Island Explorations

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Nikita Shiel-Rolle, A.B. ’10, may well have seawater running through her veins. The 23-year-old Irish-Bahamian is never far from her beloved ocean—whether at home in Nassau, visiting her grandparents in Andros, researching in the Exumas, or exploring in the Galapagos, where she spent her final semester as a University of Miami marine affairs and policy major.

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Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions.

An accomplished diver, underwater photographer, and videographer, Shiel-Rolle is a founder of the Danguillecourt Project, an environmental nonprofit dedicated to preservation of the Bahamian ecosystem, created in partnership with the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Hundreds of her photographs appear in the 450-page coffee-table book Islands of the Sun: A Tribute to the Northern Exuma Cays, Bahamas, which Danguillecourt published last year.

Lured to UM by the Rosenstiel School’s world-class marine science programs, Shiel-Rolle also dived into ample opportunities to diversify her fields of study, graduating last spring with minors in business and botany. For her junior and senior years, she received a full scholarship through the Organization of American States; during the summer in between, she accompanied UM faculty on a National Geographic expedition to the spectacular blue holes of the Bahamas.

Already the founding director of Young Bahamian Marine Scientists, an environmental sustainability mentoring and education initiative, Shiel-Rolle is dedicated to inspiring future marine conservationists and an active citizenry. Now back in the Caribbean to help protect her treasured islands, she says, “I am committed to creating positive environmental change within the Bahamas through education.”

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