Dahlia worked as the Saba Bank Officer for the Saba Conservation Foundation.
Dahlia Hassell returned to Saba after graduating as a biologist with ambitions to start a science college for young adults. “I was born in 1992 in Columbia and grew up on Saba. I’m half Colombian and half Saban as my mother was Colombian. Because of this, I speak both English and Spanish fluently,” Dahlia explains.
When she was 12 years old, she started working in the store at Sea Saba in Windwardside and went to Sea Scouts where she met Lynn Costenaro and Sue Hurrell. This work environment gave her a first glimpse on marine biology, an interest which would grow over the years. It was during this time that she found out that she would never be able to dive herself because of her asthma. She was very disappointed.
In high school, she still volunteered at the marine park. At age 16, she went to Mississippi (USA) where she started her study in biology at Blue Mountain College with the initial plan to become a teacher after graduating. “I met with a professor called Jim Andre, who would turn out to be a big influence and role model for me,” says Dahlia. Besides studying and taking drama classes, she frequently volunteered at the homeless ministry in Memphis. The college board expressed concern because of the dangerous environment she was putting herself in.
Luckily, she did make it back to Saba in one piece and immediately jumped in the Sea & Learn program together with two other interns. Dahlia: “My goal in life is to have the information taught at Sea & Learn available on Saba every day. I would like to start a science college in the near future, a place where (young) people from all over the world can come and learn about the environment – marine and terrestrial in short – and practical workshops.” She aims mostly at colleges all over the world who would give extra credit to their students when applying for these workshops. Because of the unique flora and fauna Saba offers, there would be no better place on earth to start this project.