Professor Spotlight: Nadia White

Nadia White poses in front of a kayak on a rocky beach.

In this episode, we’re in the flow with Nadia White who is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Master's Program in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism. Nadia reads two poems from W.S. Merwin which launch our conversation about the importance of finding our own story's place in the bigger story, the state of journalism today, and the opportunities and challenges for the next generation of journalists.

Interview Transcript

A.J. WILLIAMS: In a hard field like journalism, there’s a lot of push and there’s a lot of like you can do better than this. And I’m sure that’s part of what she thinks, but, at least in my experience, how she approaches it is in a way of deep compassion and trying to draw out the things that make you excited about the work that you’re here to learn to do.  

ANDREW GRAHAM: I mean, she would convince you to try like really big things, you know, that were just total long shots. You want to go to, like, Nicaragua? Cool, absolutely. Like, here’s some ways to pay for it if you can figure it out. She would never tell you not to do something. 

NICKY OUELLET: It’s like someone has walked this path that’s really hard before me, and I can see myself in that person’s shoes. And I know that I can walk that path too. And it’s awesome that Nadia is just a phone call away, so that as I walk that path, if it’s hard, I can call the trailblazer who put it down. 

ASHBY KINCH: This is Confluence where great ideas flow together, a podcast of the Graduate School of the University of Montana. On Confluence, we travel down the tributaries of wisdom and beauty that enrich the soil of knowledge on our beautiful mountain campus. 

You just heard the voices of A.J. Williams, Andrew Graham, and Nicky Ouellet, talking about our guest on this episode, Nadia White, Professor in UM’s program in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism. 

I'm your host, Ashby Kinch, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, and I am delighted Nadia’s joining us on Confluence. She’s been at UM for 16 years now and has been instrumental in sustaining the graduate program in journalism. She and I got to know each other through her service on Graduate Council, where she is a tenacious advocate for graduate students, and a clear-headed thinker about the value of graduate education in a modern university.  

Every episode on Confluence, our guests read a passage about rivers drawn from poetry or literature. We’re double dipping this week, with two poems by W.S. Merwin: first we’ll hear Nadia read “River,” from Merwin’s late-life collection, Garden Time, which reflects on loss and change through a dialogue with the great Chinese poet, Li Po, whose poem “River Merchant’s Wife” was made famous by Ezra Pound’s translation.  

NADIA WHITE: “River” by W.S. Merwin. 

Li Po the little boat is gone 
that carried you ten thousand li 
downstream past the gibbons calling 
all the way from both banks and they 
too are gone and the forests they 
were calling you from and you are gone 
and every sound you heard is gone 
now there is only the river 
that was always on its own way 

KINCH: But Nadia has also chosen a poem from W.S. Merwin, “One Story,” which has a deep significance for her, and she’ll share it with us. We’ll hear her read it, and dive straight into the episode, where she talks about the importance of finding our own story’s place in this bigger one story, a key role for journalism in the digital age. Nadia’s ties to Missoula and the West run deep: her grandmother was a student in UM’s school of journalism in the 1920s, and she had a career as a reporter in Wyoming before becoming a professor. We discuss the state of the field of journalism today and reflect on the opportunities and challenges for the next generation of journalists, especially those covering the science of climate change and natural resource constraints. Nadia’s grounded, sane, and thoughtful voice of support for the changes underway in the field of journalism are essential listening in our age of noise.  

Welcome to Confluence, where the river is “always on its own way.”  Enjoy the float!  

WHITE: “One Story” by W.S. Merwin. Just the first and last stanzas. 

Always somewhere in the story 

which up until now we thought 

was ours whoever it was 

that we were being then 

had to wander out into 

the green towering forest 

reaching to the end of 

the world and beyond older 

than anything whoever 

we were being could remember 

and find there that it was 

no different from the story 

anywhere in the forest 

*****  

But what came out of the forest 

was all part of the story 

whatever died on the way 

or was named by no longer 

recognizable even 

what vanished out of the story 

finally day after day 

was becoming the story 

so that when there is no more 

story that will be our 

story when there is no 

forest that will be our forest 

KINCH: Thank you for joining Confluence, Nadia.  

WHITE: Yeah. Thanks for having me, Ashby.  

KINCH: And thanks for sharing that poem. It's beautiful. And tell us about it. What role has it played in your life and how has it, you know, functioning for you to kind of, as a reminder of what you do?  

