Hi, my name is Nicole Portley. If I had to describe myself in 3 words, I would probably use “determined,” “adventurous,” and “excessive analyser.” I am a 22-year old first-generation American, born to Australian parents in Cortez, Colorado. I grew up in several places in the United States, including the San Francisco Bay Area, where I finished high school in 1998. My next destination was Boston, where I spent two years studying biology on a track-and-field scholarship at Boston College. Seeking a break from the unforgiving college athletics world, I moved to Dakar, Senegal, where I continued my studies in biology at the Universitй Cheikh Anta Diop. I learned to speak French in Senegal, and this proved useful when I later enrolled at McGill University in Montreal, Canada (a bilingual French-English city), where I finished my undergraduate degree in biology with a minor in Russian language. Through the Fulbright program, I will be spending this year working at the Institute for Biology of Inland Waters in Borok, Yaroslavl, focusing specifically on bioremediation of pollutants in the Volga River. In my spare time, I partake in reading, guitar playing, cross-country skiing, bicycling, and motorcycling.