Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX grad earns €50,000 scholarship, will start international master’s program

May 17th, 2017
Cameron Walsh

As a second year StFX student, Cameron Walsh set a goal: he wanted to do an international master’s program post-graduation. Now, the 2016 graduate has made that ambition a reality. He’s been accepted into the prestigious Erasmus Mundus Master Programme (MEME) in Evolutionary Biology, and more so, he has received a two-year, nearly €50,000 scholarship.

Mr. Walsh, who graduated from StFX with a joint advanced major in biology and human kinetics, was one of only five awarded this scholarship available to Category A (non-EU) students. The scholarships are awarded based on final ranking of interviewed applicants.

“I’m looking forward to this more than anything. I’ll continue to do research in different marine ecosystems and in many different places and cultures,” says Mr. Walsh of Cornwall, PEI, on the two-year research-oriented master program he first learned about in his second year, and which he starts in August.

It is a joint project between four European universities—University of Groningen, Netherlands; Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Germany; Uppsala University, Sweden; University of Montpellier, France—and associated partner Harvard University.

Students start their studies with a semester in either the Netherlands or Sweden, and then move to either France or Germany for their second semester. In the third and fourth semesters, students can choose the partner university at which to carry out their individual research projects.

MEME offers students the opportunity to compose an individual study program in evolutionary biology by combining elements from the complementary programs at the partner universities. Upon completion, students are awarded multiple degrees from at least two partner universities.

Mr. Walsh, who already has international academic and research experience under his belt, says he is particularly excited about the diversity offered in the program and learning from many perspectives. Understanding science from a broad range of perspectives in turn will help him be better able to communicate science to a wider audience, he says.

Already, he has gained a lot of experience.

After graduation in 2016, Mr. Walsh spent six months in Cambodia as a research and academic development assistant at Prek Leap National College of Agriculture, as the successful recipient of an International Youth Internship offered through the Marine Institute, Memorial University of Newfoundland. During his internship, he also helped as a science writer and diver at Marine Conservation Cambodia.

While in Cambodia, he was able to publish research he completed before while in Bermuda, in the journal Ecology. He says publishing the paper, Cleaning service gaps in Bermuda, North Atlantic, helped him a lot, particularly in his intensive interview process with MEME, which included a scientific presentation and a general interview.

From June to August 2016, he worked on a three-month research project, supervised by Dr. Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley, as the recipient of a Canadian Associates of BIOS Research Internship Scholarship at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS).

It was his second time at the facility. He also received a Canadian Associates of BIOS Summer Course Scholarship and completed the Ecology and Evolution of Reef Fishes course at BIOS in July 2015. Before this experience, he became certified to scuba dive, necessary for all the research conducted.

“I wouldn’t have these experiences without StFX,” says Mr. Walsh, noting he learned about both the Bermuda and Cambodia opportunities through the biology department email list.

He says StFX faculty, and in particular biology professors Dr. Barry Taylor and Dr. Russell Wyeth, have been instrumental in helping him seek out opportunities.

He took courses from both faculty members and was involved in freshwater ecology research with Dr. Taylor and ethology research with Dr. Wyeth. He also worked as a biology lab demonstrator.

At StFX, he says professors know their students and can speak to their experiences and interests, not only helping them find opportunities but also in writing detailed reference letters.

“I really developed a solid base here at StFX to do successful research.” 

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