(STEM Student Experiences Aboard Ships) is an NSF-Funded pilot project aimed at
improving retention, enhancing outcomes, and increasing diversity and overall
numbers in geoscience fields by providing undergraduate students transformative
experiences at sea.
Principal Investigator (PI) Jon Lewis (Geoscience) and co-PI Sharon Cooper
(Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory) anticipated great interest among
undergraduate students, but they were stunned when over 800 applications
flooded in. Successfully poring through this many applications required
contributions from a huge number of enthusiastic colleagues around the country.
Without their help, the PIs would have been sunk. The first transit from San
Diego to Honolulu aboard the R/V Oceanus, operated by Oregon State University,
made landfall in Hawaii on May 19 with a cohort of happy students from all over
The mentors for the transit were Kristen St. John of James Madison
University and Mark Leckie and one of his PhD students, Raquel Bryant
(front and center in photo with all of the student participants), of the University of Massachusetts–Amherst.
The next transit will be from Morehead City, N.C. to Gulfport, Miss. starting July
15 on the R/V Endeavor, operated by the University of Rhode Island. Then, on August 16,
the last planned transit for the pilot project will set out on the University
of Alaska at Fairbanks’ R/V Sikuliaq from Seattle, Wash. heading for Nome, Alas. with
PI Lewis aboard. The PIs and many contributing partners are very keen to
continue the program, so by all means stay tuned via their blog or Facebook page.