Rebecca Daniel has dedicated everything to championing ocean conservation.

We’ve followed her journey since she graduated with an MSc in Tropical Marine Biology 5 years ago, and we couldn’t be prouder for the recognition and success she continues to achieve.

Rebecca's most recent accomplishment: a Regional Finalist in the Commonwealth Youth Awards. The awards, which were held at St James's Palace, were hosted by Prince Edward who praised Rebecca's work with The Marine Diaries

Rebecca Daniel speaking to Prince Edward

It all started as a student at Essex. Rebecca, along with two of her course mates, set up The Marine Diaries, a non-profit organisation using storytelling and digital media to communicate marine science and connect people with the ocean. What started as a blog and social media channel, has grown into a project-led organisation, led by Rebecca as Director. 

Along with a team of volunteers, Rebecca has grown an online community of around 50,000 ocean advocates, launched two collaborative projects (Plastic Not Fantastic and Marine Ecosystem Diaries), as well as editorial series, internship programs, events, and ocean expeditions. The films and posters from their nine-month educational project on different marine ecosystems, Marine Ecosystem Diaries, have been watched and used across the world. Several films were selected for environmental film festivals, and together the films have combined views of  over 62,000 on their YouTube channel, and their beautifully-illustrated posters have been used from the Maldives to Timor-Leste.

When we chatted to her about being recognised in the Commonwealth Youth Awards, Rebecca said:

"It's incredible to have been selected as a Regional Finalist in the Commonwealth Youth Awards. I'm grateful for the recognition of our entire voluntary team's dedication to ocean storytelling and advancing Ocean Literacy to achieve SDGs 14, 13, and 4.

I hope this award will help to bring us vital funding, but also serve as a connector to other people, organisations, and businesses across the Commonwealth that we can collaborate with and learn from."

The Commonwealth Youth Awards recognise social entrepreneurs, environmental champions, innovators, and human rights activists from across the Commonwealth that have initiatives with tangible contributions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

This recognition is one of many Rebecca and her team at The Marine Diaries have received over the last year for their work. Some of their other recent awards include:
P.E.A Awards 2023 - Finalist for Influencer Award.

  • EU4Ocean Award 2022 - Winner of Community Engagement Award.
  • European Enterprise Awards 2022 - Winner of 'Best Online Ocean Communication Experts - UK'.
  • Ocean Awards 2022 - Finalist for Young Initiative Award.

Inspiring Essex students

If the above wasn’t inspiring enough, all Rebecca’s work as Director of The Marine Diaries is on a volunteer basis. She runs the organisation alongside her full-time job as Digital Content & Marketing Manager at MSQ/Sustain. And on top of that, she’s even made time to support current students at Essex!

Rebecca has carved out a successful career in digital marketing and communications, working for organisations that align with her values and passions – sustainability, climate change, and ocean conservation. It’s no surprise that given her wealth of knowledge and experience on social entrepreneurship and working in the sustainability field, we like asking Rebecca back to campus to share her insights with current students – like as a panellist during Environment Week and speaking in the ‘X-Way to Science’ career series for the MSc Tropical Marine Biology course.

As the world grapples with a climate and ecological emergency, Rebecca’s remarkable journey, from passionate student to award-winning advocate for marine conservation, showcases the transformative power of an Essex degree. And as the University of Essex celebrates it’s 60th anniversary, a place where change happens, we’re excited to see the impact Rebecca continues to have and the change she will undoubtedly make in the years to come.

If you’re a graduate and would be interested in being a guest speaker for careers events, register for volunteering opportunities here. To find out more about the work The Marine Diaries are doing, visit their website or follow them on social media.