Spreading Curiosity about Ocean Science with Summer Visitors

Summertime brings students from all over the country to Woods Hole, Massachusetts to learn about ocean science. June and July 2023 were particularly busy, with the Coastal and Global Scale Nodes (CGSN) division of the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) hosting four different student groups. CGSN offers student tours of OOI facilities and the chance to talk directly with an ocean scientist or engineer.  They engage with students this way in the hope of increasing student interest in marine science and possibly encouraging them to pursue an ocean-related career.  During the tours and presentations, students learn about the moorings and vehicles OOI deploys throughout the year and the dissemination of ocean data collected. These hands-on experiences give student visitors the opportunity to see the full scale and complexity of OOI operations.

UMass-Dartmouth REU Students Visit

On June 26, 12 community college engineering student and faculty from a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth (UMass-Dartmouth) visited OOI. CGSN staff provided a tour of their operations, including ocean-observing equipment stored outdoors because of its size.

[media-caption path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Sheri-with-REUs.jpg" link="#"]CGSN team members, Dr. Sheri White (blue jeans to right) and Irene Duran (next to Dr. White) gave a tour to UMass-Dartmouth REU students. Photo by: Kama Theiler © WHOI.[/media-caption] [media-caption path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Colin-Dobson-with-REU.jpg" link="#"]A UMass-Dartmouth REU student asks CGSN glider expert Colin Dobson a question regarding the gliders he works on.  Photo by: Kama Theiler © WHOI.[/media-caption]

PEP Students Visit

In early July, the CGSN team gave a presentation to Woods Hole Partnership Education Program (PEP) participants, who spend 10-weeks in Woods Hole at WHOI, the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woodwell Climate Research Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Sea Education Association, or the United States Geological Survey’s Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center.  The PEP program is designed primarily for college juniors and seniors from underrepresented groups in marine and ocean sciences who want to spend a summer gaining practical experience in marine and environmental science.

Summer 2023 is the 15th summer of the PEP program in Woods Hole. Many former PEP students have returned to Woods Hole and WHOI both as students and professionals (including CGSN’s Irene Duran). Benjamin Harden, PEP professor, stated that OOI’s community outreach is a “great way for these students to hear about the frontiers of oceanography and really helped many of them frame possible careers in the field.”

Black Girls Dive Foundation Visit

July 25th, CGSN’s Electrical Team provided a workshop to the Black Girls Dive Foundation (BGDF)  program participants. BGDF provides the space and opportunity to empower young black women to explore their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) identity through marine science and conservation, and SCUBA diving. While visiting OOI, the BGDF students learned about pH and concerns about increasing ocean acidification. The students collected local sea water and with the help of the CGSN Instrument Team determined its pH with a probe they calibrated using a microcontroller.

[media-caption path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/BGDF-with-AUV.jpg" link="#"]During their visit to WHOI, BGDF students had the opportunity to get up close to check out an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).  Photo by: Jayne Doucette © WHOI.[/media-caption] [media-caption path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Jennifer-with-BGDF.jpg" link="#"]CGSN Instrument Lead Jennifer Batryn (far left) shows how she checks OOI instruments operations on her laptop to one of the BGDF visitors. Photo by: Jayne Doucette © WHOI.[/media-caption]

SEA Participants Visit

Also in late July a group of students participating in the Sea Education Association’s (SEA’s) High School program visited OOI’s Facility LOSOS on WHOI’s Quissett Campus.  This is a study abroad program in Woods Hole for undergraduate, gap year, and high school students, that combines studies in ocean science with at-sea experiences.  The students spent an afternoon learning about OOI, its operations, how data are collected and disbursed, and what scientists are learning from OOI data.

[media-caption path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Dee-and-Jon-With-SEA-students-2.jpg" link="#"]CGSN team members Dee Emrich (standing left) and John Lund explained OOI operations to high school students from the Sea Education Program.   Photo by: Dr. Sheri White © WHOI.[/media-caption] [media-caption path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Irene-with-SEA-students.jpg" link="#"]CGSN Engineer Irene Duran (maroon top in center) showed mooring components to high school students from the Sea Education Program. Photo by: Paul Whelan © WHOI.[/media-caption] Read More