It’s not a finish line, it never will be: Asha de Vos
By The Morning Brunch Desk
Sri Lankan marine biologist and Oceanswell Founder Asha de Vos over the weekend (30 October) became one of the five scientists from across the world to be awarded a Maxwell/Hanrahan Award in Field Biology.
De Vos shared on instagram: “I’m humbled to share that I have been awarded a Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation Award in Field Biology! The award recognises my years of work with the Sri Lankan blue whales and makes it possible for me to focus time on exploring and learning – and sharing what I uncover.”
She further penned that she did not know this award existed, noting: “So when I got the call, I was absolutely floored. The selection panel is confidential, so I will never know whose belief in me propelled me to this space, but I will be forever grateful. It just goes to show that you never know who is watching, so you always just have to do your best work and keep going.”
De Vos joins four others – namely biological oceanographer Colleen Durkin, population biologist Alejandro Pietrek, marine ecologist and conservation biologist Douglas Rasher, and scientist Mrinalini Watsa – in the recognition.
The Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation was started in 2018 to support individual scientists, teachers, conservationists, and creators whose diverse perspectives enable people to discover new things about ourselves and our world. The Maxwell/Hanrahan Awards in Field Biology gives winners the support they need to explore and test what they learn. The award supports individual scientists, elevates their diverse perspectives, and enables them to commit time to the observation and experimentation that help us better understand ourselves and the world around us.
A marathon and not a sprint
Speaking to The Morning Brunch right after the news broke, de Vos shared that her work is “a long marathon”. She added that recognitions such as these not only fuel her drive to keep going, but also reinforce the feeling that she’s doing something right and that it is making a difference.
“It’s not a finish line, it never will be…because these journeys are long, especially in conservation.”
Commenting on the award and what followed, de Vos said she’s “overwhelmed” by the good wishes and kind words she’s been receiving on her social media and her emails. “I’m flooded!” The messages, she said, are from some whom she knows and many she doesn’t know – people who’ve drawn inspiration for themselves or are just there to celebrate what she’s achieved.
“With the kind of work I do (conservation), we need to build our army and if we can’t build our army, we’re not going to be successful,” she said, adding that this award and the reaction it garnered from people who are celebrating it makes a big difference. “I feel the love and support I’ve got through my journey and this recognition is also my way of saying thank you to everyone who’s put their faith in me.”
Photo © Suada Azmy
Read more from our chat with Asha de Vos on Sunday, 8 November in The Sunday Morning Brunch section.