Hi everyone! My name is Yolanda Barba and work as a process engineer in Alcoa-Inespal Casthouse. My experience started on January 13 when I received an email from my Alcoa Foundation Leader in Alcoa Aviles, Vanesa Fernández, encouraging people to participate in ecological research projects around the world with an international non-profit organization called Earthwatch. I had not heard about it before, but I thought I'd really like to become an Alcoa Earthwatch Fellow and sent my application for a 2009 Fellowship immediately.
Prior to Alcoa, I did a PhD in Business Management and I focused all my research on sustainable development, especially on the environmental impact of WEEE (Waste of Electrical and Electronic Appliances) so I would really want to participate in an expedition working on this topic, especially on climate change, a growing problem in the last few decades.
I was disappointed when I received the following notice: “You have been selected as an alternate for the 2009 Alcoa Earthwatch Fellowship program. In the event that an Earthwatch Fellow cannot accept the project to which he/she has been assigned, Earthwatch may call on our alternate pool to replace them."
At first I felt that I had no chance, but I did not give up hope! I was very much hoping to receive a new letter from Earthwatch, and on June 3, I received one of the most exciting letters of my life: “Congratulations! Earthwatch Award - The Mammals of Nova Scotia." I had been selected to participate in the upcoming Earthwatch-Alcoa expedition and had been selected as a 2009 Earthwatch Fellow! I was so excited that I called my parents, my boyfriend, my colleagues,…. It is not possible to describe my feelings at that moment. I had just one day to answer that offer, but it took me only one minute to reply. My dream was just beginning.