Science degrees matter — UWI graduateTuesday, January 31, 2017
BY KIMONE FRANCIS Observer staff reporter email@example.com
UNIVERSITY of the West Indies (The UWI) graduate Taishan McLean is contending that science degrees are just as relevant in Jamaica as arts and social science degrees.
McLean, who is the holder of a marine biology degree, said it has made her more than marketable in the island, despite popular belief that science degrees are a waste of money.
She now specialises in marine and freshwater biology.
"It’s not foolishness you know, because when you have the interest and passion for something that you do, the drive is not necessarily about what you are going to make. By the way, marine biologists make a lot of money," the 27-year-old ALGIX fish farm employee told the Jamaica Observer during a recent visit to St Elizabeth, where she is based.
McLean described people who criticise science degrees as "mundane" and argued that they are of that view because they don’t understand the sciences.
"If you take a look at it, 70 per cent of what we are living on is water. Most of the jobs that are overseas deal with water; those are the people who get most of the money. A lot of things come with the degree.
"In and of itself you can’t judge it unless you know about it. And I love what I do because to me it’s having fun; you’re not just working," McLean continued.
She noted that her personal interest in freshwater biology made it easy for her to make the transition from a student to a Basa production supervisor, a position she has held for a year at ALGIX.
The Basa is the Pangasius species of freshwater fish that is now being produced in Jamaica, and is being trumpeted as the natural successor to the tried and tested Tilapia.
McLean told the Observer that she started working at the fish farm because of the research operators were carrying out at the facility, which included developing different feed types for the fish, its growth for market size, and the appropriate feed.
"There were challenges, of course, because if you’re researching and the results are not what you want you have to go back into the experiment and do it again and see how best you can make the results suit what you want them to be.
"I help to research the different feed that we could give the fry in the hatchery for the production ponds and nursery ponds, as well as I helped train staff to do different assignments.
"So people who bash the sciences really are clueless about the possibilities they offer," she said.