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|Create Date||January 29, 2018|
Young, Dynamic UB Graduate Robin Gray at BAHA
by Sheena Jackson
Robin Simone Gray is from the village of Independence and is a twenty-four year old Aquatic Health Laboratory Technician at the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA). Along with her brothers Dembigh and Reginald, Robin spent her early years in Georgeville Village where her family resided. She was an avid reader and ever the conversationalist; loving to debate with her family members. In fact she spent more time conversing with the adults than playing with children her own age.
In 2009 Robin graduated from Independence High school with honors. She then attended Independence Junior College where she majored in Environmental Science and Tourism. Her dedication and commitment to education at the tertiary level were rewarding and she completed her Associates Degree with top honors and proudly delivered the valedictory address in 2011. That year Robin was unable to secure a scholarship to further her studies so she decided to work in order to support her continued education. Robin worked at Royal Mayan Shrimp Farm as an Assistant Biologist; this work experience became a life experience that lead to a career change. She enjoyed being an assistant biologist and feeding her curiosity for biology became her top priority. Thus, she decided to take a different path and specialize in Biology when she had the opportunity to continue with her education. Not one to wait around twiddling her thumbs, Robin made a valiant effort to set money aside for her studies at the University of Belize. And after one year of working she enrolled at the University of Belize with a promise of assistance from her Aunt.
Robin believes that being raised in a single parent home has helped inspire her to work harder. She credits her mother for instilling in her the value of hard work. From a very early age Robin tried her best to work for what she wanted to ease her mother’s burdens. This is displayed by her drive to get her degree despite her mom being unable to get finances to secure her education. For instance, to help pay for the sixth form education and acquire some of the supplies she would need at Independence Junior College, Robin entered into a pageant and won a laptop computer and she applied to the Social Security Board and was a recipient of their Sixth Form Scholarship.
Robin’s drive and curiosity are both still going strong. She is now aspiring to get her Master’s Degree in Aquatic Sciences so she can expand her knowledge and give back to her country. She has chosen Aquaculture as her career path as she has been drawn to the industry through her experiences and the jobs she’s had.
Personal drive is definitely a significant factor in Robin’s success. But we wanted to know how her experience at UB prepared her for her present career. We sat down for a chat with Robin to find out.
“UB has prepared me as best as one can be prepared for something as general as Biology” Robin says. “Biology at the [BSc] level prepared me for general biology, and coming here to BAHA, taking into consideration certain basics that were taught to us in the labs at UB and combining those with the different trainings that we have gone on here at BAHA (“4th Course of Pathology and Immunology of Litopenaus vannamei shrimp” and “Detection of Microorganisms in fish, crustaceans and molluscs by the PCR technique”) completely prepared me to do my job.”
For prospective students, Robin has the following advice to share:
”For students who are interested in biology, UB has a good program in general Biology. The program includes subjects on Terrestrial, Marine, Vertebrates, Invertebrates, Higher plants and Lower plants. I wholeheartedly recommend this program.”
“I would definitely recommend UB to a prospective student because it is our National University and if we don’t support it and try to help improve it, then what is the point? One of my main concerns is that the University as an Institution and its specific courses are not accredited as yet. I feel that this is something that needs to be addressed urgently. Another concern is the amount of students who are graduating from University and are unable to secure jobs in their chosen field. Enrollment into programs need to be based on what the Belize job market needs. Research needs to be done to determine job availability; and enrollments into these programs need to be a reflection of that.”
How did you feel being the Top Achiever for June 2015?
She credits her classmate, family and friends for this achievement and advises that it was a team effort. “Going to University and having all these projects and influences all while you are on your own, it is very important that you surround yourself with people who have the same drive as you.” She thanks her “Biology Squad” for getting her through the sleepless nights. She emphasizes that she worked hard for her grades but the support system and colleagues were there to make it easier for her.
Robin’s advice to Students can be summed up in ten points:
- Surround yourself with people who have the same drive as you.
- Never give up on your dreams.
- Focus on developing experience in your area of appreciation.
- Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t
- Don’t tell yourself you can’t.
- You have to believe in yourself and inspire other people to believe in you.
- Education does not begin and end in the classroom, learn something new everyday.
- Always give it a 100%
- Develop a passion for school and learning
- Have faith in God. What is yours will be yours.
It was a pleasure speaking with Ms. Robin Gray. She’s a role model for females and students on a whole. She is a perfect example of “nothing can get in your way to success”. Her UB journey has been very difficult and there were times when Robin was unsure where the money would come from to complete her studies. What has been a drive for Robin is the fact that she can’t let her Mom down, nor the people who believed in her and gave her the opportunity to further her education. She was amazed that she has obtained her dream job at BAHA, and is grateful UB contributed to it.