By Emily Roden
In September of 2020, four incoming freshmen to Nova Southeastern University were awarded four-year scholarships from the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) and the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.
While there may have been a tiny bit of luck involved, each of these students earned their scholarship by submitting all of the required information and an essay explaining why they deserved such a prestigious award. They had to give details about their marine conservation efforts, what conservation organizations they’re involved with and how they plan to use their knowledge and expertise to further the protection and preservation of our oceans.
“All of the entries received by the GHOF were inspirational,” said Dr. Guy Harvey, “and I wish we could have given scholarships to everyone. However, these four students are well deserving of these scholarship funds, and I look forward to seeing how they will help the marine ecosystem.”
The following is a brief outline of the recipients, their interests and their commitment to our water resources, in their own words:
The ocean and preservation of marine life isn’t just my passion, it’s my lifestyle! From seamen to seamen, from generation to generation, saltwater fills my veins. Growing up boating, my life has always been centered around the oceans and their wonders. Through avid involvement, the oceans have become my classroom. From fishing to snorkeling, a day doesn’t go by when I am not involved in the outdoors. I take pride in my conservationist efforts to preserve the ocean and its vibrant inhabitants.
I am the fifth in my family’s multigenerational involvement in the ocean. My heart beats in sync to the crashing of the waves. The ocean holds my fondest memories; it is my happy place. As an aspiring science major at Nova Southeastern University, I will continue to respect and preserve our oceans. My wishes are to inspire young minds on a global scale and leave an imprint on generations to come.
My favorite thing about the ocean is how weird it is. I have loved every gelatinous, mucus-covered, slippery and slimy organism the ocean has to offer. My fascination quickly manifested itself into a passion that ignited my journey to protect and preserve our oceans.
Over the course of the past six years, I have done so many things I am proud of. I have attended Capitol Hill Ocean Week in Washington D.C., to educate congressmen on the impact of their ocean bills. I was one of the first-ever high school students to host “The Expert Is In” at the Smithsonian Institute Ocean Wing. I helped rebuild coral reefs in the Florida Keys with Mote Marine Laboratories and Combat Wounded Veterans. And I also got to lead a two-year independent research project.
I have spent the past six years fighting for our oceans, and I am majoring in marine biology to learn the skills I need to keep researching our ocean to make smarter conservation initiatives and to show other girls that there is hope, she can make a difference and that it’s not too late.
In addition to the oceans, I have a keen interest in movies, video games and comics, as well as school and everything that goes into it. My interest in ocean conservation and environmental science started my freshman year in high school at South Plantation High School, when I was admitted in the Everglades Restoration and Environmental Science Magnet program. This meant that I would be a part of marine life and a part of many ecosystems over those four years.
This is where I had begun to garner interest in seeing just how important our marine ecosystems are and how the world is changing them. It allowed me to attend field trips and see parts of the world that I never really understood in marine science. A particular area of interest to me is sea level rise and its impact on marine life and our environment, as living in South Florida, we are very susceptible to sea level rise and the impacts that it has on the world.
I had also started to take interest more in our ecosystems, and I started to see what makes each ecosystem unique and special on their own. Seeing just how important our oceans are to the world, and each little part of them, has allowed me to appreciate them more and give them a piece of my heart. Being able to interact with it up close, you are able to see just how different it is to other parts of the environment, especially with the many ecosystems that somewhere like the Everglades houses.
I am a freshman biology major at Nova Southeastern University. I grew up in Miami, so I was born with a love for the ocean. I attended MAST@FIU, which is the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) of Florida International University. MAST is a magnet school that focuses on various scientific areas, with an emphasis on marine science, and it’s the only public high school in Florida that enjoys a collaborative partnership with a public university.
Each year, I was required to take two science classes, whether it be marine science, environmental science, physics, biology, anatomy, etc. This is where my love for marine science began. I was fascinated by the ocean because of all the life it supports and all the beauty that is still unknown to mankind. I cannot wait to take marine science classes at NSU to discover more about the ocean and work hand in hand with Dr. Guy Harvey.