After a one-year pilot program to demonstrate viability, Jon Lewis (Department of Geoscience) and Sharon Cooper (Columbia University) partnered once again in their proposal to continue the STEM Student Experience Aboard Ships project. They aim to take as many as five cohorts of undergraduates each year on research ships as they make short transits between port calls.
The ships are operated by numerous US universities under the NSF-funded University National Oceanographic Laboratories System. The funding for STEMSEAS comes from the U.S. National Science Foundation in the total amount of $726,000.
The concept for STEMSEAS is quite simple; take advantage of unused berths on UNOLS ships during transits between expeditions (when the ship time is already paid for) to give undergraduate students high-impact and immersive STEM experiences. In particular, the program is aimed at increasing diversity in the geosciences, and helping students at critical junctures in their studies to find success in geosciences (e.g., from undeclared major to STEM major, from two-year college to four-year college, or from undergraduate student to the workforce or graduate school).
Interest in the pilot program was very strong, requiring Lewis and Cooper to tap into their extensive network of colleagues around the country to help review approximately 875 applications for 30 spaces. The STEMSEAS project is open to students from across the U.S.
To see what STEMSEAS did last year, check out their many blog posts, the program’s Facebook page, and the official program website. Watch these spaces for information on how to apply in 2017 and beyond.
Above: Group photo from August 2016 STEMSEAS expedition. Jon Lewis is on the far right.