2014 North American Rolex Scholar of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society
Ana Sofia Guerra, 23, was born in Monterrey, Mexico, an arid city far away from the ocean. When she was 9 years old she moved to Dallas, TX for a year and a half and later to São Paulo, Brazil. In Brazil she discovered her love for the marine world through Projeto Tamar, a local sea turtle conservation NGO. She persuaded her parents to let her take scuba lessons and she became a certified PADI Junior Open Water Diver at the age of twelve. Ana moved to Mexico City two years later and completed high school before moving to California to attend Stanford University.
Through Stanford, Ana obtained a Bachelor’s Degree with honors in Biology, specifically focused on ecology and evolution. During the summer of her sophomore year she worked as a field assistant on Palmyra Atoll in the Central Pacific through Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford’s Marine Biology Station in Monterey Bay. Snorkeling on Palmyra’s reefs convinced Ana to immediately change her previous plans to finish her degree on the Stanford campus and instead she spent her junior year in a study abroad program in Australia and taking classes at Hopkins Marine Station. During her time at Hopkins, she obtained her Advanced, Rescue, and AAUS Scientific Diver Certifications and spent as much time as possible exploring California’s kelp forests. Ana returned to Palmyra the summer of her junior year to conduct research on her honors thesis project focused on the feeding ecology of Bristle-thighed Curlews (Numenius tahitiensis), an endangered species of shorebird, on the lagoon flats of Palmyra Atoll. While on the island, Ana was offered a volunteer position for the following fall by Palmyra Atoll’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuge Manager. She immediately filed a leave of absence from school, jumping at the opportunity to spend two months working on the remote atoll eradicating an invasive corallimorph that is threatening to destroy Palmyra’s extensive reefs. Back in California, three months away from graduation in June of 2013, Ana was offered the opportunity to work as a Teaching Assistant for the Stanford@SEA course that was to start in the spring. Once again putting school on hold, she sailed with and mentored students for five weeks aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans, a 134-ft tall ship, from O’ahu to the Northern Line Islands. Upon return to land, Ana made her way down to Baja California Sur, Mexico to help on a project studying small-scale fisheries and had the opportunity to interview and work closely with fishermen in Mexico. Ana graduated from Stanford in December of 2013 after spending most of her final quarter working as a research technician at Hopkins Marine Station.
Ana is honored to be the 2014 North American Rolex Scholar of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society and she looks forward to exploring new areas in marine science as well as developing skills in communication and photography. She hopes to use what she learns to influence marine conservation practices, make the ocean more accessible to those who don’t have the opportunity to delve into it, and bridge the gap between the marine scientific community and the public.
Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Ana from her Scholarship Society family. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org