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Esi Bossman

2023 Intern

Esi Bossman can easily get lost in the microcosmos staring at insects, but she’s just as likely to be found in a chair surrounded by colourful strands of wool as she crochets her latest blanket. It is her love of the environment and ecosystems, however, that is shaping her career. She completed her Master of Science degree at Wits University and was selected for a WWF internship at the Kruger National Park with South African National Parks (SANParks).

Esi will be working as a freshwater ecologist and will focus on biomonitoring for the aquatic ecosystems. She will also assist with research, stakeholder engagement and scientific writing.

What are you passionate about?

I have a deep passion for environmental research and scientific communication, with a specific interest in freshwater ecology, entomology and conservation. Outside of academia I am an iNaturalist enthusiast, travelling far and wide to collect observations for the citizen science platform.

What inspired your choice of study?

The environment has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. In university I took a variety of environmental courses and thoroughly enjoyed studies in Aquatic Ecology and the various field trips offered during my undergraduate years. I was fortunate enough to pursue postgraduate work and while learning about insects, different biomonitoring techniques and their uses, I fell in love with Entomology and Freshwater Studies and have not looked back since.

What excites you about your internship?

I am excited about the opportunity to live, work and conduct research in the Kruger National Park. I am eager to be upskilled in freshwater biomonitoring, analyses and stakeholder engagement. I am also looking forward to improving my understanding of Savanna ecosystems and how to manage the protection of these areas. I am living on my own for the first time (and in the bush) and am excited to become a better young scientist and a more self-aware person.

What are your expectations of this internship?

This is my first opportunity to apply my research ideas in the field and gain a holistic understanding of daily work-life in the freshwater ecology field. I look forward to writing reports on the data I collect and eventually publishing that work for the Kruger National Park.

What contribution do you hope to make towards a future in which people and nature thrive?

I am passionate about interdisciplinary research that highlights the importance of our connectedness with the environment and the role we play as ecosystem engineers in this changing world. I want to be a part of initiatives that deliver solutions for scientists and local communities alike. I want to harness information from local communities and give them tools and a voice through education on how they can be part of the solutions to the many environmental issues we face.

Who inspires you most and why?

I am inspired by female scientists who are experts in their field or organisation and are passionate about the work they do. As a young black woman in science, this motivates me to
contribute to the environmental field through research and to overcome the numerous challenges we face in society and the workplace.

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