When I received the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society (OWUSS) Rolex Scholarship I knew only a small portion of what was in store for me. Of course I had read past scholars’ journals and scanned the Scholarship website. Yet what I didn’t know at the time was that this experience would open the doors to a whole new world - changing my life forever for the better.
My year was a journey of education, discovery, exploration and adventure. I became infinitely more knowledgeable about a huge variety of marine fields from diving, gear manufacture and marine science to popular writing, marine policy and environmental law. Many of the careers I investigated during my year were completely new to me and without the Scholarship would never have registered as potential options for the future.
During my Scholarship I was able to rekindle my interest in visual media such as photography and videography. Certainly it was this year that I really recognized the importance of these mediums for capturing peoples’ curiosity and interest in the marine environment. As Jane Goodall famously stated, “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help” I truly believe that photography and film have an incredible capacity to draw people into the marine realm, conveying subtle conservation messages in a way that will leave lasting impressions and empower people to make a difference.
Although my Scholarship technically finished in April, the opportunities and adventures have far from ceased. The contacts that I made during my Scholarship year have continued to introduce me to new people and offer me opportunities that I couldn’t have dreamed of before becoming a Scholar.
After moving temporarily to England, I have met and gained advice from greats in the wildlife filmmaking business including BBC Cameraman Doug Allan and Producer Miles Barton.
Scuba diving development is strongly emphasized during the Scholarship and thanks to the generosity of Jim Standing, I continued to improve by attending TekCamp UK as a volunteer for Fourth Element. These diving skills will soon be put to use again when I work as a Dive Master for Oceanwide Expeditions, a company that I was fortunate enough to volunteer with during my Scholarship. Our trip will embark from the Arctic city of Longyearyben in Svalbard, hugging the east coast of Greenland to finish in Akureyri, Iceland. As a tropical girl from North Queensland, Australia, being a guide in the Arctic would have been completely unthinkable before receiving the Scholarship last year. Bring on more behemoth icebergs!!
The OWUSS Rolex Scholarship has no doubt given me an amazing head start to achieving my dreams. It has helped me grow as a person and given me the confidence to be a true leader, to step outside the ordinary and make a difference. I will always cherish my time as an OWUSS Rolex Scholar and cannot wait to see what the future has in store.
Click here to learn more about the Scholarship program, including how to apply for the 2014 Scholarships: