I have always had a passion for the environment, especially the ocean, which has only grown over the years. Since moving to the Puget Sound in 2012, I have come to appreciate the deep connection the community has to the environment. My personal motivation for studying Environmental Studies is to be an active part of the social change, and the creation of just and sustainable societies. I have been a Scuba diver and reef hobbyist for many years and have experienced firsthand the degradation of our reefs over time due to human activity.
This, combined with the rollback of the current administration on environmental issues, has fueled my passion to be part of the movement to develop sustainable communities. In pursuing this graduate program, I hope to incorporate the knowledge I have gained thus far and apply it to find solutions to current marine ecological problems affecting the Puget Sound.
When I first started my studies, I just wanted to do fieldwork but after my first program at Evergreen, Marine Life, I realized that my skills are better suited for environmental policy and regulation.
I have enjoyed the interdisciplinary approach TESC has had to offer and became interested in the tension between the environment and social interests after experiencing some difficulties while working on a research project on microplastics in shellfish in the Puget Sound. Dealing with local aquaculture farms I learned that people may not be cooperative and forthcoming when it negatively affects their interests.
I grew up in South Africa where environmental issues were not always at the forefront of government concerns, which is partly to blame for the current water crisis South Africa finds itself in.
As the Pacific Northwest expands and develops, we need to ensure that environmental issues are not ignored or overshadowed by our own needs.
My biggest academic challenge has been attending a college that does not teach in my first language which is Afrikaans. However, I am proud to have almost completed my BSc and I am on a path to become a US citizen. Evergreen State College is a hands-on college, which has made it easier for me to grasp concepts and learn new skills. As a 38-year-old immigrant, I now have an opportunity to become the first person in my family to graduate and apply for graduate school. In 2018 I was awarded the Foundation Scholarship as well as the Dan & Sheryl Tishman Scholarship at Evergreen which affirmed to me that I have what it takes to be successful, especially in the field of environmental studies.
Previously, I was the co-founder and vice president of the Eco Club at Clover Park Technical College. Our focus as a club was to implement proper recycling on campus as well as getting students involved in activities that focused on environmental issues affecting the Puget Sound. This was a very challenging task as we had to battle with staff and departments that were set in their ways and not willing to change. Once we showed the college how easy it was for the college to implement these change they were on board, and I am proud of this accomplishment.
Currently I am completing an internship with Clearcreek Systems, a company that treats runoff water from construction sites before it is discharged into the environment, which is regulated and monitored by Department of Ecology. This summer I will be completing a Marine Conservation Internship at the Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Centre in Honduras. This internship will focus on scientific dives as well as the social impact on reefs around the island. I hope to bring both experiences in my graduate studies and focus on the impact of pollution on water systems.
I am aware of the highly competitive demands of this master’s program, but I am confident that I have the ability, ambition and motivation to exceed. If selected for this graduate program, I will continue to apply the same diligence to my collegiate studies as I have up to this point, making education and service to others my top priority. I will represent The MES well during my time in college and beyond. Thank you in advance for your consideration.