Lilly Bianchi

Hometown: Lake Forest, Illinois
College: St. Lawrence University

Last fall, I studied history, development, and the environment in Nairobi, Kenya; my passion for storytelling and the rich history of the African continent is what brought me to East Africa.

Originally from Lake Forest, Illinois, I am a senior at St. Lawrence University, where I am a double major in English and history with a minor in African studies. Last fall, I studied land use and conservation management in Tanzania and southern Kenya, modern conflict and colonial history in the bustling cities of Nairobi and Mombasa, and experienced rural life firsthand in the Mt. Kenya region. Perhaps my favorite part, though, was working for a bike touring company called Cycling Out of Poverty in Jinja, Uganda, while also conducting independent research on the effects of a newly-opened hydroelectric dam on the local whitewater industry and the environmentally-threatened riverbanks. Back on campus, I spend a lot of my time competing on the women’s rowing team and have been selected to the Liberty League and NIRC all-academic teams. When not on the water, I am a staff writer for the campus newspaper, The Hill News, and a member of the club ice hockey team. Last year, I co-founded a club on campus with the goal of fostering inclusivity in St. Lawrence’s outdoor recreation and getting new outdoor enthusiasts into the Adirondacks. I love early mornings, any adventure no matter how small, and my beloved bicycle.

As a student, I participated in multiple Overland trips including Vermont, Pacific Coast, and the American Challenge. In 2017, I led New England Adventure and Berkshire Adventure; in 2018, I led Vermont; and in 2019, I led Nova Scotia & Acadia. Overland students continue to impress me — you can never underestimate what a group of motivated, enthusiastic students can do when working towards a common goal.