified the desire in my heart to make teaching children a major part of my profession, but my goal was to find a field that wouldn’t have me behind a desk for the rest of my life. A few dozen internet clicks later, I found nautical archaeology and my life has been a whirlwind of activity since my return stateside. I graduated magna cum laude 2 and a half years later from Portland State University with a Bachelors in History and a minor in Spanish and then moved to Greenville, NC to attend East Carolina University where I obtained my Masters in Maritime Studies. Immediately after graduation I got a job as a historical interpreter at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Michigan’s U.P. and spent most of 2018 exploring and learning about the fascinating maritime frontier of Lake Superior.
Through a series of happy circumstances I am now here at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and am soaking up every bit of information I can regarding the fascinating maritime history of this area. I am so incredibly excited to be able to get into the water with these kids this summer and share with them my passion for history and the water. I am also very eager to be in this fast-paced environment at the museum this season and to be constantly surrounded by kids who are excited to learn and a fantastic staff who are ready and willing to teach them!