Dear Sponsor of the Naples Garden Club Fellowship Endowed Fund,
My name is Emily Rose Marlene Maya and I am the recipient of your very generous scholarship. This award will not only help me and my family with the financial requirements of my education but it also provides an amazing opportunity for me to expand my skills through working alongside the very intelligent staff of the Everglades Wetland Research Park. As an undergraduate Environmental Studies student in my junior year, it would have been extremely difficult to secure a research opportunity comparable to the one I’ve been offered. I suppose as a contributor to the funds enabling this to all take place, you may be more curious of whom I am outside of the academic realm.
I live on a small farm with my parents in Golden Gate Estates where we primarily raise and breed dairy goats. Before we moved to Florida we lived for a short time in Alaska due to my father’s service in the Coast Guard. During this time we took many family camping trips and even just day trips to a nearby lake thus inspiring my love of nature and the outdoors. As I matured and attended grade school on the west coast of Florida, I became fascinated with the natural sciences and the wonders it unlocked. I then fell in love with the Florida landscape and its vibrant wildlife. Although I’ve lived here most of my life, I have visited many other states and observed their ecosystems and found that Florida is indeed my favorite. Having explained this, there is no question why I chose to major in environmental studies and minor in biology. Therefore, I hope to fuel my research at the FGCU Kapnick Center with the deep passion I hold for Florida and its unique wetland ecosystems.
When I consider this wonderful scholarship I have been awarded, I think of it as actually two awards. The first is of course the financial aid. This could not have come at a more appropriate time in my academic studies because although my parents have been a great blessing to me through being able to fund my education thus far, the recent economy has further stretched our family budget and our ability to afford tuition was becoming stressed. This gift will lift a huge burden off of my parents for the coming semester and allow us to begin saving for fall semester tuition earlier.
The second award I then associate with this scholarship is the opportunity to conduct research with the staff of the Everglades Wetland Research Center. My work there will not only expand my knowledge of the scientific process and wetland ecology/hydrology but it will also broaden my future career opportunities. Before now, I knew very little of how scientific research was conducted outside of academia and never really gave it much thought as a potential future career, however, my work research at the center with the help of the esteemed professionals there, will allow me to experience what it might be like to commit to such a career field.
So once again, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for this scholarship and the impact it will have on my life. I am at a turning point in my academic career and your generosity has provided the next step I will take to secure a future for myself so that I might better serve our community.
Emily Rose Marlene Maya