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|Create Date||January 30, 2018|
Fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of our scholars at the National University of Belize “Let us listen to them”
by Sheena Jackson
The University of Belize (UB) and the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to implement a scholarship program designed to assist the National Protected Areas System and the sustainable development goals of Belize
Starting in August, 2017 five bachelor’s degree scholarships valued at $50,000 will be provided to UB students. Let’s meet these five students who were awarded scholarships this year and hear a little about them and how they feel about receiving such an award.
Twenty-year-old Deadra Bennett is aspiring to someday be the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Human Development, Poverty Alleviation, Social Transformation Department of Belize. In this capacity she feels she will be able to truly serve the vulnerable and marginalized populations in Belize, a group in which she includes herself.
Deadra is an outgoing, critical thinker and a sociable youth leader in her community. Growing up, her parents instilled in her a passion for education. It is to this that she attributes her self-driven attitude and her drive to obtain a university education. Growing up in a poor community, it was apparent that there were various social issues affecting community members. “I had an understanding that in order to minimize poverty you will need to get a job; which requires an education.”, Bennet explains. “I chose to study Social Work to gain an in-depth analysis of human behavior and social policies that contribute to people’s social disposition.” Deadra feels she has gained numerous insights to help people in various social issues, but it isn’t enough. She claims, “With the help of PACT and UB, I have gained something I feel genuinely deserving of. [By] continuing my education journey I will reach my ultimate goal, which is to obtain a Master’s degree in Social Work.”
Luwin Tzib, a Bachelor of Mathematics major, credits his parents for teaching him hard work and to value the need of an education. He is aspiring to be a bio-mechanical engineer or astrophysicist because he wants to continue learning. One of his dreams is to invent something that this and future generations will find useful and gain knowledge from. In order to achieve that dream he lacked the finance to pursue his education. The PACT scholarship relieved him of the very real worry of how to fund his continued studies. “For my associate’s degree in Biology, Math, and Physics, I relied on financial aid from the government and a grant from the UB Barton Scholarship”, Tzib explains, continuing “I was worried that it would be hard for me to complete my Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics since the UB Barton scholarship had terminated...”. Luwin recalls getting up early in the morning to help his dad and working from dawn to dusk on the weekends in order to be able to provide for the family’s basic needs. “Life for me at high school was a struggle since I had to help my father every evening at the farm after school. The weekends were also spent at the farm from dawn to dusk, with the night time used to do assignments. This lifestyle made me realize that education is very important, so I made it my goal to achieve the highest education possible.” When asked about how he would use his degree to help the environment Tzib explains “with Math you can use data and look at the negative path and process and using statistics you can predict what will happen in the future and take measures to prevent extinct of species.”
Future Environmental Economist, Monica Coe dreams of acquiring her degree in Natural Resource Management. Working in this capacity she feels she will be able to monitor and promote sustainability in Belize. She believes that the idea of conversation, protection and sustainable development will enhance the living conditions for future generations. Monica feels that the PACT scholarship is allowing her to fulfill her dream and showing her parents that she is independent and focused. Coe advises, “this scholarship provides countless empowerment to pursue my studies with great confidence.” It will also allow her to give back to her parents. “I saw the struggles my parents went through”, Ms Coe explains, “and my effort was their reason to continue their work”. Coe recalls how hard her parents worked to send her to school. A lesson that she has learned and recommends for other students is that, “the beauty about life is that you are able to make mistakes and learn from them.”
Hard working, Tara Scarborough is an independent young woman who has been working to send herself to school. She is an aspiring Marine Veterinarian who wants to complete her Ph.D. after acquiring her master’s degree in Marine Biology she plans on returning back to Belize and give back to her country. She observes that there is not a certified Marine Veterinarian in Belize and she feels it is necessary especially since we are surrounded by water. She wants to come back home and work in this capacity since organizations who need a marine veterinarian would usually get someone from outside of Belize for the job. Tara is currently majoring in Biology because she will need most of the courses in this program in order to pursue her dream. Tara chose the University of Belize because it is the closest thing to home and one of the more affordable options in Belize. She believes that her degree will help make sure the reef is always intact and healthy. She can perform different surveys to see how Belize can improve certain things that are deteriorating and raise more awareness in that field as well and educate people. The scholarship is helping a lot because she is the sole provider of her financing for school. She is currently working and attending school. She thanks PACT and the University of Belize for giving her the opportunity to attend the university and finish her bachelor’s degree.
Maria Pech believes that as a person one must aspire to leave the world better than they found it. This is her drive to becoming an environmentalist and to play an important role in creating a safe place for people and the natural resources to co-exist. It was not always an easy road for Pech, “my father is the sole provider in our family and has to provide for eight persons. The journey to an education is often made more difficult due to financial constraints it may bring along.” When asked about scholarship Maria explains “The scholarship means that I would have the opportunity to meet one of my goals, that is to get an education. Not only will it mean that I would have achieved a great milestone in my life and make everyone I know proud, but it would also entail that I use all that I have learnt for the greatest benefit of Belize.” Maria chose to study at the National University because she feels that the University of Belize has the best training and knowledge in her program of study which will help mold her into an educated citizen of Belize. Pech thanks the University of Belize and PACT for granting her the possibility to pursue her education.
The University of Belize congratulate these students for their hard work and is pleased to be collaborating with the Protected Areas Conservation Trust.