CCMI internships for budding ocean scientists

| 18/09/2018
CNS Local Life

CCMI interns at work

(CNS Local Life): The Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) has recently secured a three-year grant to support young local students who are interested in the ocean sciences. The new Ocean Science Scholars programme, funded by the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation, includes two internship awards per year for students about to embark on their degree studies in a relevant discipline.

In addition, five scholarships will be available annually for the Marine Ecology Camp for 14-18 year olds, held each summer at CCMI, stated a press release from the institute.

As part of their commitment to Ocean Literacy, CCMI has run Marine Ecology Courses for many years via local schools for grades 5-7. The organisation received its first multi-year grant in 2007 from the foundation for the Caribbean Marine Ecology Camp, which over the last 10 years has supported hundreds of local students during their summer break.

However, CCMI said in the press release this is the first time the organisation has developed and funded academic scholarships that aim to identify young talent at 14 and offer them the opportunity to keep gaining experience with CCMI until they graduate from university.

CNS Local Life

Interns in the ‘field’

Advancement director, Kate Holden explained why this new funding is so crucial. “The latest development in our education offering for local students will ensure scholars with a talent and passion for ocean science are being identified at the beginning of their academic careers and offered a pathway right through to graduate level,” she said. “Most importantly, these courses are free, and the internship award includes a stipend and room and board, so the financial aspect of studying with us in Little Cayman isn’t a barrier.

“We have had Marine Ecology Camp scholarships in the past, as well as internships – what is different is we are putting a stronger focus on academic achievement and we have the awards funded by one amazing foundation, so we can provide sustainability across the programme, as well as providing a mentorship framework for students who need our support in the early stages of their science careers.”

CCMI will continue to support a focus on primary level education via residential courses in Little Cayman and the Reefs Go Live programme that teaches students in their classrooms from under the ocean. However, the organisation said in the press release, it “felt it was time to cement the offering to students who are taking important certifications at secondary and tertiary level”.

Local scientist Kelly Forsythe has been working with CCMI for the last four months and can offer first-hand experience as to why this next phase of CCMI’s commitment to education scholarships is so important, said the release.

“Giving back to the local community and educating others is at the heart of everything that happens here at CCMI and through the local Ocean Science Scholars programme we will be able to foster even more passion for the ocean through educating young adults that may have an interest in marine science,” said Forsythe. “Working for CCMI here in Little Cayman has been transformative for my career as a marine scientist but also as a local of the Cayman Islands. During my time here, I have been gifted with the opportunities to observe some of the world’s best reefs right here on my doorstep and to work on research projects that have challenged my existing outlook and allowed me to adapt and learn as a researcher.

“As an early-career scientist I would encourage all individuals who are interested in marine science to intern with CCMI as you will gain the necessary skills to further your scientific career. The lessons you’ll learn, marine creatures you’ll see and the people you’ll meet will all be unique experiences that can only be found here in Little Cayman.

Recruitment for CCMI’s Ocean Science Scholars is now underway. For more information go to the CCMI Facebook page or news page on its website


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Category: Education, Environment, Marine Environment

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