Categorized | Education, Featured

Parker alum Warkus wins Fulbright Scholarship

Erica Warkus in Indonesia (Photo courtesy of Parker School)

MEDIA RELEASE

Parker School Alumna Erica Warkus leaves Nov. 2 for Indonesia on a Fulbright Scholarship.

The 2008 graduate will be studying echinoderms as biological indicator species of coral reef health.

Warkus received her bachelor of science degree in conservation biology and ecological sustainability from Arizona State University (ASU) in June 2012. She decided to apply for the Fulbright last year after spending a summer as an intern doing marine biology research in Indonesia.

Her internship was through the Diversity Project through UCLA and the National Science Foundation. Her 10 weeks abroad studying the most bio-diverse marine environment in the world spurred her to pursue the Fulbright.

According to the Fulbright Program’s website, “The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries… The Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and is sponsored by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).”

Each year, the program awards around 8,000 new grants to recipients from more than 155 countries worldwide.

Warkus’ Fulbright project is an independent research project, though she will be affiliated with Udayana University in Bali and the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center.

“Erica works really hard. She deserves it (the Fulbright Scholarship). Throughout high school and college, she applied herself. At ASU (Arizona State University), she took complete advantage of every opportunity. We’re real proud of her,” said Warkus’ mother, Dr. Lyn Lam.

Warkus cares deeply about the environment and the welfare of others. In 2011, she launched a campaign to raise $10K for, and traveled with Project Medishare of Miami, Florida, to help support Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port-au-Prince, a permanent trauma/critical care facility run by volunteers in Haiti.

After graduating from ASU, Warkus spent the summer in Los Angeles where she took two pre-med course requirements.

She has applied to University of Hawaii at Manoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, and if accepted, will begin in August 2013 after completing her Fulbright year.

Warkus encourages young people to go after what excites them and ignites their passion.

She said, “My mentor (ASU professor Dr. Sharon Hall) said I tend to chase shiny things, and that was something she encouraged. I didn’t get where I am today by following a path of things that I ‘should do,’ I got here by chasing the most interesting, impractical things that I could, and I think that is the best way to do things. I got to a place where I was happy by chasing the things that I loved, and along the way I discovered that nothing is impossible and that the big, bad world is much smaller than it first appeared.”

— Find out more:
www.parkerschool.net

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