Carolina Elizabeth Rojas Barahona (she/her)Research Coordinator, Roatan Marine Park
- 30 Under 30
Carol is a lover of the oceans, leading the first assisted sexual coral reproduction project in Honduras and educating local youth on the island of Roatan in marine conservation.
Honduras, Age 25
How are you using education to build more sustainable and equitable communities? Tell us about your EE work and impact.
Education is everything; from there, people begin to learn and to inquire. I train people and organizations in the assisted sexual reproduction of corals. I have been leading a coral spawning program for the Roatan Marine Park for almost a year, preparing future collaborators in the conservation of our reefs. I also lead a marine conservation program named the ¨Ocean Youth Program,¨ formed by local youth from the island of Roatan. This group will have the opportunity to be certified as open water and advanced open water. Most importantly, they will learn to value the marine ecosystem that belongs to them by learning restoration techniques for these environments. Sharing my marine conservation knowledge and training with others gives me great joy, because I know that I am preparing others to lead positive environmental activities. Observing how they lead these activities is very gratifying and gives me the understanding that I am headed down the right path in conservation.
Tell us about your journey to where you are today. What inspired you? What has your path been like?
To this day, I am happy to have followed my dream of dedicating myself to marine conservation. I studied for a degree in ecotourism. This career does not focus entirely on marine conservation, but that did not stop me from achieving my dream of working for the ocean. Dedicating myself to a completely different line of work has enchanted me, because people along the way have taught me everything I know and pushed me to grow as a professional. Roatan Marine Park (RMP) opened its doors to me from the moment I started my professional practice, offering me a job, providing me with diving courses, training me in coral restoration, and helping me grow in what I like to do. I enjoy sharing what I have learned with others; it is beautiful to see how one can influence others by sharing knowledge and observing the ways in which they can implement it into their conservation efforts. I grew up surrounded by rivers and the sea, and marine life inspired me to dedicate my life to its conservation and protection.
A Little More About Me
If you were to go back in time would you change anything?
Absolutely not, everything I have done so far as a professional has taken great effort. I would not change anything, because I know that what I have today came through honesty, responsibility, leadership, and passion, and it has been worth it. Along the way, I have learned from my trials, both the won ones and the lost ones. I also thank the people who have guided me to this great effort and who motivate me to continue doing what I currently do and love. So no, I would not change anything; everything that has happened to me has shaped me into the professional I am today, and I welcome what is to come in my life.
Who (or what) do you look up to as inspiration?
I look up to SECORE International; working with them through Roatan Marine Park has been amazing. I love their dedication to the conservation of our corals, which is admirable and innovative.
What are you happiest doing?
I´m really happy doing my dream job. I truly love that I'm helping out by taking care of my country's coral reef and at the same time teaching others how we can do it.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
To breathe underwater would make my job way easier!