Where Are They Now? Young Explorer & Researcher-in-Residence Grace Cordsen

Grace Cordsen is an explorer, researcher, and entrepreneur. She joined the 2018 class of Young Explorers on Adventure Canada’s North Atlantic Saga expedition and later returned as a Researcher-in-Residence on Greenland & Wild Labrador. Learn more about Grace’s successful projects since in this Q&A.
Young Explorer Grace Cordsen

© Photo courtesy of Grace Cordsen

Adventure Canada: Tell us about your research and the expedition you joined as a Young Explorer.

Grace Cordsen: I joined the Young Explorers Program in 2018, when I completed a research project that focused on the cultural and culinary traditions of small communities along the North Atlantic coasts.

I created a digital book about the experience entitled, Recipes of Cultural Heritage: Capturing the Culinary Traditions of Scotland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland. It takes a personal look at the histories and traditions of the people and places we visited on Adventure Canada’s North Atlantic Saga expedition. I visited restaurants and cafés, tried regional delicacies, conducted surveys in supermarkets, interviewed local experts, and documented my reflections in words and photos.

I returned to Adventure Canada again in 2019 as the Researcher-in-Residence aboard Greenland & Wild Labrador to continue studying food and heritage. This time I created a series of informational guides about some of the traditional food practices seen in the communities we visited along the trip.

Ulu and meat country food

© Grace Cordsen

Traditional ulu knives are an important part of Inuit food culture.

AC: So, what have you been up to since your expedition?

GC: Between my experiences as a Young Explorer and a Researcher-in-Residence, I graduated from Princeton University where I majored in Art and Archaeology.

While I was at Princeton, I applied my passion for food by co-founding a sustainable energy bar company. My co-founders and I pitched at start-up conferences in New York City and were a part of Princeton’s competitive start-up accelerator program.

Then, at the start of 2020, I founded Starling Guides, a travel guide start-up that creates easy-to-read, aesthetic guides about American travel destinations and other specialized subjects. I ran all aspects of the company for two years, but I’ve since left to work at Google as a member of the sales and marketing team, working first-hand with small and medium businesses that advertise with Google.

Torngat Mountains GC

© Grace Cordsen

Torngat Mountains National Park

AC: How did the Young Explorers program inspire you?

GC: I’m still pursuing my passion for the polar regions, which is a lasting interest that Adventure Canada helped me develop. I’ve since worked on expedition ships in the Antarctic and South Georgia as a Passenger Service Manager in 2020 and 2022.

Most recently, I’ve joined Sea Women Expeditions. Comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, Sea Women Expeditions’ mission is to scout, record, and document disappearing sea ice in the Arctic, while also creating opportunities for women to gain leadership skills and field experience in exploration and the arts and sciences.

As a member of an expedition to Arctic Norway in November 2022, I documented the voyage, turning back to the skills that I honed as a Young Explorer and Researcher-in-Residence with Adventure Canada.