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Our Emerging Leader Oda: Smart, Structured and Smiling

Oda Sofie Bye Wilhelmsen at Arctic Frontiers with new friends from the Emerging Leaders network. Left: Steven Gabelein (Alaska Chadux Network), Right: Conor Savage (Sainsbury's UK). (Photo: Trude Borch/Akvaplan-niva)

Our Emerging Leader Oda: Smart, Structured and Smiling

Oda Sofie Bye Wilhelmsen at Arctic Frontiers with new friends from the Emerging Leaders network. Left: Steven Gabelein (Alaska Chadux Network), Right: Conor Savage (Sainsbury's UK). (Photo: Trude Borch/Akvaplan-niva)

2. februar 2024 nyhet

The Arctic Frontiers Emerging Leaders program started in 2012. Every year the program gathers students and early-career professionals in the age group 18-35 years for a one week mentoring program on Arctic themes. The program has been led by Akvaplan-niva personell since the start. This year Linda Simensen and Amanda Ziegler from Akvaplan-niva was the administrators and mentors in the program whilst advisor in our Chemistry Lab section, Oda Sofie Bye Wilhelmesen, was our chosen Emerging Leader.

This is what Oda says about the motivation for her professional work and for wanting to participate in the Emerging Leaders program:

- From early on I wanted to work with the ocean, with protecting important marine resources. This early motivation is reflected in both my current workplace at Akvaplan-niva and in my educational background from marine biotechnology. As I have been growning up by the coast I feel connected to the ocean. The protection of marine species and ecosystems parallell with the development of sustainable fisheries and other ocean industries, is very important to me.

Oda in the lab at UiT the Arctic University of Tromsø during her studies of marine biotechnology (Photo: Marius Fiskum).

Oda started working at the chemistry laboratory section at Akvaplan-niva in 2019. Before that she worked as a laboratory assistant and a tutor for laboratory courses in microbiology at UiT the Arctic University of Tromsø. From 2023 Oda is the process owner and validation manager for TEST 079-chemistry at the Akvaplan-niva Chemistry Lab. Section leader Lisa Torske states the following about Oda:

- the headline "Smart, Structured and Smiling" is spot on in describing Oda. Although being the youngest member of the Chemistry Lab, she is involved in all kinds of assignments, at any level. Huge responsibilities or great workloads does not deter Oda, and she never hesitates in lending others a hand or providing advice, with a smile.

Oda at an offshore environmental studies survey in the North Sea (Photo: Rosalyn Fredriksen).

Oda at an Emerging Leaders event (Photo: Alexandru Mitu @alexu.dsgn-2/Arctic Frontiers).

After the end of the Emerging Leaders program and Arctic Frontiers Oda Sofie states that the program turned out to be just the learning experience that she thought it would be before joining.

- As a chemist at Akvaplan-niva I am, on a daily basis, involded in environmental analysis to identify environmental contaminants around for instance oil platforms or fish farms. With the green transition we will see the development of new energy and food industries and other challenges and needs for environmental monitoring will emerge. The Emerging Leaders program has provided me with a platform, and a new network, for discussions on how chemical knowledge can contribute to sustainable management for a future healthy ocean.


Akvaplan-niva director Merete N. Kristiansen holds a welcoming speech for Oda and the other Emerging Leaders at an evening reception (Photo: Alexandru Mitu @alexu.dsgn-7/Arctic Frontiers).

Oda (second from the left, second row) and the rest of the Emerging Leaders group at Arctic Frontiers (Photo: Alexandru Mitu @alexu.dsgn-09994).

Contact details Oda:

Phone: + 47 90 96 15 85
Email: obw@akvaplan.niva.no