Damaris, a student in our School of Life Sciences, shows us the importance of investing in scholarships for future generations. 

Damaris Dueñas Flores, who is originally from Honduras, moved to Essex last year to pursue an MSc in Tropical Marine Biology, a multidisciplinary course taught by our internationally-renowned academics. After graduating, she hopes to lead marine wildlife conservation and research projects in Central America and the Caribbean.

“I want to create critical information to fill knowledge gaps about coral reproductive biology. Furthermore, I would like to further my research skills and network in order to improve coral reef restoration techniques and monitoring programs that incorporate novel technologies”.

Damaris in the sea wearing scuba diving kit, the sun is setting behind her

As a recipient of a Chevening Scholarship, Damaris said “The scholarship has not only supported me in financing my postgraduate education in the United Kingdom, but it has also introduced me to a network of leaders and people who are passionate about what they do and want to give back to the world.”

Looking back on some of the challenges she faced to make it to Essex. “The most difficult aspect of the process, in my opinion, was balancing the workload I managed while working with a marine conservation non-profit and the time I needed to devote to my own personal activities. Balancing time between a physically and mentally demanding job and my mental health was at times chaotic, but it is one of the most rewarding memories I have today, knowing it was all worth it.”

“I enjoy Essex because it is a historical town close to the big city of London while also being close to the seashore of Clacton-on-Sea. It's a small city centred on student life, and everyone is eager to assist you whenever you need it.

“If you are from the tropics, as I am, mentally prepare for the cold weather and learn about the proper clothing inlayers’ eager to discover the wonders of the seasons, the arts, museums, and gothic architecture throughout the United Kingdom”.

“I want to encourage young Honduran women to pursue STEM careers in order to effect positive change and improve natural resource management in our ecosystems.”

Damaris’ journey to studying at Essex, the difference she wants to make and the example she wants to lead is nothing but inspiring. Scholarships are an investment in the people who are striving to make our world a better place, and with the support of our Essex Futures donors, we’re raising £1m to fund even more scholarships at Essex.

This blog was written by Student Philanthropy Assistant, Jeswin Joseph.