Dawn Musil at Temple of The Way of Light, with Brugmansia. Photo by Tracey Eller

Dawn Musil
Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant 2018
Cosmic Sister

“I want to cultivate a deeper bond with nature, which is what we all have in common as humans in this world, regardless of religion, belief or background.”

Student, Beekeeper, Writer, Explorer
University of Kent, Masters in Ethnobotany Program (Fall 2018)
Date of Birth: 12/04/1992 (25 in ceremony)

Dawn Musil has a passion for conservation, women’s rights and plants. She graduated in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Biology from Ohio State University and is completing a Venture for America fellowship in business development with a Baltimore-based biotech startup, PathSensors, where she develops sustainable agriculture systems and biosensors for plant pathogens to prevent the use of herbicides and pesticides in agriculture.

Dawn earned a Semester at Sea Presidential Scholarship to study women in the STEM fields and has gathered data in 13 countries to help break down the gender gap in STEM fields. She continued her work for women’s rights and equality as a United Nations Youth Representative to the U.N. Youth Assemblies in New York.
A beekeeper since she was 14, Dawn turned her conservation passion into a social entrepreneurship business, Bee the Change, when she received the Resolution Fellowship in 2014. She uses beekeeping to address income inequality and teach business skills in inner-city Columbus, Ohio. Dawn plans to study ethnobotany and plant-based medicines when she enters the Masters in Ethnobotany Program at the University of Kent, Canterbury, in fall 2018. A pre-medicine student before her passion for plants became a career, Dawn is thrilled to focus her higher studies on medicinal and sacred plants.

Dawn is also passionate about independent travel and travel writing. She has written about hitchhiking through Eastern Europe for The Female Hitchhikers Handbook and writes for Elite Daily, Pink Pangea, Matador U and Technical.ly. She was a Pink Pangea and Matador U Colombian correspondent while she lived in Cúcuta, Colombia, as an Atlas Corps fellow in economic development. Through this fellowship, she presented on the value of entrepreneurship in working towards peace at the World Summit for Nobel Peace Laureates in Bogóta, Colombia.

While at Temple of The Way of Light, one of Dawn’s goals is to research how to improve conservation efforts in richly biodiverse areas by generating interest and connections with indigenous Amazonian communities, plants and pollinators that co-evolved together. “I want to cultivate a deeper bond with nature, which is what we all have in common as humans in this world, regardless of religion, belief or background,” she says.

Raised as a devout Christian in an oppressive cult group called The Way, which arranges marriages, maintains strict control over higher education choices and shuns members when they leave, Dawn found a way to open her mind to new ideas and opportunities through travel. “The most liberating thing in the world is to see that there isn’t a single, linear path that is correct—no objective truth—and to know I was strong enough to step out of a church that asks your family to shun you when stepping away,” she says. “This opening of my mind and world is something I am hungry and eager to do more. I want to bring this intention to become more open-minded to the ceremony and even more than this, I want to grow in my compassion for people who have a similar upbringing and those who come from a world of oppression.”

Dawn left The Way after she lost a close friend to suicide. “Others can learn and relate, and I want them to know that they are not alone,” she says. “More than anything else, I want a chance to forgive the religion and resulting guilt that caused a dear friend to take his own life.”

Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant 2018
Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance Grant 2018
Ayahuasca Retreat: Temple of The Way of Light

March 2018