Ocean Exploration Trust Partnering with STEMSEAS to Bring Students to Sea Aboard E/V Nautilus

Ocean Exploration Trust

Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) this week welcomes a cohort of students and educators from the Science, Technology, Engineering, And Math Student Experiences Aboard Ships (STEMSEAS) program aboard Nautilus for the first time. Students will join a 10-day seafloor mapping expedition between Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, and Sidney, BC, sponsored by Ocean Networks Canada.  

STEMSEAS is a National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported program that provides exploratory experiences for undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds to sail on research vessels to engage in geoscience and oceanography activities. This partnership brings students from nine colleges and universities in five states and one US territory to join the expedition team along with instructors from three universities.

"It's an exciting opportunity for OET to partner with STEMSEAS in expanding and advancing these students' academic careers and interests,” says OET Education Program Coordinator Kelly Guarino. “Experiences at sea can be transformative; we’re eager to help students dive into fields of science communication, seafloor mapping, and a wide range of oceanographic topics. This partnership is a wonderful way to bring more educators and students onboard E/V Nautilus!"

STEAMSEAS collaborates with the A-STEP (Ambassadors for STEM Training to Enhance Participation) program- a complementary program also funded by NSF. Working together, this opportunity leverages OET’s extensive outreach and education capabilities from sea with STEMSEAS/A-STEP students interested in science communication. During expeditions on E/V Nautilus, we offer onshore explorers live video, audio, and data feeds from the field in addition to ship-to-shore interactions with classrooms and learning venues for students. In doing so, audiences around the world can be part of the expedition in real-time. 

Beyond OET’s Science & Engineering Internship Program, which offers professional workforce development training for students and young early career professionals within deep sea expeditions, this partnership with STEMSEAS and A-STEP utilizes a short transit where Nautilus can be used as a unique mobile classroom for students to gain exposure to geoscience professionals and career exploration. Supported by OET expedition personnel, experienced faculty and graduate student mentors, onboard participants will gain exposure to geoscience professionals and career exploration through participating in hands-on science activities, introductions to science exploration technology (including remotely operated vehicles and mapping sonars), vessel operations, career talks from other professional explorers, reflective exercises about science identity, and science communication workshops, and other onboard outreach activities.

Sharon Cooper, Principal Investigator of the STEMSEAS program based at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, is also excited by this partnership. “We’ve been eagerly hoping for an opportunity to bring our two organizations together, so we are very happy this is happening this summer. Working with OET and E/V Nautilus opens up some great new opportunities for career and science communication activities that we are excited to share with our students, and we look forward to hearing about the impacts of their experiences,” she said. 

The following instructors and students will be sailing:

  • Lisa White, University of California Berkeley (Lead)
  • Jeanette Pirlo, California State University Stanislaus (Co-Lead)
  • Lauren Haygood, Oklahoma State University (Co-Lead)
  • John Blaha, The George Washington University
  • Kyra Copp, DePauw University
  • Isabel Flores, University of California San Diego
  • Leland Jones, Morehouse College
  • Jacqueline Leung, Vanderbilt University
  • Dylan Metcalfe, Whatcom Community College
  • Gabriella Piper, University of Guam
  • Piper Priddy, University of Delaware
  • Skyy Sumlin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This expedition is a seafloor mapping transit to bring the E/V Nautilus from Hawaiʻi to British Columbia. The transit route will be planned to fill gaps in seabed mapping and thereby support priorities of Seabed2030 and the US National Strategy for Mapping, Exploration, and Characterization. This trip will utilize the deep-water mapping capabilities of E/V Nautilus to map previously uncharted seafloor during the transit route. 

Anyone in the world can join the team exploring the ocean in real-time via, a live streaming 24/7 interactive portal for seafloor expeditions. The ship connects with learners daily and broadcasts live exploration daily inviting everyone into the process and excitement of discovery.