WHITE: Yeah, you know, that poem by Merwin “One Story” is from his collection called “Travels”, which really deals a lot with Indigenous voices in contemporary time. And the idea that we are all together on a changing planet. And I came across it when the book was new in ’94. I was a reporter in Washington, D.C. covering public land issues and the federal government involvement in western states for the Casper Star Tribune. And it was a hard job, and I felt very alone and caught, really, in the tide of politics and policy. I was young and in that solitude of being a one-person bureau, the poem really helped to ground me in the idea that we're all just part of capturing the stories of our times and trying to add context and accessibility for our readers and for the audience. And somehow that story, over time, has, that poem has really soothed me and reassured me that this is the human experience. That the human experience is one of being lost in a series of stories that we don't know and can't control. And, as journalists, the best that we can do is provide accurate reflections of the context of our time and ask in good faith that our audience take that information and make the best decisions they can for the democracies that we're living in. And that, that poem I just find very grounding.  

KINCH: That’s beautiful. I love the way it's got such vertical depth for you because it captures, you know, again the ethical grounding and the sense of a story that's a deep story -- a story of deep time, right? A story of deep ecological time and, and an earthly time and human time on top of that. And then, the story of yourself, you know, and the work you do as a journalist. That's beautiful. And, and you've said that it, it resonates with some of your students, right? This poem sits on the outside of your door.  

WHITE: Yeah. We all know that students spend a little bit of extra time on the outside of our doors during non-COVID times. Hopefully there will be an aftertime as well as a before-time. So, I have a couple of poems and reading materials on my door. And that, that poem is one of them. And, Mary Oliver's “Wild Geese,” which I think is always a reminder to all of us, but especially to younger students, that you are the agent of your own momentum and destiny. And you should seize that opportunity to save the only life you can: your own. 

KINCH: Yeah. And the Merwin story invites you into a bigger story about what that would mean. In other words, you're saving your life but then you're joining this one story, this more unified human experience. That's gorgeous. And that, that hits on a theme that we try to hit on in every episode, which is the way a kind of poem or a well-crafted piece of writing can really have a big impact on people's lives, their thinking. And I, you know, we've been exchanging about, you're re-reading Barry Lopez right now, and that's another book and another author that's had a big influence. Tell us about that. 

WHITE: You know, Barry Lopez's “Arctic dreams” I think for so many of us was the first introduction to his work. And he died last year many years after the publication of that book. But it -- the intention that he presented in “Arctic Dreams” to really, with humility, explore a culture and learn broader lessons from a culture that's been kind of marginalized in the western storytelling. “Arctic Dreams” was just this beautiful, early example of that for me and of the intentionality of a storyteller and of a truth teller. It happens I have a signed copy of “Arctic Dreams” that I got a number of years ago at the, when the creative writing was doing their Silent Auction Whiskey and Literature… 

KINCH: Great event. 

WHITE: …Silent Auction.  

KINCH: Great event listeners to make sure you catch it. The opus in the fall 

WHITE: Fabulous event. And I bid like crazy to get a signed copy of “Arctic Dreams” and a bottle of whiskey. The bottle of whiskey is long gone, but the book lingers on.  

KINCH: Yeah.  

WHITE: So, I'm kind of spending time right now trying to re-remember how to read. I think we've lost a lot of that facility, and I'm alternating between fiction and nonfiction. I have not read a ton of fiction lately. And, in fact, I don't read many books these days. I read a tremendous amount of my student’s work, and I read a lot of journalism. I mean, that's what we do. So, I'm taking the time to try to luxuriate in words again. And so, “Horizon” -- I have a large stack of books and “Horizons” came up. And “Horizon” is Barry Lopez's last book. And it's a memoir and looks back on his motivations as a storyteller. And it's a slow walk through five different scenarios. And I am kind of constantly struck by the structure he brings to his storytelling and the humility he brings. So, for a man who lived incredible adventures, his stories tend to focus on the most mundane times in his experience. And really in many of the most mundane places, kind of overlooking vast landscapes and finding his inspiration there. So, it's been a great blessing to be able to spend time with those words.  

KINCH: It was prompted by you that I picked it up, and I've been reading it too. And I, what you just said is exactly my experience. The ability to kind of zero in on a salient and surprising experience that probably passed him by in the original moment, but maybe had notes on it. But it sticks. And I, the one that I just encountered in the book was the Afghan woman that he encounters in a back room who has literally gone crazy from the experience of war. And she comes screaming naked down a hall. And it's just this flash of an image, but it crystallizes so much about that region’s suffering and experience and how it impacts on the body and on one human beings. So, it's amazing. And it all kind of comes out of nowhere in the memoir. It's really brilliant writing.  

