Alumna Selected as National Geographic Emerging Explorer

Posted: February 7, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Roshini Thinakaran
Roshini Thinakaran
National Geographic photo

Mason alumna Roshini Thinakaran (BA Communication, ’01) is one of eight young, visionary trailblazers named to the 2007 class of National Geographic Emerging Explorers.

National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers Program recognizes and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring adventurers, scientists, photographers and storytellers who are making a significant contribution to world knowledge through exploration while still early in their careers. The Emerging Explorers each receive an award of $10,000 to assist with their research and to aid further exploration.

The 29-year-old Washington, D.C. resident is a filmmaker who travels to countries ripped by war and reeling in its aftermath. Her research has taken her to Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Amid all the destruction, she sees strong, resilient women with a passion for rebuilding their lives and countries. In 2006, she founded Bridge the Gap Media, a nonprofit organization focused on showcasing global issues facing women and minority communities.

The inspiring stories of women in hostile environments led Thinakaran to create “Women at the Forefront,” a film project that looks at war and conflict through the eyes of women. The project is now evolving into a TV series and an interactive web site,

Born in Sri Lanka but raised in the United States, Thinakaran says her ultimate goal is to shine the spotlight on women who are making real strides in conflict-ridden countries. Thinakaran hopes to eventually build schools in these countries.

Other Emerging Explorers selected with Thinakaran are humanitarian and former Sudanese refugee Jon Bul Dau of Syracuse, N.Y.; environmental crusader and polar adventurer David de Rothschild of London; conservation scientist Luke Dollar of Concord, N.C.; tropical botanist Corneille Ewango of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; primatologist and conservationist Mireya Mayor of Miami; musical explorer and filmmaker Joshua Ponté of London; and Spanish marine ecologist and conservation biologist Enric Sala of San Diego.

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society has funded more than 8,000 scientific research projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy.

Write to at