Meet the Leaders

Ricky Qi, Sarah-Marie Land

Ricky Qi & Sarah-Marie Land

Saint Louis University, M.A., French
Drury University, B.A., French, B.A., International Political Studies

Sarah-Marie is a French professor, artist, and freelance photographer. During college, she served as president of the French Club, French Honor Society, and Political Science Honor Society. Upon graduating, she moved to Paris, where she spent a year teaching English and working as an au pair. Sarah-Marie then returned to the U.S. to pursue a master’s in French. While earning her master’s, she taught French at Saint Louis University and took intensive language courses at Middlebury’s summer language institute. Sarah-Marie has exhibited her photographic work at The Griffin Museum of Photography, where she was awarded the Legacy Award for the 19th Juried Exhibition; Newspace Center for Photography; Philadelphia Photo Arts; Onward Compé; and elsewhere. Sarah-Marie was featured on the Lenscratch blog and chosen as one of LensCulture’s 21 new and emerging photographers for 2013. Her work was recently selected to exhibit in the North Valley Art League 2015 International Juried Photography Show in Redding, California. She has also been featured in The Photo Review and on the cover of Photographer’s Forum magazine. She currently works as an adjunct French professor and lecturer at Lindenwood University and Saint Louis Community College. She is fluent in French. Sarah-Marie has led National Geographic Student Expeditions programs in London (2013) and Paris (2013 & 2014).

University of California, San Diego, B.A., International Studies

After finishing his undergraduate studies, Ricky moved to Shanghai for two years, where he documented the city’s nascent jazz scene, as well as China’s bourgeoning cities and their effect on migrants, expatriates, locals, and minorities. Traveling to the cities of Urumqi and Kashgar post-riots, Ricky backpacked little-traveled portions of the Silk Road along the Karakoram Freeway between Pakistan and China, staying with Kyrgyz nomads along the way. When Ricky returned to the U.S., he began work directing a film centered on the Mosuo people, China’s last matriarchal society, based high in the remote Himalayan foothills. Staying with them on and off over a three-year period, he observed and recorded Mosuo life at a watershed moment as modern China encroached upon the shores of their Himalayan home. The experience became the foundation for his work on understanding the dynamics between cultures by examining the extremities of change. His work on the Mosuo eventually led to Ricky receiving a National Geographic Young Explorers Grant, and subsequently a freelance position with National Geographic Creative as a filmmaker and photographer. In addition to his work with National Geographic, Ricky also works as a commercial director in Los Angeles. Ricky speaks Mandarin.