September 2020 
A newsletter from Sea Education Association for alumni, parents & friends.

Good News!

Campus Reopens

After a summer of remote online programs, Sea Education Association welcomed C-294, Ocean Exploration students back to our Woods Hole campus on August 31st!
They’ll be joined in Woods Hole on September 21st by students enrolled in Atlantic Odyssey, a non-credit program designed for gap students interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the marine environment. Their sea component aboard SSV Corwith Cramer begins October 10th, sailing from Woods Hole to Key West, arriving November 18th. 

That’s followed by Caribbean Reef Expedition, which begins with online instruction on October 26th followed by a shore component at the Brinton Environmental Center on Summerland Key starting November 10th. Students go to sea November 23rd to December 23rd to explore the world’s third largest barrier reef system.

The Woods Hole campus reopening is in accordance with strict health protocols and is in compliance with the Higher Education Control Plan of the Commonwealth’s Reopening Plan. SEA Semester students arriving on campus will live in single rooms and are required to have tested negative to COVID-19 prior to arrival, and will continue to be tested while they remain in Woods Hole. In addition to wearing masks, frequent handwashing, sanitizing, and following other revised campus protocols, students will observe strict social distancing and isolation for two weeks upon arrival in order to form a safe “bubble” of program cohorts. Student engagement with the Woods Hole community will be limited to socially distanced and masked use of the Shining Sea Bikeway and selected beaches. SEA is focused on building a self-sufficient, happy community of students during their time here on shore.


The SSV Corwith Cramer departed Woods Hole for Rockland, Maine on August 20th, and went into the shipyard on August 24th for preventative maintenance under the supervision of Captain Greg Wisener.  The 2020 Rockland shipyard work is made possible by a gift from a thoughtful and generous donor.
We’ve got a fantastic crew on board and this year’s tank top renewal project helps ensure we stay ahead of the maintenance curve,” explained Director of Marine Operations Tom Sullivan.
Cramer will return to Woods Hole at the end of September, in time for Class C-294’s trip south.
Meanwhile, the SSV Robert C. Seamans is still alongside at the San Diego Maritime Museum under the care of ship keepers and is of great interest to passerby!
Photo of the Cramer hauled out courtesy of Eric Weisgerber.


Jessica McWade, a long-time Trustee and Overseer, was recently elected as SEA's new Board Chair.  With a distinguished professional experience in leadership, strategic planning and team development (and more!), we look forward to welcoming her leadership.
We asked her to share why she continues to support SEA.
“It’s a distinct privilege serving as SEA’s new Board Chair. I look forward to working with President Peg Brandon, new Vice Chairman Jeremy Salesin, W-75, and all our stakeholders to advance SEA’s mission to develop ocean scholars, stewards, and leaders. We’re focused in the days ahead on navigating through this pandemic, continuing to deliver high-quality programs, inspiring our donors, and constantly reimagining our future.
 SEA contributes mightily to the betterment of our world, from our highly regarded scientific research to our SEA Semester experiential learning programs for undergraduates. After all, surveys of national employers regularly underscore the premium hiring managers place on college graduates’ abilities to solve problems, collaborate, communicate, anticipate, and demonstrate emotional intelligence. That’s what we do, across all majors. And that’s why I’m proud to support this singular organization, especially now when the world needs far more people with these skills.”
If you would like to learn more about her leadership philosophy, check out her TED Talk about The L-Path and using Learning, Laughing, Losing and Living to develop and inspire healthy leadership skills.

Summer Programs

With in-person programming out of the question during the pandemic, SEA turned to a distance learning approach for this summer’s undergraduate research and high school programs.
Partnership Education Program (PEP)
Just over a decade ago, the Woods Hole Partnership Education Program (PEP) was founded. The goal: to attract a more diverse workforce to the Woods Hole scientific community. Every summer, students from underrepresented communities come to Woods Hole, stay on the SEA campus, participate in academic coursework and conduct research internships.  This summer was different.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was virtual, and it was a big success, according to PEP Acting Director Onjalé Scott Price, C-238.
"The program has received overwhelming positive feedback from the students,” said Price, who credited the PEP staff, which included several PEP alumni, for organizing really useful and interesting career development activities, coding and computational workshops and office hours, and multiple cohort building activities.
Kudos also to the PEP mentors who supervised the student internships. “Our PEP mentors have been amazing this summer. They have really engaged the students in this virtual environment, including having conversations about how the data they are using was collected and why their project/research is important,” said Price.
Research culminated with a symposium, held virtually, on August 7th, when students presented their research reports.
“Throughout the summer we spent a significant amount of time discussing career opportunities, graduate school opportunities and paths back to Woods Hole. We hope to have encouraged these students to continue their careers by promoting the various avenues to get to where they want to go. We truly hope these students come “back“ to our community along their journey,” said Price.

SEA Quest: SEA's Virtual High School Program

Conceptualized and designed by several dedicated and creative faculty and staff members and delivered by a three-person team, the two-week programs, offered twice, incorporated some of the best of what SEA’s in-person programs offer with interactive online delivery.

Each program enrolled 20 students from nearly all regions of the United States and some overseas locations including China, Czechia and Sweden. Armed with journals, various scientific tools, specimens and, most importantly, enthusiasm, participants worked with the teaching team of Liz Maloney, W-162, Jeff Schell, and Craig Marin, W-119, for four hours a day (divided between mornings and afternoons) learning about leadership fundamentals and meteorological observations; oceanographic research tools and methods; and conservation and restoration efforts on the Cape and further afield.

The scope and breadth of the program was greatly enhanced by the participation of a wide-ranging group of virtual guest lecturers and the illustration instruction and guidance of Victoria Smith, Annual Fund and Alumni Relations Coordinator. Students practiced observation skills (written and illustrated) and documented their program experiences in their journals. 

While the SEA Quest experience offered students the opportunities to identify plankton, observe backyard habitats, virtually visit estuaries, engage in leadership exercises, learn about at-sea science deployments and much more, it also offered a window into the scope and breadth of SEA Semester themes and programming.  Like alumni from other SEA programs, these SEA Quest students exceeded expectations in terms of their curiosity, motivation, flexibility and dedication to understanding the central role of the oceans in the health and wellbeing of humanity and the planet.

Vintage Views

Class and crew photo of W-132 in 1994.  Recognize anyone?

Elsaesser Fellowship Opportunity
SEA is now accepting preliminary proposals for the 2021 Armin. E. Elsaesser Fellowship. SEA alumni, faculty, crew, staff, and former employees are eligible for this fellowship, which funds research projects that involve any marine or maritime field that is not directly related to the applicant's current professional activities. Successful projects should reflect a creative and independent approach to the pursuit of knowledge.  Preliminary proposals are due Sept. 30, 2020.
Check out 2019's fellowship awardee and learn more about the award!
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