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HomeScuba DivingOur World-Underwater Scholarship Society Introduces 2019 Class Of Scholars And Interns

Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society Introduces 2019 Class Of Scholars And Interns

The Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society recently named three new Rolex Scholars and five new interns.

The new scholars and interns were presented on April 13th at the society’s 45th Annual Awards Ceremony, held at the New York Yacht Club in New York City.

Since 1974, the society has provided firsthand experiences in underwater-related disciplines to young people considering careers in the underwater world. For 45 years, founding partner Rolex has been the society’s partner in education, with the society annually selecting three Rolex Scholars — one each from North America, Europe, and Australasia.

Each scholar, working closely with leaders in marine-related fields, spends a year immersed in a wide variety of hands-on activities that further the scholar’s knowledge and experience of the underwater realm. The range of experiences may include active participation in field studies, underwater research, scientific expeditions, laboratory assignments, equipment testing and design, photographic instruction, and other specialized assignments. The Scholars receive funding for travel and living expenses during their Scholarship year.

The 2019 Rolex Scholars are:

    • North America — Neha Acharya-Patel
    • Europe — Kim Hildebrandt
    • Australasia — Joanna Smart

To learn more about each of them, go to

2019 OWUSS Rolex Scholars
2019 OWUSS Rolex Scholars (l to r) Kim Hildebrandt, Joanna Smart, Neha Acharya-Patel

In addition to the scholarship program, since 1995, the society has offered a variety of experience-based internships that are one to three months in length. Internship recipients receive an educational grant to help fund travel to and from the internship site, room and board, and a stipend to cover living expenses. The sponsor organizations that host the internships are leaders in their fields.

The 2019 Interns are:

    • Kyra Jean Cipolla — Dr. Lee H. Somers American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Scientific Diving Internship
    • Abigail Dias — Divers Alert Network (DAN) Diver’s Safety Education Internship
    • Benjamin Farmer — Dr. Jamie L. King Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) Marine Conservation Internship
    • Elizabeth Hasan — American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship
    • Michael Langhans — National Park Service Research Internship

To learn more about the interns, go to

2019 OWUSS Interns
2019 OWUSS Interns (l to r) Benjamin Farmer, Elizabeth Hasan, Kyra Jean Cipolla, Michael Langhans, Abigail Dias
John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.