Barrise Griffin’s pursuit of a Master’s degree in disasters, adaptation and development management will pay off dividends for The Bahamas as she will be able to develop strategies that will help improve crisis response to natural disasters throughout the Caribbean, and to help the private sector in preparing to face natural, economic and other disasters. In the wake of the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Dorian on Abaco and Grand Bahama, Griffin would be invaluable. Her goal is to develop strategies that will improve crisis response throughout The Bahamas and the Caribbean, helping to combat natural disasters and protect the islands.
“The Bahamas is undergoing a time of unprecedented change. We are now facing an era of the long-term social, economic and environmental impact of climate change. The problem with this unfamiliarity is that we have no choice but to now find effective strategies to be prepared for these challenges – and that starts with effective disaster management planning and execution,” said Griffin. “The devastation on Abaco and Grand Bahama emphasize this urgent necessity.”
Her disaster, adaptation and development course explores human vulnerability, not just in relation to natural hazards, but to technological and climate change hazards as well.
“My expectations for the future are to use my acquired skills in disasters and adaptation and apply them to creating and implementing effective responsive recovery and preventative efforts, not just in physical disasters, but in economic, health and cybersecurity as well.”
She hopes that one day The Bahamas will become a center of excellence for all concerned with disasters and emergencies in various industries and sectors.
“Looking towards the future, I feel that The Bahamas has a lot to offer in this field,” she said.
Griffin, 24, has commenced studies at King’s College, University of London, United Kingdom, having been awarded the Butterfield Post-Graduate Scholarship which is available to students in all 10 Butterfield jurisdictions globally who are studying disciplines related to the preservation and improvement of island environments at accredited institutions. The award has an annual value of $25,000 tenable for up to four years.
The scholarship aligns with her interests and future goals.
“Butterfield is committed to improving and protecting our natural environment. The Butterfield Post-Graduate Scholarship is intended to promote the pursuit of higher education in a field of study related to the protection and improvement of our island environments. In my pursuit of further studies, it is my goal to help our island nation grapple with our environmental vulnerabilities and prepare for the future. This scholarship alleviates some of my financial burdens while allowing me to study at a world-renowned university.”
The former Saint Augustine’s College student is the first Bahamian to receive the award. She said she felt humbled to be awarded the scholarship.
“Hundreds of students apply each year – to learn that I am the first Bahamian to ever receive the scholarship was humbling. It was a reminder to me that my chosen course of study is an important one and that my achievements were being recognized by a giant of a company.”
Each year, Butterfield selects scholarship recipients from among hundreds of deserving applicants. Criteria used in selecting scholarship recipients include academic achievement, financial need, character, leadership qualities, civic attainment and involvement and achievements in non-curricular activities including the arts and sports.
McKeisha Smith, chairman of Butterfield’s Scholarship Committee, said Butterfield attracted a large pool of talented, deserving young candidates for this year’s scholarships. She said Griffin and the other scholarship recipients demonstrated an unwavering passion for their chosen fields of study, exceptional leadership abilities and a commitment to make a positive impact on their communities. She said Butterfield was delighted to assist the scholarship recipients in their pursuit of higher education and excited to follow their career progress.
Griffin is a graduate of St. Lawrence University in New York where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s in international economics and languages.
After obtaining her undergraduate degree, she took time out to pursue one of her passions – languages, studying Spanish and Italian. Within months of graduating, she moved to China to study Mandarin and travel Asia. While in China, she also worked at Hengyang Normal University, where she taught English to university students. She described it as a year of reflection, work and exploration.