With Bermuda’s rich and unique marine and land environments, it’s critical that we encourage future environmental stewards who will continue to focus on protecting and conserving our island habitats.
Through educational scholarships, more Bermudians can have the opportunity to take their education further in a variety of disciplines that will only help to enhance Bermuda’s work in conservation and better understand our environment and the changes happening in the larger world.
In 2009, former Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS) president, Robert Steinhoff, established the Steinhoff/BZS Scholarship to provide educational opportunities to Bermudians. The scholarship is awarded yearly to a student either studying in the final two years of a bachelor’s degree or working towards a master’s or doctorate in their chosen applicable field of study. Every year, several awards are presented to those studying a variety of disciplines from marine biology to environmental management and teaching.
Since its inception, 31 students have been awarded the scholarship with more than $200,000 worth of funds going towards those committed to protecting the island’s environment. “Many of these former recipients have given back to the Bermuda Zoological Society and to Bermuda through conservation and research programmes,” said Michelle Lamb, BZS’s marketing and communications officer.
Highlighting three of those recipients, who are currently working in their chosen profession in Bermuda, the range of applicants show just how varied the fields of study are that have important contributions to the environment.
Three of the recipients include:
- Akinyi Apopa (2017 Recipient), pursued an MSc in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education from the University of Edinburgh, and is a science teacher with the Bermuda Government. She now works closely with the BZS to involve her students in onsite classes and the ‘Kids on the Reef’ programme. She was also a member of the BZS board for two years.
- Khylah Rogers (2016 Recipient), who studied veterinary medicine at St George’s University in Grenada, and is now a veterinary technician at Endsmeet Animal Hospital.
- Miguel Mejias (2014 Recipient),an ornithologist, conservationist and naturalist who is working towards finishing his doctoral thesis in biology. He cites former conservation officer David Wingate as his inspiration for his passion for birds and conservation.
While the scholarship is awarded to students based on their desire to devote their work and their commitment to protecting the environment as well as financial needs, the opportunity to commit to getting involved with Bermuda’s environment starts early, with consideration also given to those who have related work and volunteer experience, including volunteering services to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo (BAMZ).
Scholarship recipients are encouraged to use time off from schooling to take on practical internships either at BAMZ or other conservation institutions either locally or overseas to continue to gain appropriate experience. Once recipients have completed their schooling, there is also encouragement to return to Bermuda ensuring the island’s conservation efforts are kept at the forefront.
Other important things to take note of when applying for the scholarship include:
- Eligible students must have successfully completed the first year of a three-year honours bachelor degree or the second year of a four year undergraduate first degree with a major in a related field at an accredited overseas university. Students entering or studying in a master’s or doctoral degree programme will also be considered, including part-time candidates.
- Students must be in good academic standing and submit current academic transcripts for consideration. Where grades are not available by the deadline for applications, for example the UK, applicants are required to submit letters from tutors attesting to the applicant’s academic standing.
- Students must be Bermudian or have applied for and be eligible for Bermuda Status. A letter must be produced from Bermuda Immigration Department to this effect.
- Scholarship holders will be encouraged to accept practical internship opportunities during vacation periods at Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo (BAMZ) or other conservation institutions either in Bermuda or overseas in order to gain appropriate practical experience.
- Scholarship holders will be encouraged to return to Bermuda following completion of studies and related work experience overseas.
“Our hope for the future student recipients of this scholarship is that we can encourage them to become stewards of our island through conservation, education and research,” said Ms Lamb.
“We encourage them to share their passion through practical internship opportunities during vacation periods, either at BAMZ, or other conservation and science institutions, either in Bermuda or overseas.”
The deadline for applications is April 30.
BAMZ offers internships for college/university students for a period of six weeks. Interns gain valuable experience and acquire a greater understanding of delicate island ecosystems, as well as the important role that aquariums, museums and zoos provide in promoting conservation and education. The BAMZ internships are best suited for career pathways, such as:
- Marine biologist
- Veterinary medicine (veterinarian, veterinary technician, veterinary assistant)
- Wildlife biologist
- Environmental researcher
- Conservation officer
- Landscaping engineer
- Museum curator
- Lab technician
- Brush cutter – forestry
- Operator – clearing saw/spacing saw
For more information, visit www.bamz.org/learn/internships-and-scholarships.