2019 Open Water Grant Essay Submissions
Please find the 2019 Open Water Certification Training Grant entries below. SECONN will be awarding one Open Water training grant and one Advanced Training Grant (may be used towards Advanced Open Water and Rescue). Please select your top choice for each category and vote once (link to vote is available on both pages).
Essay 1: Open Water
Having never actually done a dive, I nonetheless feel deeply invested in SCUBA and the process of learning and growing through the practice. I’ve had the opportunity to see SCUBA diving in an intimate way – my boyfriend of two years has recently completed his Dive Master training, and I’ve accompanied him to many New England Dive events.
Because of him, I see SCUBA as this amazing avenue to a world so far removed from my everyday life. In my professional life, I work in a scientific research lab. I’m very used to the synthetic world of beakers and test tubes, but I was afforded the opportunity to work with a unique species of aquatic salamander – the axolotl. Working with these amphibians has led to a greater curiosity about the wildlife inhabiting the lakes, oceans, and rivers that surround me in both Connecticut as well as the world. Unfortunately, the axolotl is almost completely extinct in the wild. This impressed upon me the importance of going and seeing what’s out there while it’s still there. With climates changing, and the oceans experiencing increased levels of carbon and pollution, I know that time is ticking. I have a genuine love for all animals and the environment; being exposed to SCUBA has deeply impressed on me the fact that I need to seize the day and go see as much as I can while I can. A species may not be here five years from now, so what am I waiting for? Diving would present me with the chance to change the way I see the world as well as allow me to more greatly appreciate all the species we share the planet with. I have a deep love of learning new things and would be so grateful for the chance to learn to dive and grow as a person in the process.
My boyfriend is the biggest motivating factor in wanting to learn how to dive. In the time I’ve known him, I’ve been able to see him both study for and complete his Advanced OW, Rescue Diver, and Divemaster courses. There is something indescribable about the pride I feel in seeing how hard he works, and how impactful his accomplishments have been in his life. SCUBA has been such a big portion of his life that I want to be able to share in it with him and make it a part of mine. Something that is so important to him has naturally become something that I have a vested interest in and care deeply for. Being able to dive will inevitably bring us closer together as we explore new places and have new adventures together underwater.
I’ve always considered myself someone who believes in pushing themselves to learn new things, and this is something that I very much want to learn. This would be something so far from the ‘norm’ for myself, but I’m ready to take the plunge both literally and figuratively. I want to explore New England at new depths, and I want to be afforded the opportunity to grow closer with someone I love. Being granted this scholarship would be a way for me to grow personally in most areas of my life, and I’m ready to take on the exciting challenge of diving. With the assistance of the SCUBA scholarship being offered, I can take the first steps towards becoming certified. This scholarship would help to alleviate some of the financial stress I feel, as I am also still in school. Trying to afford both collegiate classes and SCUBA classes at once would create too much of a financial burden, but this scholarship would help to make becoming certified a reality.
Essay 2: Open Water
There are quite a few reasons as to why I would love to get scuba certified. Some of my oldest and best memories from when I was young was getting to snorkel at the coral reefs in the Red Sea. My parents were master divers who met in Saudi Arabia, so at a young age I was introduced to the beauty that lies beneath the sea. Another reason why I want to get certified is that some of the most important people in my life are scuba divers, and I want to be able to share that experience with them. The last big reason why I want to get certified is the world of adventures that await under the sea. Scuba diving would be a way for me to get to explore and discover a whole new world and to meet more awesome people.
I was born and raised on the west coast of Saudi Arabia in a town called Yanbu, right next to one of the best dive locations in the world, the Red Sea. While I was too young to ever get to go diving while I was there, I was lucky enough to be able to go swimming and snorkeling at reefs that were right off the coast. Almost 16 years later I can still remember looking down at all the colorful fish and stunning coral. I know that the diving in Connecticut waters is a little different, but my hope is that diving will allow me to find the hidden beauty that is in all waters around the world.
A large part of the reason why I am alive is due to diving. It’s how my parents met while in Saudi, and was something that they often did together while living there. I’ve grown up hearing their stories of the amazing times they had while diving, but I never felt like it was something that I would be able to do, especially now living in CT. After meeting my girlfriend, who happened to be a new diver and a member of SECONN, I was now surrounded by people who enjoyed diving. After some time and attending many fun and interesting meetings and events with her and SECONN, I have learned how much the waters around these parts have to offer and how fun it can be to dive anywhere.
Lastly, I want to learn to dive so that I have another tool in my bag for being able to explore the world around me. I love to travel, and I feel like going underwater is like visiting another world, one that not everyone has or is able to visit. It also just seems like so much fun, and I’m sure that there is a lot of good times to be had doing it. So, for this reason, along with the fact that my family has strong ties to diving, I’ve have had a small taste of what lies down there, and the great scuba community that is in this area are reasons as to why I would love to get certified. My only regret is waiting so long to decide to do so.
Essay 3: Open Water
I am originally from Boston, MA, and I now live in Rhode Island and study at a university in New York. My current academic interest as a Junior majoring in Biology at Lander College for Women, include biology, health sciences, ecology, environmental studies, and marine conservation. I am a proactive student who enjoys working hard and achieving both intellectual and personal growth.
As a child, growing up in New England, I had the incredible opportunity to live near the coast. I come from a family of 8, and because I have such a large family we were never able to go to summer camp or take family vacations. Yet, I remember having the best summers as a child. I swam, sailed, kayaked, and windsurfed. All of these opportunities were made possible through the incredible work done by Community Boating in Boston. CBI is a non-profit sailing club based on the Charles River in Boston. I was able to go sailing every summer for $1. It was at CBI where I was able to be involved in competition, make life-long friends, and receive addition education in STEM and environmental conservation awareness.
I later went on to volunteer at CBI as a junior-sailing instructor and give to others the way CBI gave to me. I further went on to train and work as a lifeguard at the JCC in Rhode Island, where I have taught water safety skills to children and adults for the last 5 years. I recently received my Lifeguard Instructor certification and I am now able to give back and educate future lifeguards in water safety and rescue skills.
I want to become PADI Open Water Dive Certified in order to further my interests in marine conservation and add to my collection of aquatic skills. All my life, I have been privileged enough to be able to participate in aquatics through the generosity of others. My goal is to be able to use all the skills I have been able accumulated and use them to give back to my community. My goal is to open an aquatic training facility, that promotes learning and safety. I intend to be able to provide the same low-cost services that were available to me as a child, to those cannot afford to pay for them. I want to offer need-based scholarships for swimming lessons, low-cost dive certification for teens, lifeguard and aquatic safety classes to the community, and conservation volunteer travel opportunities. I am confident that this grant will bring me one step closer to my goal. Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.