by VEJAY STEEDE
Growing up in Bermuda brings a deep appreciation of the ocean and its connection to the environmental processes essential for life on earth. While our education system probably doesn’t focus on maritime matters nearly enough, our close relationship with the ocean provides fertile ground for the development of curiosity, passion, and an unquenchable interest in marine sciences, and maritime careers.
Bermudians have a long tradition of making their living on, and around, the ocean. Fisheries, shipping, culinary arts, Artisan crafts, water sports and exploration; the possibilities for earning a living on the ocean have always been as limitless as the imagination in Bermuda.
Furthermore, the presence of the Bermuda Institute of Oceanic Sciences (BIOS) – which is a world-renowned research facility – makes studying the ocean a no-brainer for local students with an appetite for learning about the countless Mid-Atlantic life forms, and how they all function together in harmony.
Joshua Santucci-Smith, like most Bermudian boys, grew up loving the ocean. So, once he graduated from the Berkeley Institute, and Bermuda College, the only path he wanted to take was one that increased his knowledge and understanding of all things maritime.
In 2016, Joshua became one of two local recipients of the prestigious Concordia Maritime Scholarship, allowing him to continue his path toward his goal of becoming an Environmental Scientist at the University of Tampa in the United States.
Graduating with a degree in Environmental Science in 2020, Joshua justified the faith put in him by his family, and the folks at Concordia Maritime (Bermuda) Ltd. Joshua is now living in the United Kingdom, using the skills he learned in Florida to make the world a better place, at his own pace.
RG Magazine caught up with Joshua recently, and we enjoyed a wonderful conversation with the budding entrepreneur and proud Berkeleyite.
RG: Why did you choose to study on a maritime scholarship?
Joshua Santucci-Smith (JSS): I chose to study on a maritime scholarship because I was – and still am – interested in what the depths of the ocean have to offer, and how the ocean regulates the entire planet’s resources.
RG: What was the application process like? How did you feel when you found out that you got the scholarship?
JSS: The application process was fairly intense, but I felt like all my prerequisite test scores (GCSE, AP, SAT), and the interview process were all spot on, and proved that I was serious about what I wanted to do. When I found out I got the scholarship I was pretty excited, because it was a fairly big one, and it felt nice to receive that sort of recognition for the work I had been doing for most of my life.
RG: How has this field of study helped you grow personally, and professionally?
JSS: Professionally, it’s helped me substantially – with being able to better understand systems, and create a process to figure out whether or not that system will work, or not. In my personal life, it’s helped give me a better way to step back and look at a problem. It’s helped me to better analyse what I’m doing wrong, or where I could fix and/or streamline what I’m doing.
RG: What specific aspects of your studies will you use in your professional life going forward?
JSS: Going forward, I hope to use my analytical chemistry knowledge, my work with plant biology, and my ecological and marine biology research project to fuel my future projects, and, hopefully, business ventures.
RG: What was your degree concentration, and how does it relate to Bermuda?
JSS: My concentration was in Environmental Science, and how the environmental system interacts with different aspects of society. [The environment’s] relation to Bermuda is similar to its relation to the world as a whole, it affects everyone globally.
RG: Do you plan on returning to Bermuda to apply your studies here, eventually?
JSS: I would like to have the chance to apply my studies in Bermuda, but, with the current economic and societal issues in Bermuda, there isn’t much opportunity, or incentive, to.
RG: What advice would you give to students who are considering applying for a maritime scholarship?
JSS: The advice I would give students applying for these types of scholarships is to showcase your tenacity and understanding of what you want to do. If you’re applying for a more scientific lab role, show them that you’re passionate, and have a decent understanding of what it takes to make it through the program, because it is a difficult one. If it’s of a more research (practical) role you want, then get every single skill you can, and be well rounded. But whatever it is you choose, make sure you’re sound, and know for a fact that it’s what you want to do.