COVID-19 Effects on the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society®

Due to the unprecedented circumstances of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society will defer the 2020 Rolex Scholarships and the 2020 Internships until Summer 2021. Additionally, the Society’s annual Symposium and Rolex Awards Ceremony, scheduled for June 6, 2020, in New York City, will be moving to an online, virtual event.

The decision to postpone was not easy, especially having just recently selected three new Rolex Scholars and five new Interns. However, the Board of Directors of the Society recognizes the seriousness and continually evolving nature of the pandemic; therefore, the Board decided it would be irresponsible and potentially unsafe to send Scholars and Interns out into the world at this time. All have agreed to defer appointment until 2021, and a formal announcement of the 2020 Scholars and Interns will be released soon.

Each year, the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society hosts an annual weekend to honor and celebrate the Society’s returning Scholars and Interns, as well as to appoint new Scholars and Interns for the upcoming year. This year, the annual weekend was moved to June to coincide with World Oceans Week.

Given the current travel and stay-at-home restrictions, as well as social distancing guidelines, the Society must cancel this year’s in-person events. In its place, we will hold an online, virtual event, or possibly multiple events. Exact details are still in development, but we still hope to have presentations from the returning Scholars and Interns as well as the world premieres of the films from the 2019 Rolex Scholars.

It is always a great pleasure to bring the Society ‘family’ together each year in New York to renew friendships, celebrate our Interns and Rolex Scholars, and acknowledge the efforts of our volunteers. We, as a Board, are disappointed that we cannot meet in-person this year. However, though we may not be able to gather together, we can assemble apart and present an opportunity to allow people to join in from around the world.

It is more important than ever that we celebrate success while we recognize the challenging times we are all facing.

I look forward to celebrating with you all soon.

Steve Barnett
1990 Rolex Scholar


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