WHITE: Yeah. I found when -- I literally picked it up because it was the next book on the stack and read maybe the first section or two. And at the natural stopping points in the book, they are so natural, they are places that you want to stop and let the last words of a section resonate for a while and think about the meaning and maybe go to sleep or maybe go on about your day. But it's just a beautiful book. I'm enjoying right now. 

KINCH: Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. And so, you and I, I think have, in at least broad senses, a similar journey. We both went to kind of small liberal arts colleges and ended up teaching at a public research university. But, in-between, very different. Tell us your Montana story. How'd you end up here? How did you become a professor and where did it all start out for you? 

WHITE: I do think story guides us. I think our own personal narratives are really important, and two of my family narratives kind of collided to bring me here. One, my grandmother, my father's mom grew up on University Avenue here midway down the first block, and always just told stories of growing up in Missoula in the twenties and earlier. She attended UM. She attended the School of Journalism. It was always in my awareness. Though she left and kind of traveled a bit and ended up -- for my whole life I knew her in California like so many others. So, I always had this little seed of the University of Montana School of Journalism as an excellent place to be. It was always told in the stories of adventures and growing up that this was an excellent place to be. The other half of that narrative kind of brought me into journalism specifically was my great-grandfather who was a journalist in the Gold Rush in the Yukon and worked his way north like so many other people during that Gold Rush really in a response to a lack of opportunities and a longing for adventure and made a name for himself in the north. I read his stuff now and it's somewhat insufferable.  

KINCH: Yeah, a little hokey maybe. A little propagandistic maybe. 

WHITE: Well, I think he was actually like the minister of propaganda for the state of -- or the territory of Alaska. I think that might've been his title. And, but those two stories kind of set the stage for my career, seeking a career in journalism that I liked the idea of being actively involved on the ground with people in places that people care about. I mean, fundamentally, I care about, I care about the places people care about and the way they are given agency to chart their own lives in those places. And so, I think the story of my great grandfather whose print name was “The Stroller” got me into journalism. And I think the story of my, the stories of my grandmother and these are two separate families, branches on the tree, but the stories of my grandmother in Missoula and at the University of Montana always -- had it always on my horizon. But I didn't arrive here until a career in journalism. And really, I came to academia in the hope that that I could contribute to a continuing value of fact-based verifiable storytelling and that I could share some of my experiences with my students. It was as many, many journalists will -- or former journalists will tell you, the early 2000s were a difficult time for a lot of chain newspapers. I think I mentioned to you, I think of journalists as digital steelworkers. We have lost our jobs in those types of numbers. And I quit my last job, but only because the chain had fired almost all of my peer editors. And I had been on a fellowship, which was fabulous. But I came back, and I didn't want to work for a place that would fire such excellent people. I don't really recommend quitting your job. You should let people fire you, but I didn't feel like going through the… 

KINCH: It felt good at the time though, right? Felt good at the time though, right? Principles. 

WHITE: You know, it was authentic. It was an authentic me. I don't know if I could possibly have done anything different, but in hindsight, if you get fired, you get to collect your unemployment. So, it was a little quirk of circumstance that set me free from the daily grind of journalism. A daily grind that I really loved but gave me the opportunity to consider what else I might do. And I came to Missoula with a critical mass of family and friends here that made it a place I could care about and made it full of people that I could care about. And so, I came without a job. I didn't have this job when I came here, but things conspired, opportunities opened up and my time here has really solidified my relationship with this place. 

KINCH: Yeah. And I mean, I'm going to circle back to the beginning of that story because I think that's another thing you and I share in common where I didn't pick up the journalism legacy, but both my father and my grandfather were political reporters, and I grew up in that world. And so, I want to, you know, have you talk a little bit about you, you know, sort of bringing two threads of your story together. What's changed? What are the deep changes that have happened? And what are, I mean, I guess what are the superficial ones? In other words, what's still around from these older models of journalism that, you know, really did push forward our democracy in really substantial ways? I mean shifts in journalism in the early 20th century get it away from some of that propagandistic writing, the yellow journalism that predominated. You know, did we pass through a period that we just can't recover? Or what parts of it can we hang on to? And I mean, I don't need you to go into the whole economic part because obviously I think people know about, you know, digitization, but also before that the, you know, the consolidation of the journalism industry, that story is one we're used to. But what's changed and what stayed the same? 

