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Announcement: Project Baseline to become its own organization

Project Baseline becomes its own non profit organization.

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After a year of discussion on the best path forward for Project Baseline (PB), Global Underwater Explorers’ (GUE) principal conservation initiative, the decision was made to establish PB as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Being an independent, exclusively conservation-focused organization will make it easier for Project Baseline to secure grants and other forms of financial sponsorship from charitable foundations and government entities. Being independent will also make it easier for PB to focus on establishing and furthering collaborations and more clearly demonstrate PB’s commitment to working with all divers and non-divers alike in the pursuit of aquatic conservation.

Photo by Kirill Egorov.

“I believe the big picture story here is that Project Baseline is and always will be GUE’s child,” Project Baseline Director Dr. Todd Kincaid said. “We spent 10 years under GUE’s wing, and it is time for us to leave home and make our own way in the world. Doing so is the best way Project Baseline can rise to meet the expectations and hopes we all have for this effort.”

GUE will always hold status as the founder of Project Baseline, and the two organizations will continue to work closely with one another. GUE will continue to sponsor Project Baseline efforts.

Photo courtesy of GUE

“Project Baseline will remain a sister organization, and we will endeavor to support them as much as possible within this future paradigm,” GUE President Jarrod Jablonski said. “Project Baseline will remain our signature conservation initiative.”

To support Project Baseline sign up for their newsletter to receive their announcements about projects and when they release their membership.

Header photo by JP Bresser.

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Interview with GUE about NextGen Scholarship

InDepth recently caught up with Ricki Orford, one of the organizers behind the new GUE scholarship, to see how the response to the new NextGen scholarship was.

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InDepth recently caught up with Ricki Orford, part of the team organizing the new GUE scholarship, to see how the response to the new NextGen scholarship was. 

So it’s been a few weeks since the GUE scholarship applications closed. How was the response?

The response was overwhelming.  We weren’t sure, given the tight timeline and the fact that it was brand new, that word would get around quickly enough, and that we would have this many applicants. During the planning stage, we even put in a contingency to extend the deadline in case we got fewer than 10 applicants. We ended up with almost 160 applicants from all over the world, and the quality of the applicants and the applications have been extremely high.  We are incredibly happy with the response.

Are you only shortlisting GUE members?

No. In fact, well over half of the applicants are not GUE members and have never had GUE training before, and members have no advantage in the application process over non-members.  We hope that will change in the future, and that many of the applicants, as they learn more, will consider joining GUE.

What are you looking for in a successful candidate?

We are looking for someone who wants to do more than just take the training to become a strong diver for personal development. We are looking for a candidate who either has demonstrated progress towards, or who can clearly articulate, a vision they have for making a real difference in either education, conservation, or exploration.

Were any applications incomplete, and if so what happens to them?

There are several applications that were incomplete.  Either they were not finalized by the applicant or they are missing an element.  Unfortunately, these applications will not be considered by GUE this time round, but the applicants will be welcome to try again next year.

What is the process for shortlisting the finalists?

The NextGen committee and the GUE BOD are reviewing every application, and each submission is being scored.  Only complete applications by eligible divers are considered. When reviewed, the applicant’s essay, references, and video are reviewed and scored separately.  Once scored, the top 10 applicants will be presented to the GUE Board of Directors with a recommendation for the winner. The Board of Directors will make the final decision on who the recipient will be.  We hope to announce the winner within the next 6 – 8 weeks.

Is there really only one scholarship recipient?

We were fortunate enough to get support from GUE, Halcyon, Divers Alert Network (DAN), and Gareth Lock’s, The Human Diver,  to help fund the non-instructional components of this first scholarship. To complement this, the response from GUE instructors offering to train the scholar at no charge was overwhelming.  

We would love to offer more than one scholarship, so if anyone is reading this and wishes to get involved in sponsoring a scholar (either as an individual or as a company), please do reach out to Kady Smith at ks@gue.com.  Meanwhile, given the incredible response from such committed and dedicated divers, GUE’s leadership team is reviewing options to find other ways to engage the most impressive applicants with GUE. 

How will the recipient be announced?

When a decision has been made, the successful candidate will be contacted.  Then once we have confirmed eligibility and determined that the applicant is still available to undertake the scholarship, we will contact each unsuccessful applicant by email.  Shortly after that, we will announce the NextGen Scholar on social media.

Anything else you would like to say to applicants waiting to hear the results?

Thank you for your patience, your dedication, and your time in putting together some truly impressive applications. Picking a winner from so many excellent and worthy applicants will be truly challenging. Good luck to all of you!

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