Loren’s Badass Chick: Cynthia Wigren

This week’s Badass Chick is Cynthia Wigren, co-founder of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and creator of the Gills Club.

Before dedicating her life to shark conservation, Cynthia worked for twelve years at online trading companies, which gave her the ability to travel the world and experience wonderful things, like her trip to South Africa in 2010. It was there that she got to go cage diving with great white sharks and realized that she had no fear while doing so. She had studied wildlife management in college, so she felt very connected to the creatures on her excursion.

She arrived home and began following some great whites that had just been tagged off the coast of the Cape. Her interest never weaned, and two years later, she reached out to a local scientist to see how she herself could get involved. She was told that they desperately needed funding for research, so, she got to work. Cynthia took a six-month hiatus from her job and created the non-profit (she literally googled “How to start a non-profit), the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

Cynthia’s six-month hiatus turned permanent. During her tenure with the conservancy, she noticed how many little girls were so interested in sharks, despite it widely being known as a “boy thing.” So Cynthia started the Gills Club, which connects 2,000 girls – elementary through college-age – to over 60 female shark researchers worldwide. The Gills Club holds monthly events in both Cape Cod and Florida to encourage young girls to follow their passion and learn about sharks. In her “spare” time, Cynthia also visits the Mass General Hospital for Children to bring around an 8-foot fiberglass shark named Lizzy to patients to brighten their days and bring the ocean to their hospital rooms.

I love that Cynthia is following her passion and also connecting young girls with other women who can help inspire them to become shark scientists, and for that, she’s my Badass Chick of the Week!

If YOU have a Badass Chick you want me to highlight, email me! Loren@1033ampradio.com

The TJ Show can be heard weekday mornings from 5:30am until 9:00am on Boston’s 103.3 AMP Radio. You can follow TJ, Loren and Producer Matt on Twitter: @RadioTJ @LorenRaye and @ProducerMatt AMP and on Instagram: @RadioTJ @LorenOnAir and @ProducerMatt AMP. Listen to The TJ Show On-Demand with The TJ Show Podcast on play.it & iTunes


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