Waldport Senior Awarded $2000 Ocean Steward Scholarship
The Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport holds its annual Ocean Steward Celebration fundraiser in Portland every spring, and this year marked the inaugural presentation of the Schlesinger-Thrasher Ocean Steward Scholarship. The $2000 scholarship is the brainchild of Ken Thrasher and Barry Schlesinger, dedicated Aquarium board members impressed and inspired by the Aquarium’s educational programs. “They saw an opportunity to link the Aquarium’s efforts with the broader educational community,” said Caryl Zenker, the Aquarium’s Vice President of Development, who organizes the event.
“The Aquarium’s amazing volunteers and staff support the inquisitive minds of young people, and spur their interests in the sciences,” said Ken Thrasher. “The Schlesinger-Thrasher scholarship will help enable a student to take their interests in marine science to a higher level in college, and hopefully to a career in the science field.”
This year’s scholarship recipient is Waldport High School senior and aquarium youth volunteer Etasha Golden. Etasha started in the aquarium’s Youth Program in 2015, volunteering more than 150 hours over the course of the summer. This year she is returning to the youth program as an interpreter as well as crew chief, a leadership role in which she mentors, guides and supervises her fellow youth volunteers.
Next year Etasha is planning to attend Oregon State University and study engineering. When she entered the youth volunteer program she was unsure of which field in engineering she wanted to study, but her experiences as an Aquarium youth volunteer have helped steer her toward environmental, oceanographic and humanitarian engineering. She is particularly interested in wave energy and the use of underwater robots, and looks forward to expanding upon her passion for the ocean in college.
The Schlesinger-Thrasher scholarship is tailored toward local students pursuing a college degree, particularly those involved with the Aquarium’s volunteer programs. Potential honorees are asked to describe how volunteering for the Aquarium impacted them personally, and how the experience will help further their goals.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a partner in the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, and offers marine-focused STEM experiences for youth and adults through its exhibits, education programs, teacher resources, online Oceanscape Network, and volunteer programs.