WHITE: You know the circling back to Merwin's stories and sense of them as much as things change, that becomes the story. I think we are in a golden age of narrative storytelling. I think the cost of entry to journalism is almost nothing now. We all have the opportunity and the technology to reach millions -- audience of millions. We have begun the hard work of repairing the exclusion of important voices from storytelling. Mainstream media has embraced that. I think now, literally now, and not two years ago, has embraced the importance of hearing a diversity of voices in their full narrative. So, I think storytelling has actually become the way we interact at a human level in a way that we always have. 

KINCH: Yeah.  

WHITE: But now we have the ability to reach huge audiences. So, I think storytelling is excellent right now.  

KINCH: And in that way may be better, right? In other words, that the older forms of journalism were exclusionary, right? These are big institutions built on kind of exclusionary structures. 

WHITE: Right, right.  I think we are hearing stories that we have, we have needed to hear for a long time. They've always been there, as Merwin says. The stories have always been there, but we are -- more people are better able to hear them now. So, I think that's very important and exciting, and I hope that it inspires both students of journalism and people who throw themselves at it and learn by doing. That said, I think it’s very noisy. I think there is a lot of noise in the quest for our attention. And I think recognizing the attention economy, and as each of us is an audience of one and we have to take care of our own bandwidth and we have to decide which stories we're going to listen to and which storytellers we're going to allow into our space. So, I think that is how things have changed. I feel like that the attention economy and the noisiness is a big change from ever before and something that we have to take personal responsibility for. And that means you have to decide am I going to listen to people I trust and will -- am I going to take the time to see if they've earned my trust? And for journalist, it means you must earn people's trust. And that means taking care of your facts.  

KINCH: Yeah. Yeah. And I think so there the negative is the niche audience means we don't share common stories as much maybe that with such a proliferation, with the filters, we all have to put up now. So, in other words, the, the balance between the older model and the new model is that the audiences are smaller. It's an audience of one or dozens, right? Small. We hope Confluence becomes bigger than one, you know. But yeah no, that's really well put, and I think it frames perfectly kind of how to segue into the, you know, one of our key topics on this show is to talk about graduate education. And, you know, that's, you know, it's the podcast of the graduate school and your program is vibrant, and you have such passion for it. You balked on the answering the CV of failures question, which we ask a lot of our guests, you know, but you actually have already hit on it, right? It wasn't a failure, but it was a, you know, a change in your life that required you to kind of show some resilience and figure out -- and we think that's a really important message for our graduate students, right? That any journalists in particular, but any graduate student, you know, going through a degree and then thinking about what to do with it is going to face major obstacles, right? And then part of that training is that. What are the other traits? What are you looking for in a graduate student when you're doing admissions, and everyone's applied? What kinds of people are you looking for?  

WHITE: Yeah I, I really value students that bring a sense of their own curiosity and demonstrate their engagement in satisfying that curiosity. There are so many opportunities for students in their undergraduate years to engage in community-based learning opportunities in kind of real time lesson learning and a rich combination of book learning and doing. I think it’s important for journalists. Journalism is still, and I think always will be, a hands-on enterprise. You have to call people, you have to talk to people, you have to gain people's trust. You have to talk to people who you don't know and that's an embodied activity. And so, it does require a willingness to put yourself out there. And that, I think, requires curiosity. You have to wonder what is out there and be willing to take the risks to go check it out yourself. So, I look for evidence that that's how people live. But I also think that journalism, and this is why it's a curious field, the humanities is extremely important to understanding and bringing tools to understanding how the world works and tools for pursuing that curiosity. So, I also look for evidence that a person has taken rich and expansive courses, course work in the humanities. 

KINCH: I'm so glad you said that and you know I'm glad. That was almost like you were feeding me, but, but I actually think, you know, coming back to the core craft of journalism, the curiosity and the interest in other people, but also the willingness and ability to hear multiple perspectives that's core to a journalist's work. And I think and others, you know, who do this teaching in humanities think, that's one of the things we do, right? One of the things we do best is really introduce students to here's what you think, but here's a range of perspectives and experiences. How do we balance this out? What are the ways we balance it out? And so, I love that you kind of screen for that, that you think of that as a crucial feature for your graduate students. What do you hope to see in their growth and development over the course? It's a relatively short program. It's very hands-on. What are you kind of hoping to see them do and experience and become by the end of their program? 

