The Eckerd College Marine Science Minority Students Recruitment & Scholarship Fund was started in 2019. The monies/donations collected for the fund will be used annually to increase the recruitment of minority students pursuing careers in the aquatic sciences at Eckerd College.
Increasing diversity in the aquatic sciences is important for many reasons, some of which include:
Economic Equality: Degrees in STEM fields pay approximately 26% more than non-STEM degrees (via Burning Glass Technologies) and since 1990 employment in STEM occupations has grown by 79%, from 9.7 million to 17.3 million (via Pew Research Center). However, the rapid growth in STEM fields has also created large iniquities, such as income, between people of color and their white counterparts, as recent data has shown that the STEM workforce is no more diverse now than in 2001 (via Change the Equation). Furthermore, this is a very unique time for the ocean and geoscience fields, as we are go through the ‘ocean revolution’, in which people, companies, and countries are investing more and more money into studying and extracting natural resources from the ocean, such as Wind and Wave power, minerals and gases, organisms that can serve biomedical and military purposes, and food. Although the ocean makes up 71% of earth, it is the habitat we know the least about. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimated that as much as 95 percent of the world's oceans and 99 percent of the ocean floor are unexplored. Because of the projected growth and economic opportunity with the fields of aquatic science, coupled with it the fact that it is a relatively new disciplines, presents the perfect opportunity to ensure that people of color are represented equally within the discipline as it continues to grow.
Environmental Racism: Environmental racism is the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color. I often call it the ‘forgotten’ sector of social justice, as it is more often than not left off of the list of social injustices that people of color face (such as income inequality, education, health care, racial discriminations, etc.). However, I believe it is one of the most deadly injustices people of color face, as there is a direct link between environmental condition and human health. Furthermore, as the ocean becomes more and more ‘valuable’ to people, companies, and countries, it is important that people of color have equal access to a health ocean, and the best way to ensure that is by ensuring that the scientists, world leaders and policy makers making the decisions reflect the people/communities they serve.
Leaving The World Better Than We Found It: We are currently facing some of the most complex and sever problems the natural environment has ever seen, and it will take a diverse group of scientists, world leaders, and activists, to solve these problems. Additionally, it will take the same type of diversity to prevent these problems from happening in the future, all while ensuring the people of color have a ‘seat at the table’ when discussing these complex global problems.
Why Eckerd College?
Eckerd College has the #1 Marine Science program in the United States (via College Magazine), and as an Alumna, I can attest to the fact that Eckerd’s program is like no other! However, I can also affirm that Eckerd’s Marine Science program severely lacks racial and ethnic diversity, and it is my hope that this fund will help combat the lack of diversity within one of the most elite undergraduate Marine Science programs.
How to support
You can support the Eckerd College Marine Science Minority Students Recruitment & Scholarship Fund either by donating to support our cause, and/or sharing our fund’s mission with your network!