Rhodes scholar is driven’ to study climate change
Deirdre Collins knew her life had changed after a phone call she received last autumn.
Deirdre, 22, was told she had won the prestigious Rhodes scholarship for Bermuda.
She said: “In that moment, I knew that the scholarship would undoubtedly change the course of my professional and academic life.
This opportunity will have a colossal impact on my career.”
She will use the scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in environmental change and management at Hertford College, Oxford.
Deirdre, from St George’s, said: “Oxford has one of the best schools of geography in the world and to have a chance to learn from professors there seemed like a dream.”
She said she learnt in late November that she had won the scholarship.
Deirdre said her mother knew from her daughter’s “wide-eyed expression” that she had won.
She added: “She had already opened a bottle of champagne by the time I hung up the phone.”
Deirdre said that her interest in environmental issues was born in Bermuda.
She explained: “I spent a lot of my childhood outside and always assumed that just as nature gave me so much, namely a playground in my backyard or a sanctuary from normal life, humans paid it the same respect in return.”
Deirdre said she viewed climate change as one of the most important challenges faced by her generation.
She added: “I am driven to study climate change as it relates to politics, business economics, and climate science because it poses an enormous threat to every continent on the planet.
“We have never seen a global issue quite like climate change and the decision we make today will impact us decades down the line.”
Deirdre left St Paul’s School in New Hampshire with distinctions in science and humanities in June 2013 after attending BHS. She graduated from top Jesuit-run Georgetown University in Washington last May with a BSc in biology.
Deirdre went to work with NY Green Bank as an investment and portfolio management analyst after leaving Georgetown.
The New York State-sponsored fund is involved in researching clean energy technologies.
Deirdre said she planned to pursue a career working to advance clean energy markets, utilising methods of carbon capture and storage.
She added: “I hope to contribute to the advancement and investment in these technologies that allow humans — in some way — to erase the mistakes we’ve made in the past.”
Deirdre said she hoped her work would allow her to return to Bermuda.
She said the island’s wellbeing was “inextricably” linked to the global response to climate change.
But she added Bermuda had not participated enough in work to combat the problem.
Deirdre said: “With the international businesses that operate on our shores and the island’s physical similarity to Aruba, which currently runs on 15.7 per cent clean energy, Bermuda is uniquely positioned to take a stance on this issue. I plan to play a substantial role in this effort.”