WHITE: You know, I very much hope that they challenge their own assumptions. I see this happen year after year. People that enter with a strong assumption that they know the way of the world, and to see them scrutinize that over the course of a year and come out knowing it better by having challenged their original assumptions is a growth trajectory that I prize. And I hope goes on for the rest of their lives. I really want my students to come here ready to help each other. I think the world is a lonely place. I think enterprise can be difficult, and especially in this new world of journalism where you're not sure. Journalists go through more job changes, more dramatic job changes now than they used to. And I had a lot of different jobs, but they felt more serial, and it feels like there's more churn now. And I think the relationships that the students build in their graduate experience will endure. And I -- that's part of my goal as the director of our graduate program is to facilitate the growth and kind of cohesion of a group.  

KINCH: Yeah. And I mean, in a lot of fields, people think of networking and their connections as being crucially important, but actually you're speaking to something else which is, you know, not, not the practical outcome driven, career driven kind of networking, but the collegial cohort support. 

WHITE: Yeah. Yeah. There both two different things. Both are important. I chafe at the importance of networking, but I don't deny it.  

KINCH: Yeah, right. But you don't want to reduce one to the other. There's a value in the, in the cohort experience. 

WHITE: The cohort experience is more of a lifeboat. It's something that buoys you through time. And I hope years from now, students who meet here are still calling each other and sharing their struggles and reaching out when they know each other are struggling both personally and professionally. So, to -- the great gift of COVID to the current, our current class, has been time expressly dedicated to the, to our individual experiences under COVID because it's something we're all sharing and yet it affects each of us deeply and differently.  

KINCH: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's a great example probably for, you know, historians later of a kind of bellwether event. A kind of before and after event and how people respond and react to it both individually and in groups just kind of define who we are. 

WHITE: Yeah, yeah. I think that's true.  

KINCH: Well, and we've already hit on a lot of the things that we, you know, like to talk about.  But do you want to say more about what you think, you know, the biggest challenges, but also the biggest opportunities are for graduate students in the field? I mean, you've kind of spoken to some of them already about, you know, the opportunity being crafting a form of storytelling and getting it out to a much bigger audience than maybe it was conceivable before. 

WHITE: Yeah, you know, I think it is an opportunity rich time for storytellers, but that doesn't mean that it's financially a rich time. And so, deciding where are these students going to spend their time? Where can they find a way that marries their passions and their values with their growing need to support themselves and a family? And so, I just, that's an eternal problem, but the churn that I alluded to earlier that fog of abundance is -- makes it harder. It always seems that the cool thing to be doing is just around the corner and that it takes a certain self-confidence and reinforcement of your peers to decide that the coolest thing to be doing is, in fact, the thing you're doing. 

KINCH: Already doing, yeah.  

WHITE:  And I, and so the trick is to stick with that and find a way to make a living off of it. And so, it all kind of comes together there. There is an abundance of opportunity. There, there is, there's the opportunity to have the support of your peers. And there is the opportunity, despite the hyper partisan atmosphere, public atmosphere of civic discourse today, I think there's opportunity for conscientious journalists to continue to inform the conversations, the critical conversations that all of our communities need to be having now, whether we want to or not. And for journalists, it often means telling a story people don't yet know they need to hear. And that's very hard.  

KINCH: Yeah. And, and of course the program itself made this pivot towards environmental journalism, natural resource journalism. What lay behind that? Behind really zeroing in on that topical area as opposed to remaining a broad journalism department. I mean, I know you obviously still do teaching in a broad number of areas. You have some wonderful work going on in the department and Indigenous reporting, for example. But can you speak a little bit to that program identity? 

WHITE: Yeah, that was kind of my first year here. Already in motion was the idea that we should refine our graduate education. The thought was our undergrads come and they receive four years of journalism training and our graduate students, in the broader program, would arrive and receive two years of, of training. And that perhaps we should make an effort to distinguish the two a bit more. Choosing environmental science and natural resource journalism at a time when other schools were actually ending their environmental programs, although many have been reborn, it's a natural choice for us. It pairs us with our allies across campus who are doing just outstanding work in knowing our natural functions and systems at a deeper level. It pairs us with our place. Missoula is just a great example of where nature and humanity meet, but on a scale that's accessible for new storytellers and yet broad enough to carry lessons that that can inform the world on a more -- on a bigger stage. So, it made sense to go for, for environmental issues. Environmental science and natural resource journalism frankly is a wordy title that bridged kind of partisan interests in a way that people above my pay grade thought made sense. I see the environmental world as, as quite a bit actually bigger than that. And, to me, the most important intersection is public – is really public health and the environment. Although the raw understanding of our environmental systems and the non-human creatures that inhabit those systems are, of course, just vitally important as well. But our readers are mostly human. 

