"I took part in the UAUCU research collaboration program. My passion lies with nature and for that reason I decided to study and graduate in Earth Sciences. For my thesis, “The Assessment of Aruba’s Shoreline Pollution: A Comparison between the South Coast and the North Coast”, I decided to focus on an ongoing modern issue, plastic pollution in the marine environment, in particular shoreline pollution. It was a strong confrontation with the “dark side” of modern consumerist society, which is resulting in the accumulation of trash in otherwise pristine natural environments. At the same time, it was also a powerful, enlightening experience that showed the importance of proactive behaviour. It made me realize that actively promoting nature conservation and the spread of environmental awareness is the path that I want to follow in my future career. The people of Aruba and the island itself were absolutely wonderful and highly motivated to change the current situation, at least what is in their power. Plastic pollution is as much a local issue as a global one. They showed me great support, from physically joining in the research efforts, to giving permission to do research in their environment, to creating opportunities, for me and my fellow researchers, to publicly talk about our research in order to make to spread awareness. It is no joke to set up your own research, but if you are willing to work hard, have an open mind and heart, to understand and become part of their culture and present issues, Aruba is a place that will warmly welcome you. It is an small island paradise, which I was lucky enough to call home for a while. Overall, my time there was a lifetime learning experience and I vigorously recommend it to everyone."

-Tobia Scisciolo, Class of 2015