Thursday, December 23, 2010

The first steps ...

On November 29th, I was announced as the 2011 David J. Beck Fellow. This is an outstanding privilege and a great honor for me. I sincerely appreciate the generous support of Mr. Beck and his family, not only for myself but for all of Lamar University. This fellowship provides opportunity for students to participate in projects which, with out this support, never would have been possible.

This is the third year for the Beck Fellowship to be awarded. Jennifer Mikel, nursing major, is the first Beck Fellow. Jennifer traveled to Ghana on her summer fellowship, where she worked as an intern at a hospital in Hohoe.

Michael Zarzosa is the second Beck Fellow. A biology major, Michael traveled to Ambergris Caye, Belize, and performed research to survey parasites present in the local dog population and determine the possibility of transfer to humans.

I have just been accepted into the internship at the South African Shark Conservancy. I will travel to Hermanus, South Africa, and will spend June and July working with the SASC on research, conservation, and outreach projects.

I am more than excited to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Marine conservation and management are topics for which I have a great passion. I believe that the problems we face in our environment today can only be improved if we bring organizations together and use synergy to work towards a positive goal. I also believe that the most important step towards conservation is education. It is because of this that I will be keeping this blog - I hope to not only share the wonderful experiences I have with friends and family, but also provide a window into the everyday problems faced by a non-profit organization as they try to make a difference in this world. With a little luck, those who read this blog will not only enjoy hearing about and seeing some of my small adventures, but will also gain a little more understanding of the fragile system that is our oceans.

Now, my next steps will be to finalize my travel plans and start preparing for my internship. The spring 2011 semester promises to be a very busy one!