KINCH: Yeah, well, and you know, you and I have talked about this in the past, but one of the things I really love about this program is how much it fosters a kind of cross campus discussion. You pointed out this relationship to other really centers of excellence on campus. And so, you embed your graduate student journalists in labs around campus. And, the UM BRIDGES program would be another, you know, area, but you have people in wildlife biology, all around forestry, you work with a bunch of different departments. And I think that's such a powerful model for the kinds of cross campus, cross collaborative work that we need to do -- interdisciplinary work. 

WHITE: Yeah. I can't say enough how my colleagues across campus in the sciences make our program a success. Our story lab class, which teaches science, science writing and reporting, is unique and the envy of many other journalism programs because our students spend extended periods of time, a full semester embedded with a lab doing hard, hard research and asking questions that produce new knowledge. And to put science and journalism in conversation like that at a foundational level for our students is a great opportunity. It opens perspectives for journalism students that would otherwise take years to develop. And, and my colleagues across campus are fabulous for taking on my students. And I hope that they get a sense of journalism and storytelling in exchange. But, for the most part, it's a selfless gift that my colleagues give to us.  

KINCH: Yeah, well, and I'll speak for their behalf. It's not selfless. They get a lot out of that, right? And one of which is just to be thinking about the importance of telling that story. In other words, to have someone in their, in their lab means they're thinking now about what it means to transmit that scientific knowledge more broadly, and that's hugely impacting. Well, this has been wonderful. We always end every episode with our quick hitters. These are about, you know, life in Western Montana mostly, but also a little bit about the professor's life. So, morning or night person? 

WHITE: You asked this question. I don't know how I answered it… 

KINCH: Off the top of your head. Morning or night person? 

WHITE: Well, see, that's the problem. Morning or night person. I am both an early riser and a late goer to bedder, which might explain why I fade in the middle of the day. 

KINCH: Yeah 

WHITE:  I'm big on teatime. I’m happy… 

KINCH: Naps 

WHITE:  I'm actually a horrible napper, horrible napper, but I do like getting up early and I do find I get a second wind later, but, man, four o'clock if you want to talk, bring me a cup of tea. 

KINCH: Western or Eastern Montana? 

WHITE: Again, I'm such an equivocator. I live in Western Montana. I think it's beautiful. But I spent many years in central Wyoming and there is nothing that speaks to me the way the prairie does.  

KINCH: Yeah. Yeah. We could put it mountains or prairies. So, that's another way of putting it. Bitterroot or Clark fork? 

WHITE: Clark fork 

KINCH:  Bitterroots or Pintlers? 

WHITE: Bitterroots. 

KINCH: Missions or Swans? 

WHITE: This is so hard. I have a little cabin right in between the two. I look at the Swans, but I find the Missions just absolutely alluring. I spend more time in the Swans, but I admire the Missions greatly. 

KINCH: Yeah. I kind of have the same experience. I spend a lot more time in the Swans. I look at them as well from our cabin, but the Missions every time you see them, they're just so majestic. 

WHITE: They are. 

KINCH: Yellowstone or Glacier 

WHITE: Yellowstone. 

KINCH: Winter or summer? 

WHITE: Gadzooks, is that one of these questions? 

KINCH: Yeah. 

WHITE: Winter or summer? You know, here it is March. I can only say summer because I haven’t seen it yet. 

KINCH: The season you're anticipating.  

WHITE: Yeah.  

KINCH: Sunrise or sunset? 

WHITE: Sunrise.  

KINCH: I loved what you said about your mom is your favorite artists by the way. I won't even ask it as a question and I'll just say I love that. And it, it actually brought one generation closer, your story, right? Another source of inspiration in your family. That was beautiful.  

WHITE: Yeah, thanks. Family is very important to me right now and I think COVID has brought that home.  

KINCH: Yeah, absolutely. I think that's a common experience. Well, thank you for joining us on Confluence, Nadia.  

WHITE: Thanks for having me, Ashby. 

KINCH: If you like what you’ve heard in this episode, you’ve got a great production team to thank: Jordan Unger, graduate student in UMs environmental journalism program, and Charles Bolte, a recent graduate of that same program. You can hear their audio profiles of graduate students on SoundCloud or the Confluence website at www.umt.edu/grad. Click on the Telling Our Story tab for podcast episodes and videos that highlight the amazing work our graduate student do. Enjoy the float!