Tackling climate change policy in the Caribbean as a Fulbright Scholar

Fulbright Spotlight: Neorgia Grant ’20

Having witnessed the effects of climate change first-hand in her home country, Neorgia Grant ’20 knew she wanted to use her Mount Holyoke education and experience to create positive change but wasn’t sure where to start. Fellowships at Mount Holyoke helped Neorgia explore her options and find the best opportunities to match her goals.

Neorgia spent some time reflecting on her experiences with the fellowship application process and her advice for students searching for STEM and research opportunities.

How has life been post-graduation?

I've been home in Miami helping family and working part-time during my gap year while I prep for the upcoming cycle of medical school applications.

You previously completed a project in Jamaica with Davis Projects for Peace. How did that experience help to shape your goals?

To play an active role in combating climate impacts is both a personal and career goal of mine. I wanted to build on my experience from my Davis Fellowship, examining how other Caribbean countries dependent on tourism are handling the impacts of climate change on the industry. Returning to my home country, Jamaica, on many occasions and each time witnessing how it was being affected by increasing climate change propelled me to seek out avenues to address climate impacts before they worsened. 

Throughout the application process, I spoke with industry specialists, who gave me a greater understanding of resource management and clarified that positive changes are possible by engaging in this work. Fulbright provides an opportunity for me to contribute to climate-adaptive initiatives and policies in the Caribbean through my research in Barbados, thereby helping me reach my goals.

What made you decide to apply for a Fulbright, on top of all the other demands as a senior?

The most challenging part of the application process was planning a practical way of undertaking my research. It's easy to know what you want to study, but devising how to perform the study to give accurate, useful data can be daunting.

Having Ryan from the fellowship's office as a resource throughout the application process was extremely helpful. His support, feedback, and constant reminders that the work I've done and want to do is meaningful helped me stay motivated.

For those considering an application — apply! And even if you don't get it the first time, apply again! Going through the application process taught me so much about what I'm really interested in, which helped me better shape my career path.