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Celebrating 45 Years of SEA

#SEA45th

Celebrating 45 years of Sea Education Association

In 2016, Sea Education Association is celebrating 45 years of operations. Since our founding in 1971, SEA has offered rigorous undergraduate, high school, and other experiential education programs aboard three custom-equipped tall ships and conducted world-renowned field research.

As we reflect on our history, we are deeply proud of our more than 10,000 SEA alumni, who have gone on to pursue rewarding paths in a variety of fields. We look forward to educating the next generation of ocean scholars, stewards, and leaders. 

45 Ways to Celebrate SEA

45 Ways to Celebrate SEA Semester in Our 45th Year

Want to help celebrate? Below are some ideas. Download the checklist to see the rest!

  • Like SEA Semester and/or SEA Alumni on Facebook. If you already like these pages, comment on or like a recent post!
  • Brush up on your knot-tying skills. Grab a line and see how many different types you can master in the next hour. 
  • Take a picture of yourself wearing SEA Semester gear, ideally in a picturesque spot, and share it on social media. 
  • Bring reusable shopping bags on your next shopping trip--and keep up the habit!
  • Sing or share a sea shanty with your friends, family, or colleagues. Bonus points if you record it and share with us!

As you complete these 45 items, share your progress on your favorite social media channel using the hashtags #SEASemester and #SEA45th. Send your completed list to us at celebrate45@sea.edu, or bring it with you to the reunion in May to share with your shipmates!

Timeline: The First 45 Years of SEA

We'll update this gallery each week as we celebrate 45 years of SEA history. Be sure to check back or follow our social media channels to see what we've pulled from the archives.

Do you have a photo that you'd like to share with us? Email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Be sure to include as much information as possible about when and where the photo was taken.

45th Anniversary

Featured Alumni

1971-1979

Duane E. De Freese, Ph.D., W-26

Duane E. De Freese, Ph.D., W-26

Cruise track: Shore component at the Shoals Marine Laboratory; sea component aboard the R/V Westward, Miami to Miami, FL with port stops in the Bahamas, Dry Tortugas and Key West
Current Location: Indialantic, FL
Undergraduate University & Major: University of Rhode Island, Zoology
Advanced Degree: Florida Institute of Technology, Masters in Marine Biology; Ph.D. in Marine Biology; Post Doctoral Research at University of Florida/IFAS
Employer & Position: AquaFiber Technologies Corporation, Sr. Vice President of Science & Business Development

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A chance encounter with the R/V Westward in the mid 70’s at the University of Rhode Island Narragansett Bay Campus planted the idea to enroll in SEA Semester.  The R/V Westward experience forever influenced my perspective on global connections and a one-world ocean. Ultimately, it steered me towards an ocean sciences career path. Today, I remain on that same path and never looked back. Over the past 30 years, I have been lucky to work in the public, private and academic sectors on a wide range of marine and coastal conservation projects. My current position at AquaFiber Technologies Corporation focuses on development and deployment of a proprietary process to remediate surface waters plagued by nutrient enrichment and alga/cyanobacterial blooms.

I have drawn heavily from my R/V Westward experiences throughout my professional career. Character traits like responsibility, humility, confidence, persistence, patience, team-work, self-reliance, adaptability, and most of all - appreciation for the spatial and temporal scale of a global ocean are all attributes gained from a blue water sailing experience. These attributes, shaped by life experiences outside of the classroom, are valued highly by C-Level executives building an entrepreneurial workforce in all fields of endeavor. Students at SEA look past the helm, out to a vast distant horizon where ocean waves meet the sky, and become self-aware. Leave the safe harbor. Set the sails. Discover yourself and the world. The experience will serve you well for a lifetime.

1980-1989

Alex Prud’homme, W-71

Alex Prud’homme, W-71

Cruise track: Rockland, ME to Newport, RI with port stops in Portland, ME and Lunenburg, NS
Current Location: New York, NY
Undergraduate University & Major: Middlebury College, VT: History; minor in Oceanography
Employer: Self-employed freelance writer

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I have been a journalist and author for twenty-five years. I have written on many subjects for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Time. I have authored five books, on everything from post-9/11 security to biotech to the importance of fresh water. I am best known as co-writer of Julia Child's memoir My Life in France, which inspired half of the film "Julie & Julia." I am currently writing a book about Julia Child in the 1970s, when she quit "the French Chef," re-Americanized herself, used recipes from around the world, and found her voice as "Julia Child"; it will be published in the spring of 2016.

I attended SEA Semester to learn oceanography and head to sea on a beautiful brigantine. After a childhood spent exploring beaches and oceanariums, reading about pirates and Moby Dick, and as a member of the Jacques Cousteau Society, the program was a natural fit for me. Our trip to the Bay of Fundy led to great friendships, excellent adventures, and learning-by-doing.

Freelance writing is difficult even under the best of circumstances, as is sailing in a gale. Among the key lessons I learned at SEA was the value of adaptability and resilience, not to mention keeping a sense of humor.

