Emilie Kirk

Southeast Asia Instructor

M.Sc. Soils & Biogeochemistry, University of California, Davis
B.Sc. International Agricultural Development,University of California, Davis

Emilie first set foot in Asia in 2003 as an exchange student with AFS at the age of 16 and fell in love with the people and cultures of Thailand and Laos. Despite returning to the US a year later, a part of her heart is forever embedded in Southeast Asia, and she has been lucky enough to return there again and again. This summer, Emilie is very excited for hersecondyear as a Dragons instructor and for the opportunity to explore this wonderful region with our students!

Combining her passion for feeding people with an interest in culture and environment was the driving force for Emilie’s academic work studyinginternational agricultural development and soil science. She is particularly connected to rice-based agriculture and has had the privilege to work in rice systems in Thailand, Sri Lanka, California, the Philippines, and Laos. Through all these experiences, she has built a deep commitment to being a part of a global community working towards food security and sustainable natural resource management, emphasizing the importance of secure livelihoods and self-determination in looking for long-term solutions to these challenges.

Since 2014, Emilie has run five Dragons courses in the Mekong region, including two summers and three semesters. She brings her passions to bear, incorporating her diverse life experiences into enriching, hands-on learning adventures with students.

Wherever she finds herself, Emilie loves practicing improvisation in dance, in the kitchen, in art, and in life in general. She will take any opportunity to learn, travel, and explore this awe-inspiring world we share, aspiring to go someplace new every year and learn something new every day.