The Vineyard Gazette – Martha’s Vineyard News
With a focus on environmentalism, agriculture, and sustainability, the Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship announced seven fellowships this week, and in a first for the organization, two new fellowship positions aimed at encouraging renewable energy on the island.
Martha’s Vineyard Vision Scholarships began in 2006 with the idea of assisting Island students with scholarships and support for advanced educational opportunities. Since then, 137 scholarships have been awarded as the program has continued to adapt and expand to include students and members of the Island community pursuing higher education and in the workforce.
Speaking to the Gazette by phone on Thursday, program director Melissa Hackney said the mission has grown over the years to include fellows at all stages of life.
“Over time, the program has reached that mid-career and graduate community,” she said.
In addition to the seven fellowships announced this week, the organization is seeking two fellows to fill the positions of Energy Planner and Energy Transformation Coordinator. The Energy Planning Fellowship will be housed at the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and will work with local stakeholders to help determine the island’s energy future. The Energy Transformation Coordination Fellowship will be part of Vineyard Power and will help Islanders make sustainable energy choices in their homes, businesses and transportation.
“It’s an experience for us,” Ms Hackney said. “We’re trying to adapt and respond to needs that are clearly deep.”
Ms Hackney said the organization had contacted the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and Vineyard Power to ask what help they needed to achieve their goals. She said the two organizations developed the positions and are responsible for helping fulfill the fellowship roles. Both positions are expected to be self-sustaining after the two-year fellowship period.
“We really hope we will be able to find someone who fits the Vision Fellowship criteria,” Ms Hackney said. “These are certainly skilled roles that require talent and experience.”
The seven scholarships covered professions ranging from student to documentary filmmaker.
Peter Lambos, chief operating officer of the Seafood Collaborative at Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust, won a scholarship for his work with the Seafood Collaborative, a wholesale seafood market that opened in 2021 following of the closure of the Menemsha Fish House during the pandemic.
Mr. Lambos will work to ensure the stability of the seafood collaboration, a major lifeline for island fishers facing hardship throughout the pandemic. The collaboration is also working with Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group to restore shellfish resources on the island.
Five students – Regional High School students Keissila Cecilio and Nicholas Cranston, and former Regional High School graduates Augusta Dillon, Taynara Goncalves and Rodrigo Honorato – each received scholarships this year. A major theme is health.
“There is a strong contingent of healthcare workers,” Ms Hackney said. “We need these suppliers,” she added.
Ms. Cecilio plans to go to college in the fall with the goal of becoming a doctor. She is currently a nursing assistant at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and while in high school she earned her certified nursing assistant license, CPR certification, Alzheimer’s certification, and Covid-19 certification. She is also a student leader for the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and a senior facilitator.
Mr. Cranston will attend Tulane University in the fall to study marine biology. For four years he was Deputy Harbor Master in Tisbury. A student-athlete, Cranston also led a high school project that tested the validity of growing phytoplankton at home as a viable food source. The project was supervised by his biology professor AP (and Vision 2019
Fellow) Dr. Carrie Fyler. He will intern at Cottage City Oysters over the summer with the goal of finding a species of kelp that can be grown effectively in the summer.
Ms. Dillon is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing from Simmons University’s online program. For two years she worked as an outpatient pediatric nurse for Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Originally from the Island, she graduated from regional high school in 2010.
Ms. Gonclaves, originally from Brazil, will be pursuing a master’s degree in physician assistant studies. Its goal is to provide respectful and equitable health care to all patients, regardless of demographic group. She has been a medical assistant and health coach with Island Health Care since November 2020. She graduated from regional high school in 2016.
Mr. Honorato will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work. Originally from the island, he graduated from regional high school in 2012 and attended Dean College for two years before returning to the Vineyard to work in HVAC and carpentry for several years. Since late 2019, Mr. Honorato has worked for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services as a Family Support Worker.
A grant has been awarded to Island filmmaker Matthew Taylor, who will work on a series of short films documenting the agricultural process of Martha’s Vineyard. He will produce the films from footage shot at nine farms on the island from 2005 to 2007. Each film will feature a different piece of the island’s agricultural puzzle, with interviews and footage of the farming process.
“Each year we are always encouraged by the quality of the applicants,” Ms Hackney said. “So many that we obviously can’t choose them all.”
The organization is actively seeking fellows to fill the positions of Energy Planner and Energy Transformation Coordinator. For a full job description, email Melissa Hackney at [email protected]