Organization of American States Scholar Desmond Campbell is Advancing Education in Jamaica

Desmond Campbell is a former OAS scholar, and a graduate of Hamline University where he earned a master’s degree in environmental studies. Currently, Campbell works as a professor at Moneague College in Moneague, Jamaica, and has implemented many educational projects there.

National Science Fair in Jamaica; Moneague College placed second in tertiary category

Desmond Campbell, a former Organization of American Studies (OAS) scholar, has always been the type of person to seek out leadership roles, never settling to idle in the background. While pursuing a Master of Arts Degree in Natural Science and Environmental Educations from Hamline University, Campbell played an active role in his campus community.

“I was the first secretary of the newly formed Hamline International Graduate Student Association (HIGSA) and pulled off success after seventeen years of failed attempts by other students,” Campbell shares.

In addition, Campbell participated as the only student in a Faculty Diversity Reading Circle to assist in the electing the first female president in Hamline University’s history, an accomplishment he is very proud of.

Since graduating, Campbell continues to make an impact in his home country of Jamaica in whatever way he can. Currently, Campbell serves as a professor of environmental science at Moneague College. There, he initiated two different projects: the Environmental Studies Program, a program that, after its establishment, allowed students be certified at both the Associate of Sciences and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, and heads the Food Security Project.

Despite the tremendous progress Campbell has created at Moneague, the ambitious leader strove to accomplish more beyond the college’s walls.
“Annually I lead explorative, educational, professional development workshops,” Campbell explains. The workshops take teachers from Jamaica to join others in the United States for an annual Rivers Institute interactive workshop designed to increase teachers’ knowledge in water related content, STEM investigational skills, and literacy skills.

Desmond Campbell on campus at Hamline University
Desmond Campbell on campus at Hamline University

To further his mission of enhancing the quality of education, Campbell has implemented a teachers exchange program and a student exchange program between institutions in the United States, Europe, and Jamaica.

All of this work has led to Campbell’s recognition as Moneague’s 2011 Outstanding Faculty Award, and the 2011 National Award for “Champion Environmental Teacher” by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET). He is currently the North central Chairman of the Association of Science Teachers of Jamaica (ASTJ); co-chairs the St Ann Hi-Tech farmers Group and now serve Moneague College as Principal Lecturer and Head of Department.
As for the future, Campbell has no plans of slowing down. When asked what hopes to accomplish next in his professional and academic career, Campbell explains he plans to implement more programs especially those with international focus and to pursue post graduate studies applicable to national and international development and sustainability.

If his past perseverance is any indication, he is capable of achieving whatever goals he sets for himself.

Organization of American States Scholar Michelle Wauchope is Making our Water Safer

Michelle Wauchope-Thompson is an Organization of American States Scholar from Jamaica who is pursuing a PhD through the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan in Western Canada.

During her childhood, Michelle Wauchope-Thompson dreamed of making a difference and helping people in the medical profession. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology at the University of West Indies, Mona and then going on to obtain a nursing diploma, anyone would have said she was well on her way. However, it was at this very moment that Michelle had an important realization: she did not want to continue in nursing but was instead interested in environmental sustainability. This understanding would start her on an educational path that would eventually land her almost 3000 miles away from her native Jamaica at the University of Saskatchewan in Western Canada.

Michelle Wauchope working in a cold room in the laboratory at University of Saskatchewan.

Currently, Michelle is completing her PhD in Environment and Sustainability and is a student member of the Global Institute for Water Security, an interdisciplinary research center that focuses on sustainable use of the world’s water resources and protection against natural hazards such as flood and drought. Water security is a key issue for global efforts towards environmental sustainability and ensuring “availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” is among the UN’s sustainable development goals for 2030. Specifically, Michelle’s current research examines water quality, as well the rate of release of certain nutrients (such as phosphorus) in lakes, ponds and river systems to better understand seasonal and climate changes.

Michelle had always been interested in environmental sustainability, and accepted a job offer as a Quality Assurance Technician while studying her Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Mandeville, Jamaica that narrowed her focus to issues of water security. For the first time, she was exposed to the areas of water chemistry, soil chemistry, waste water management and potable water management. This experience, combined with her studies, support from her family and mentors and a childhood spent outdoors in an island nation, made her surer than ever that she wanted to purse environmental sustainability with a focus on water security.

Michelle wanted to continue her studies at the PhD level but knew that studying abroad on her own would be financially out of reach. Luckily, Michelle’s advisor at NCU suggested she apply to the Organization of American States Scholarship which was awarded to pursue a PhD at the University of Saskatchewan. Michelle still has several years of study and research ahead of her but she is already planning ways she can positively impact her home country. She hopes to focus on natural resource management when she returns in order to help Jamaica reach its goals as outlined in the Vision 2030 National Development Plan.

For individuals who are considering applying to a scholarship abroad as she did, Michelle offers sage advice and encouragement: “Go for it! Do not think you are not worthy of applying or cannot get a scholarship, you won’t know unless you try.”