Not many 17-year-olds will be spending their summer in Northern Kenya learning the principles and field methods of paleoanthropology. But not every 17-year-old is Susanna Sabin.
It is said that the remote Koobi Fora in Kenya is “the richest and most spectacular early hominid region in the world.” The Koobi Fora Field School was founded by notable paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey and is currently run jointly by Rutgers University and the National Museums of Kenya. Two of Leakey’s most significant discoveries were a Homo rudolfensis skull (KNM ER 1470) and a Homo erectus skull (KNM ER 3733) found on site in 1972 and 1975, respectively.
Sabin is one of only 24 students—and one of the youngest ever—to win a coveted spot in KFFS’s summer program.
“I was feeling antsy and looking for chances to study abroad,” Sabin says. “I guess I overdid it.”
But the cost of this experience does not come cheaply. “The trip is more expensive than I or my parents can afford, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.” Sabin has opened an account with indiegogo.com, a fundraising website, where people can make a donation or pre-buy the book she plans to write (for which she’s already begun taking pictures and making notes).
She thinks her experiences this summer will make for an incredible story. “A seventeen-year-old Pasadena girl explores Kenya and the origins of humanity, the cultural and environmental differences, and the science itself. I mean, I live in an apartment—I don’t even have a backyard!”
To learn more, donate, or pre-buy Sabin’s book, visit indiegogo.com/susanna2kenya.
Editor’s Note: as of Wednesday, May 30th, Sabin has raised $1,375 of the $4,800 required, with 13 days left of her fundraising campaign.