Our spunky, Mexican, vibrant, talented guacamole-maker, employee is clearly not just hilarious and beautiful, but also very self driven and motivated. Belen Perez has developed a scholarship that is Earth friendly in its content. She is an environmental sciences major at Nova Southeastern University and a fellow CKSF employee. Personally, I loved the idea of the scholarship, for I feel it can give NSU great recognition for its programs within the environmental sciences major just as it did with Marine Biology. NSU really is a great school that not enough people know about. Secondly, I believe people should be more knowledgeable about our home, Planet Earth. In order to do this, it’s important to have common knowledge on our surrounding natural landmarks and environmental sources which was the main focus for Belen.
Belen came into NSU her freshmen year as a Marine Biology Major as well as the Environmental Sciences major due to the overlaps in credits. As Belen said herself when I interviewed her “I just fell into the major.” She soon discovered she clearly has a passion for it and just dropped the Marine Biology and commenced her new journey that has opened so many doors.
Here at CKSF, we develop online quizzes based on accuracy and time for a wide variety of subjects and award scholarships to the participants with the highest scores. Belen thus took it upon herself to make a scholarship within her major that focused on The Everglades. As our most wonderful supervisor likes to say, The Everglades is “part of our back yard” due to our South Florida residence.
The quiz is comprised of categories all based on different Everglade themes: history, geography water quality, native, and non-native species. The first quiz, which is the challenge round will run from December 1st through the 20th. The top 25% from that challenge round advance to a championship round. Each round will have 15 questions. The scholarship, as do all CKSF scholarships, provides a sort of cheat sheet that contains online sources from which the quiz questions were derived. For the purpose of this scholarship, Belen has most of her sources from The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) with whom she has diligently worked to develop content and provide prizes.
Belen has contacted SFWMD and the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation and asked them to help donate small prizes to the top 25 scoring individuals. Since SFWMD works in Everglades’s restoration, we are happily awaiting their reply. Belen has also worked on giving winners an eco-friendly NSU’s logo water cup.
Belen’s heart of gold and copper exterior wishes nothing more than to educate kids from all over the United States on the Everglades and as she said herself “its unique beauty.” As do the rest of the CKSF staff, she hopes to draw attention to her program here at NSU.
Although we all struggled seeing her try to make the quiz fun, I can say she excelled as I’m sure anyone taking the quiz will notice. She definitely put her soul and energy into making this scholarship. Her hard work is deeply appreciated here at CKSF, for her fireball energy spirit brings us all together even more. Therefore, don’t hesitate to see her greatness at work for yourself, log on to cksf.org and register if you haven’t done so already to take her quiz and possibly earn scholarship money to further your education!