Christian Clark named 2011 North American Rolex Scholar
Recent University of Hawaii grad has Rolex, will travel.
Life is good if you’re Christian Clark, 23, of Cumming, Ga. That’s because Clark has been named the 2011 North American Rolex Scholar by the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society (OW-USS).
Not familiar with the scholarship program? Then prepare to be jealous. Clark will spend the next year of his life traveling the globe on a generous stipend to dive side-by-side with some of the planet’s leading aquatic explorers, marine scientists and underwater filmmakers. He also gets a ton of free dive gear, advanced training opportunities and the piece de resistance—a Rolex submariner dive watch.
The scholarship, sponsored by the watch company, is awarded annually to a college-aged diver interested in pursuing a career in marine science or exploration. For more on the program, visit www.owuscholarship.org.
Clark discovered diving at age 13 during a family trip to Maui, and in just 10 years, has amassed a pretty impressive dive resume including Scientific Diver and NAUI Divemaster certifications.
He graduated from the University of Hawaii in August 2010 with a BS in Global Environmental Science. Between classes he volunteered at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology’s Shark Lab, where his duties included capturing and tagging sharks. He also joined UH’s scientific diving class, later becoming an assistant trainer, and was selected for the college’s rigorous diving field school, eventually becoming an instructor in the program.
Working as a research assistant in the Holland Pelagic Fish Lab, he helped quantify the movement of sharks and other apex predators around the Main Hawaiian Islands and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. As a result of this research, Clark co-authored two journal articles. He also participated in three research expeditions to Antarctica, where he studied climate change effects on benthic ecology. This research became the basis of his senior thesis and two more articles, which are pending publication.
Clark’s experiences in Antarctica led him to realize the importance of communicating scientific research issues and solutions to non-scientists. He began filming and photographing on every research trip and attended a field school on environmental science documentary film production. During his scholarship year, Clark hopes to explore careers that combine his diving, research and media background.
For Clark and two other scholarship winners (the society also selects a European and Australasian Rolex scholar) his next adventure will officially begin on Saturday, April 16 at the Rolex Awards Dinner in New York City’s world-famous Explorers Club.