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.