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NR09.05
Shelley Dawicki
508 495-2378
shelley.dawicki@noaa.govshelley.dawicki@noaa.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2009
166 Water Street
Woods Hole MA 02543

Students Learn First-Hand About Marine and Environmental Science in New Woods Hole Diversity Program

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Student at microscope
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PEP students will have hands-on experience working in labs and learning practical skills from leading researchers in marine and environmental science. (Credit: NOAA)
students collecting samples in harbor
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Students collect specimens in local waters. (Credit: Shelley Dawicki, NOAA)
Related Links
Woods Hole Partnership Education Program (PEP)
Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee

Sixteen undergraduate students from 11 colleges throughout the United States are spending the summer in Woods Hole gaining practical experience in many of the ocean and environmental science topics in the news everyday, from greenhouse gases, ocean acidification and polar ecosystems to fisheries management, coastal erosion, wetlands and water quality.

The students are the first to enroll in the new Woods Hole Partnership Education Program, or PEP, a summer science intern program designed to promote diversity in the Woods Hole science community. Aimed at college juniors and seniors who have had some course work in oceanography or marine and/or environmental sciences, PEP students will take a four-week course, this year focused on global climate change, and then spend six-to-eight-weeks on individual research projects. 

The students will earn four college credits through the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and receive a stipend, room and board, a travel allowance, and course tuition. Major funding for the program was provided by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, the Sea Education Association, and the U.S. Geological Survey, with additional support from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole Research Center, and the Marine Biological Laboratory.  Instructors and mentors are researchers from these six science institutions.

“The oceans affect everyone, so it is imperative that people from all backgrounds have an understanding of how the oceans work and how humans and oceans interact,” said John Bullard, president of the Sea Education Association. “We need more minority scientists and professors, and to do that we need more minority students interested in the oceans. PEP is the first major effort by all the scientific institutions in Woods Hole to reach out together to underrepresented groups. It is both exciting and promising to get this program started in Woods Hole.”

The PEP course began June 2 and ends June 30, to be followed by research internships in July and August in areas chosen by the students. They will also participate in seminars, workshops, field trips, spend a day at sea, attend lectures at the various institutions, take part in a writing seminar and give oral presentations about their research projects.

PEP participants will also have the opportunity to engage in career development activities, such as informal interviews and networking, with researchers from all over the world who visit or conduct research at the various institutions during the summer months or year-round.

“The PEP program provides these students with a first-hand introduction to current and emerging science issues and practical training in the research skills they will need to advance in science, either as graduate students or bachelors-level working scientists,” said Frank Almeida, Director of the Woods Hole Laboratory of NOAA Fisheries Service and deputy director of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, headquartered at the Woods Hole lab. “It’s a fabulous opportunity to meet and work with leading researchers in marine and environmental sciences, and an experience that we hope will encourage them to pursue careers in science.” 

PEP is a project of the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative, a multi-institutional effort to promote diversity in the Woods Hole science community begun in 2004. Events are held throughout the year to attract and retain a more diverse workforce and to welcome people from diverse backgrounds and interests to the community.   PEP Director is Dr. Ambrose Jearld, Jr. and Program Coordinator is George Liles, both of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center of NOAA Fisheries Service.

Participating PEP institutions and members of the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative are the Marine Biological Laboratory, Northeast Fisheries Science Center of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, Sea Education Association, U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Woods Hole Research Center.

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(File Modified Jan. 04 2012)