1990-1999

Pam Clark, C-121

Pam Clark, C-121

Cruise track: Miami to Miami, FL with port stops in Roatan, Honduras and Providencia
Current Location: Woods Hole, MA
Undergraduate University & Major:  Boston University, Environmental Science
Advanced Degree: The Landing School, Yacht Design
Employer & Position: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Project Manager Ship Operations

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I’m a ship design integration manager working on all facets of research vessel design with a team of naval architects and marine engineers; I specialize in the integration of the scientific mission equipment including sonars and deck equipment.

My current project is working on the US Navy/ ONR funded Ocean Class AGOR two-ship build program for the UNOLS fleet. The first ship, the R/V Neil Armstrong, will be operated by WHOI and the second ship will go to Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the R/V Sally Ride. We recently completed the Functional Design effort for the new Australian CSIRO R/V Investigator; again I managed the overall design integration including the science mission equipment.

When I found out about SEA Semester in college, I knew I had do it. The idea of studying oceanography and nautical science in a hands-on environment of offshore sailing was an experience I couldn’t let pass by; learning by sitting in a classroom was never my strength.

I thoroughly enjoyed being offshore, standing watches, steering what felt like a mack-truck compared to the boats I grew up sailing. However, I wasn’t good at any of it, I must have made every possible mistake and that was okay; I learned a little humility goes a long way.  Something clicked offshore where life is simple, making sure the vessel is running properly and the people on board are safe; I knew at that point I would make a living either sailing and/or working with research vessels.

2000-2009

Megan Cook, S-215

Megan Cook, S-215

Program & Cruise track: Ocean Exploration, Tahiti to Oahu, HI with a port stop in Nuku Hiva
Current Location: Newport, RI
Undergraduate University and Major: Oregon State University, Biology. 2012 North American Rolex Scholar
Employer & Position: Ocean Exploration Trust, STEM Program Coordinator

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My first grade teacher introduced the ocean to me. In an Idaho desert classroom, the sea and salt spray came alive reading stories, doing shell math, and scribbling ocean currents with crayons.  While my classmates set their sights to be firefighters, presidents or sports stars I knew the ocean and I were meant to be together. As a biology major at OSU I was thrilled with the chance to pursue my own research and look critically at the ocean transect from Tahiti to Hawaii. I wanted to live the lessons that filled my textbooks and connect with people who understood the ocean in other ways. Thanks to the generous donors of the SEA Presidential scholarship, I joined the Robert C. Seamans’ in winter of 2008.

After graduating with a degree in biology, chemistry and marine biology I relocated to Hawaii to work as a free diver on NOAA’s Marine Debris Team throughout the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Dreaming big dreams led me to selection as the North American Rolex Scholar by the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society. My Rolex experience has been broadened by my drive to explore our planet in, on or nearby the global ocean. I am looking forward to a career as a bridge communicating to connect us with the healthy oceans that keep us alive. My tremendous thanks go to SEA Semester for awakening in me a passion for exploration and for admitting me into a global network of ocean leaders.

2010-2016

Ethan Edson, C-247

Ethan Edson, C-247

Program & Cruise track: Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, St. Croix to Woods Hole, MA with a port stop in Bermuda
Current Location: Boston, MA
Undergraduate University and Major: Northeastern University, Marine and Environmental Science
Employer & Position: Northeastern University Marine Science Center, Research Engineering Assistant

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I am currently a Research Engineering Assistant in the Field Robotics Laboratory at Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center, working on developing both Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) as well as a low-cost prototype sensor, called the MantaRay, which can track oceanographic microplastic concentration data. I decided to attend SEA Semester during my junior year at Northeastern University in order to gain additional field and laboratory experience while “testing the waters” in marine science.  What I didn’t realize was how strong of an impact my experience with SEA Semester would have going forward in my personal and professional career.

The program gave me a completely immersive experience in oceanographic research, marine public policy, and a strong insight into the viewpoints of different global stakeholders involved in protecting marine resources.  I was also exposed to the growing threat of microplastic pollution in the world ocean, which occurs on a scale that is hard to appreciate without physically putting yourself hundreds of miles offshore and collecting it first-hand.  Since the program, I have been able to use my experiences from SEA to work for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and develop the MantaRay microplastics sensor at the Field Robotics Laboratory at Northeastern University. Without my experience during SEA Semester, I’m not sure that I would have ever found a passion for marine science or taken the initiative to research plastic pollution technology going forward.

Share Your SEA Story

Share a Memory With Us

Use the form below to tell us about a special memory that made your SEA experience unforgettable--whether in Woods Hole, on board one of our ships, at an exotic port stop, or somewhere in between. Feel free to upload a photo as well to supplement your story. We'll publish select submissions on our blog throughout our anniverary year.

We may make minor edits for length or content; please limit your text to about 250 words. 

Share Your SEA Story