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USGS Woods Hole Center Contributes to Unique Summer Intern Program

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PEP students
Above: PEP students after the closing ceremony and completion of their final presentations, which were held in the USGS Woods Hole Science Center conference room. Left to right: Emily Motz (State University of New York [SUNY] Maritime College), Chris Cepero (Bridgewater State University), Melika Uter (University of Massachusetts [UMass] Boston), Anna-Mai Christmas (University of the Virgin Islands), Alex DeLeon (Morehouse College), Rachel Rochon (University of New Haven), Victoria Morgan (Cornell University), Brian Redding (Virginia Commonwealth University), Zachary Williams (South Carolina State University), Dolores Toledo (University of California, Berkeley), Lucy Flores (Nova Southeastern University), Diara Townes (Hampton University), Delawrence Sykes (Morehouse College), Laney Boyer (University of Arkansas), Angela Anorve (University of California, San Diego), and Nam Siu (University of Tampa). Photograph by Chris Polloni. [larger version]

The Woods Hole Partnership Education Program (PEP) completed its second year on August 13 with a research presentation by each student and a concluding celebration. This program is a multi-institution collaboration that brings 16 summer interns to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, for a 4-week course and a 6-week independent-research internship. The program's goal is to increase diversity within the Earth and ocean science workforce, which lags behind other disciplines. Open to students from all backgrounds, the program attracts college and university students from around the country. PEP is supported by the six institutions that make up the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative: the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Woods Hole Science Center, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Sea Education Association (SEA), the Marine Biological Laboratory, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Woods Hole Research Center. The program is also run in partnership with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, which provides academic credit for PEP students. Members of the Woods Hole Diversity Advisory committee designed the program over the past few years and are able to implement it with the help of volunteers from each institution.

PEP begins with a course in Global Climate Change that is accredited through the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The course consists of five modules, each providing 3-day intensive studies of specific topics in global climate change organized according to the four oceanographic disciplines (physical, chemical, geological, and biological oceanography) and marine-ecosystem management. In addition, course instructors introduce students to common research methods, such as basic statistics and time-series methods. This year, the course was taught by a team of eight instructors, including John Bratton of the USGS Woods Hole Science Center. Other members of the USGS center also contributed: Matt Arsenault participated as an invited speaker. Ben Gutierrez served as the course director and implemented public-speaking workshops and panel discussions for students. Claudia Flores led students in thought exercises, encouraging them to reflect upon what they had learned over the summer and how this compares with what is reported in the media. Neil Ganju and Bill Waite served as panelists for discussions regarding careers in science and approaching graduate school. Kathy Scanlon advised one of the PEP students, Lane Boyer (University of Arkansas), during his research internship after the Global Climate Change course. Boyer's research focused on assembling data for defining regions where cold-water corals could thrive in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Together with Ken Foote (WHOI), Marinna Martini (USGS) advised PEP students Chris Cepero (Bridgewater State University) and Dolores Toledo (University of California, Berkeley). Cepero and Toledo worked toward developing an effective calibration for the AQUAscat acoustic sensor.

For the PEP to succeed in diversifying the Earth and ocean sciences, PEP students must remain engaged in these sciences. Several students from PEP's inaugural summer (2009) have done just that, returning to Woods Hole to take part in other student programs or to pursue other summer research opportunities. PEP's early success and a dramatic increase in the number of applicants are due largely to the dedicated effort of its many volunteers, particularly Ambrose Jearld, George Liles, and this year's PEP coordinator, Joniqua Howard (all from NOAA Fisheries). The Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee remains committed to sustaining this productive program.

Related Web Sites
USGS Woods Hole Science Center

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cover story:
Subsea Permafrost and Gas Hydrates Offshore of Alaska

Coral Calcification Rates

Coral Paparazzi

ResearchWhale Falls

Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Trends

Manatee Subspecies Genetically Confirmed

Outreach Earth-Science Multimedia

Woods Hole Partnership Education Program

Meetings International Workshop on Cold-Water Corals

Gordon Research Conference on Natural Gas Hydrates

Awards Jeff Williams Receives NPS Director's Career Achievement Award

Alan Cooper Awarded SCAR Medal for International Scientific Coordination

Publications Oct. / Nov. 2010 Publications

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