Celebrating Role Models – Day 12

Marine Biologist, ASHA DE VOS

People often ask me what I would have been if I were not a marine biologist. I
look at them blankly. Marine biology is in my soul. None of my family members
are beach goers or swimmers but that didn’t stop them from encouraging me to
follow my heart and do something different. Unquestioningly.

Being a marine biologist is uncommon enough, being a female marine biologist
is stare-worthy. I carry heavy equipment and direct teams of researchers who
are often men. I love the adventure. Spending hours and hours on the ocean with
the biggest animal that has ever lived on the planet – who wouldn’t smile. But
even the science that goes on behind closed doors makes my heart leap. The data
analysis is where I start to unravel the answers to all those burning questions
that reside within. I don’t see it as a job…it’s my life.

But what I do is not just science. I believe in empowering people with knowledge
and creating awareness. I believe in inspiring the next generation of marine
biologists and ensuring that kids know there are alternatives. That it’s pretty
cool to be different even if people look at you funny. I feed off the energy I get
from my audiences and as you can imagine – the kids give me plenty to work
with.

The stories of the great unknown had me hooked from the age of six. Everyday
I remind myself how lucky I am to be doing what I love. The challenges and
obstacles are plenty but things that stand in the way can usually be climbed
over or walked around. Knowing that I am surrounded by people who believe so
strongly in me – I know I can achieve my greatest of dreams!

PHOTOGRAPH BY SHAKIR JAMALDEEN

You can find more of Asha’s work at http://whalessrilanka.blogspot.com/

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5 responses to “Celebrating Role Models – Day 12

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