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student looking through microscope Laboratory research is a key part of the program. Photo credit: PEP/NOAA
students working in the field Hands-on activities in the lab and in the field are part of the one-month course in global climate change, which incorporates all oceanographic disciplines. Photo credit: PEP/NOAA
student steering boat PEP students also experience some local summer activities. Photo credit: PEP/NOAA
students in classroom Classroom discussions on the Sea Education Association campus. Photo credit: PEP/NOAA

December 8, 2017
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

Undergraduate Summer Science Internship Program Aimed at Diversity Offered in Woods Hole

Program Dates June 2-August 11, 2018

"My favorite part about the program is the new doors and opportunities the program provides students." PEP Graduate

The Partnership Education Program (PEP), supported by six science institutions in Woods Hole, Mass., is seeking applicants for a 10-week summer program that combines undergraduate course work with research in marine and environmental science.

Launched in 2009, PEP is designed to promote a diverse scientific community by recruiting talent from minority groups that are under-represented in marine and environmental sciences.

PEP completed its ninth summer in 2017, hosting 16 students from 16 different colleges or universities. Of those colleges or universities, 11 were new to the program. Since 2009, 89 colleges or universities, including 28 Historically Black Colleges and Universities and/or Minority Serving Institutions, and 138 students have participated in PEP.

The Partnership Education Program is designed for college students, with priority given to entering juniors and seniors, majoring in the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics or geosciences and earth system sciences) or engineering, mathematics or social sciences. Applicants must also have completed some course work in oceanography, biology, or marine and/or environmental science. The program includes a four-week course and ten-week research project.

PEP students live together on the Sea Education Association campus and participate in group career building activities such as seminars, workshops, field trips, and at-sea experiences. They also attend lectures at partner science institutions throughout the summer, and participate in local community activities.

“The PEP experience has taught me much about scientific concepts and programs concerning the ocean and global warming, and being able to see these concepts in action through our fieldtrips firsthand was really great,” said one PEP alumnus. “Being with people from different backgrounds and institutions also taught me the value of diversity and being able to learn from the experiences of others.”

The 2018 PEP program will run from June 2 to August 11. Orientation is held June 2. The PEP course, “Ocean and Environmental Sciences: Global Climate Change,” runs from June 4 to June 29. The course will be framed around a four-day cruise aboard the Sea Education Association sailing school vessel Corwith Cramer. Students will prepare for sea with modules on different disciplines that include physical oceanography, chemistry, biology and geology.

At sea, students will gain experience in oceanographic research techniques and work as active crew members contributing to the operation of the ship, including sail handling and navigation. On students’ return from sea they will work-up the data collected and present to their peers and member of the PEP community. The course will culminate in half-day classes on ecosystems management (including sociology, economics, and public policy). All modules in the course are integrated, with each addressing the theme of global climate change.

Research scientists from local science institutions teach the PEP course. Students will conduct research projects that employ some of the techniques and explore some of the issues presented in the course. Students are expected to participate in orientation and to complete both the course and the internship. At the end of the program in mid-August, the students will present results from their research in a 15-minute public presentation during a one-day PEP seminar.

"Speaking with scientists from different institutions has been really helpful for me, as its given me the chance to learn more about graduate school and the kind of environment I can expect working as a professional within the scientific community."

"My favorite aspect of the program was the opportunity to interact with individuals and researchers who were beyond passionate about their work. It was an inspiring experience."

PEP graduates

Students may receive four hours of credit through the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.  The 2018 program will cover tuition and room and board, as well as provide a travel allowance and a stipend. Priority in admissions and financial support will be given to students who have applied on or before February 26, 2018. The 2018 PEP Class will be announced in mid-March.

Application information and reports on previous programs are available on the Woods Hole PEP website.

PEP welcomes applications from students of all backgrounds. Students from groups under-represented in marine and environmental sciences are especially encouraged to apply – this includes African American, Hispanic American, Native American, Asian Pacific Island, and Alaska Native students.

PEP is a project of the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative. Participating institutions are: NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, Marine Biological Laboratory, Sea Education Association, United States Geological Survey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Woods Hole Research Center. The Woods Hole Diversity Initiative's primary academic partner is the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

For further information, contact PEP Director George Liles at NOAA Fisheries Service ( 508-495-2318) or Dr. Paulinus Chigbu at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (410-621-3034).

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