Scientist, businesswoman, and VIMS alumna Jill Bieri (M.S. ’92) turned her dreams into a reality by launching her own company — a non-profit aptly called “Chesapeake Experience.”
The hands-on, educational venture provides kayak excursions led by interpretive guides—passionate people who want to teach others about Chesapeake Bay—and offers opportunities for people of all ages to experiment and learn in the great outdoors as they personally connect with the Bay and its marine life.
“The Bay is a resource that belongs to everyone, and while I don’t think anyone knowingly seeks out harm for it, I think education is key to its future,” Bieri says. “The more you open peoples’ minds, the more they become part of their natural world—and eventually become stewards for it.”
Bieri credits her experiences at VIMS as instrumental to her own success. “VIMS has opened every door for me,” she says. “Not only do you meet great people and get to collaborate with top-notch researchers, but it becomes part of who you are. VIMS has really impacted my whole career and people are really impressed by a degree from this place.”
“VIMS is a very elite institution with so many great things going on, and I was scared to leave and find out what else might be out there,” she explains. “Even though VIMS is such a special place, I am happy to say that my experience here led me to realize my dream and create my own special place.”