Pioneering Blue Whale Research and breaking boundaries...
Q/ How did you get into marine biology?
A/ My mom’s convinced the journey started when I was 2 weeks old and she, along with my dad and brother took me to Hikkaduwa to head out on a glass bottom boat. Needless to say, I have absolutely no recollection of this but what I do remember is flipping through National Geographic magazines at the age of 6 and lying under the blue whale skeleton in the Colombo museum, being mad curious about what this creature was.
Q/ How has it been bringing back all your knowledge to Sri Lanka?
A/ Being a woman is fantastic but in a world built for men by men, we are always going to have to work a little extra to prove ourselves. That’s not necessarily fair but that’s the way the system works so what we need to do as women is work hard enough so that our work speaks for itself. Now, I think in a lot of people’s eyes I’ve become gender neutral. They don’t care what gender I am because the work I’m doing is so important, it speaks for itself and it has brought recognition to this country.
You don’t have to be a man to do what I do. We live in a world where everything is supposed to fit in a box. I don’t fit any box and I love it. It’s the perfect way to live. People have no expectations because they don’t know what to expect!
Q/ Who Is Your Role Model?
A/ My mom is the most remarkable human being I know. When I was 6-years-old she sat me down and said to me, “Asha, if we can educate only one child, it’ll be you. Your brother is a boy. He can become a garbage collector and he’ll still find his way. It doesn’t matter in the end. But you, I need you to stand on your own feet. I want to make sure you’re independent, I want you to succeed.” At 6 I didn’t know what on earth she was on about. Perhaps it was always in my subconscious and that’s probably what ultimately led me to become this empowered, independent female today.
Grab your copy of our September 2018 issue to find out more about Dr. Asha De Vos’ inspiring journey!
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