Erin McFadden

Scholar Date: 
2011 to 2012

Erin McFadden, 21, was born and raised in the Scottish coastal town of Dunbar and has always found the sea a source of fascination and contentment. Currently a final year undergraduate Marine Biology student at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, Erin first started to pursue the field of Marine Biology during high school after family caravan holidays spent around the British coastline opened her eyes to the wonderment of the sea. Realising the importance of diving to her chosen career path Erin completed her PADI Open Water course in the chilly North Sea at the age of 17 and less than a year later had embarked on a marine conservation expedition to the Bahamas. During the course of the expedition Erin was invited to stay on camp as a trainee and gained her PADI Divemaster qualification. Erin believes these 5 months were inspirational – unearthing her true passion for diving and the underwater world. Achieving a life long dream Erin subsequently enrolled at the University of St Andrews. Having gained knowledge in a wide array of biology disciplines during her four year course Erin’s focus on Marine Biology and diving has never wavered with classes in oceanography and the human physiology of diving being of particular enjoyment. Erin enjoys her busy semesters and is a prominent member of the University field hockey team, with sport and exercise being another of her passions. Erin’s achievements in sport and exercise range from being a swimming club champion in her hometown for four years; captain of her school hockey team; and running the Edinburgh half marathon last year. Erin has used every summer break during university to gain more diving experience and has been employed as a Divemaster – a role she finds extremely satisfying – in both Cyprus and Zanzibar. In addition, Erin has completed internships in South Africa and Mozambique where she was involved in pioneering manta ray research and began to appreciate the art of underwater photography. Erin delights in living and working with people from all over the World and her travels to date have made her extremely aware of the global importance of the ocean and how the livelihoods of so many depend on a healthy ocean. Erin’s studies and dive experiences have allowed her to appreciate the delicate intricacy of the sea and the need for globally effective and sustainable conservation and resource management measures to be developed here and now. She believes educating the wider dive community, and ultimately the wider world, in order to increase social pressure will be fundamental if effective measures are to be accepted and introduced by world governments. Erin is elated and honoured to be named European Rolex Scholar for 2011. She views the prospect of a year spent getting to the heart of the diving and underwater world and acquiring skills in an array of underwater disciplines as an unparalleled and extremely prodigious opportunity. “It is a true privilege to be representing both the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society and Rolex and one for which I will be eternally grateful.”