When I received my fellowship acceptance, I knew my life would be changed forever. I recognized that the experience and knowledge that I would gain during my time as a Eugenie Clark Fellow would be something that I likely would not have had otherwise due to financial barriers in this field. As a female first-generation student who identifies with historically excluded groups, I have faced several hardships throughout my academic and early-career scientific journey. This fellowship acceptance meant absolutely everything to me because I knew that I would be able to fully exist in a safe space for an extended period of time. This also meant that I would get the chance to learn and grow with the support of so many amazing and diverse groups of people I would meet along the way.
During the fellowship, I had the opportunity to participate in fieldwork, education, outreach, and even attend a conference, along with many other extraordinary experiences. In doing so, I was surrounded by supportive mentors and worked alongside the other fellows who were selected this past summer. I am very grateful that I met so many memorable people and created lasting relationships that I will forever cherish and value. These experiences created a sense of community which I had been seeking for so long in this field. It was a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by so many supportive people who uplifted each other. I hope to carry this on beyond the fellowship and create these spaces for others throughout my academic and career journey.
I am currently a master’s student and have always had the desire to continue my education to earn a PhD to become a shark researcher, and eventually, a professor and mentor. After serving as a camp instructor at the MISS Summer Camp during the fellowship, I realized at that moment that my passion for teaching and mentoring was firmly established from that experience. This is something that I will always be grateful to MISS for, along with numerous other things. Despite the difficulties that some of us face in this field, MISS is a constant reminder that anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and I hope to inspire that in others as well.
It was an absolute honor to be a Eugenie Clark Fellow and I would especially like to thank MISS, Havenworth Coastal Conservation, and Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program for this opportunity. I will never forget all of the support, great memories, and experiences from my time as a Eugenie Clark Fellow.
MISS provides a community and funded opportunities for gender minorities of color who wish to enter the field of shark sciences. We aim to show that there are many gender minorities of color succeeding in and interested in this field.
We fundraise and apply for grants to create paid opportunities to attempt to knock down the financial barrier into shark sciences. We encourage other organizations in our field to do the same.
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