Student Stories

About SEA

Alumni Profiles

Scott Doney, W-76

Scott Doney, W-76

Scott is a Senior Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Currently serving SEA as a Trustee, Scott has also been an Overseer, and an expert lecturer during the program’s shore component.

Scott cites his ten years’ work in numerical modeling data and analyses (presented in his book to be published this spring), the opportunity to lead the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Program (coordinating research for NASA, NSF and NOAA), and his paper on ocean acidification published in Scientific American as his most gratifying accomplishments.

Scott is surprised when he goes to Washington, DC by the number of SEA alumni in the marine management field. He believes that SEA Semester fits a unique niche that is wonderful for the scientific community. It provides a cadre of scientists and policy advisors who have been out to sea. “That alone makes SEA really special.”

Zena Cardman, S-219

Zena Cardman, S-219

“SEA solidified my interest in going to sea and I now want to incorporate marine science into my science interests.” Zena graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in December 2010. As a sophomore, she contacted thirteen scientists with National Science Foundation Grants, hoping to join their research in Antarctica. Eleven of them said “no;”  two said “maybe.” “I persisted and here I am, “ she reported from the ARSV Laurence Gould – her second time aboard the Gould in Antarctica.

Zena earned a B.S. in Biology with minors in Marine Science and Creative Writing and was editor-in-chief of UNC’s literary magazine, Cellar Door, as well as Tract Magazine, a publication exploring the convergence of art and science. She was awarded The Irene F. Lee Chancellor’s Award presented to the woman of UNC’s senior class who is judged most outstanding in leadership, character and scholarship.

Barbara Block, W-49

Barbara Block, W-49

Barbara Block, an Endowed Professor at Stanford University and leading expert on the physiology, ecology, and evolution of tuna, billfish, and mackerel sharks, credits SEA Semester with setting her on a clear course into marine science. She was instrumental in putting together the partnership between SEA and Stanford University that has provided the joint program, Stanford@SEA since 2003.

Barbara is professor in the Department of Biological Sciences as well as Co-Director of the Tuna Research and Conservation Center, both at Stanford. Barbara explains the development of Stanford@SEA, “This program gives students a rich opportunity to experience the pelagic ocean first hand. I also wanted Stanford University students to experience first hand the excitement and challenges of research and life at sea, an opportunity that helps catalyze interest in the oceans and foster the next generation of marine scientists. The seas, and in particular, the Pacific are almost virgin in our knowledge.”

Luanne Rice, W-25

Luanne Rice, W-25

According to best selling author Luanne Rice, “Everything I write uses my SEA experience.” Luanne recalls seeing an ad for SEA Semester in the back of The New Yorker. She applied and was accepted into the program with a scholarship from DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, the founders of Readers Digest. “I will never stop being grateful to them.”

Luanne remembers the mission of her Westward cruise, documenting migratory whales in the Caribbean during mating season. “We went to so many poor nations on that trip that SEA awakened me to human rights.”

Luanne credits her SEA experience for encouraging her to be a voice for the causes she cares about, both the environment and human rights. Luanne is the author of 26 best-selling novels, including her most recent, The Silver Boat, which was released in April and is set in Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard.

´╗┐Andy Rosenberg, W-7

´╗┐Andy Rosenberg, W-7

Since the age of 2, Andy has been a lifelong sailor. When he applied for SEA Semester in 1972 while still in high school, he told his parents he would earn half the tuition before enrolling. Participating in SEA convinced him that he could do something other than school and that marine science was a real possibility. For the rest of his career he has followed his interests.

Andy is now Senior Vice President for Science and Knowledge at Conservation International and Professor of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of New Hampshire. He counts as his greatest accomplishment the development of a recovery plan for Northeast fisheries in 1990 while he was a regional administrator for NOAA. Andy serves as an Overseer for SEA.

Margaret Wachenfeld, W-60

Margaret Wachenfeld, W-60

Margaret participated in SEA Semester while studying biology at Wellesley College. She remembers her paper, which looked at shellfish in coastal waters, and also remembers being particularly inspired by Susan Humphris, her Chief Scientist. Margaret tells us that she intended to get a Ph.D. in marine biology but that changed when she went to work as a legal assistant for an attorney who advised on a wide range of issues under the newly adopted UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Instead, she earned a J.D. and L.L.M. in International and Comparative Law from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Law from University of Copenhagen.

Margaret describes herself as an international lawyer and policy advisor with expertise, experience and educational background in applying and linking key international developments around environment, climate change and social development, good governance and human rights to the work of international organizations and the private sector.

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She is currently working for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Brussels, Belgium as a Senior Policy Advisor. Calling SEA “one of the fondest memories of my very busy life,” she believes it provided her with a sense of the inter-connectedness of a globalized world and an understanding that the sea is that connector. Looking at climate change and what might be the impact on children is just one of a whole range of international issues, many with a focus on sustainability, that have shaped her career.

Nikola “Kola” Garber, W-142

Nikola “Kola” Garber, W-142

Kola earned her B.S. in Biology from Bowling Green State University, northwest of the “2 stoplight farm town” where she was raised in Ohio. After spending summer sessions at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, Mississippi she received an M.S. in Marine Science/Molecular Biology and a Ph.D. in International Development from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Kola is currently the Assistant Director for Administration at the NOAA Sea Grant College Program. She believes that SEA Semester played a role in the direction of her career because both its hands-on learning and the interdisciplinary nature of the program provide a background for working with diverse groups of people, and gave her skills in the areas of outreach and communications as well as “being a real scientist.” Kola remembers that she first learned how to teach people during a storm at sea where the task was to fix the storm sail.

Frederick “Rick” Fritsch, W-83

Frederick “Rick” Fritsch, W-83

After retiring from twenty years service in the Navy, Rick joined the National Weather Service in Juneau, Alaska where he provides full spectrum weather forecasts for public, maritime and aviation users. He is a degreed meteorologist and physical oceanographer, a certified flight instructor, and describes himself as an enthusiastic teacher committed to the education of children and adults alike. Rick lectured on meteorology and weather at sea for SEA’s shore component while stationed in Newport, Rhode Island.

Rick says that weather observations made as a student at SEA were influential in his choice of graduate degree and career. He lives in Juneau with his wife and twin daughters. He also volunteers as an educational outreach leader at local schools and trains docents at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center on global climate change and the observed effects in the Juneau area.

Roman Shor, S-204

Roman Shor, S-204

Roman grew up in Colorado where there was no water in sight. While at University of Pennsylvania earning a B.A. in Mathematics and an M.S.E. in Computer and Information Science, he noticed the SEA program in the Penn general course catalog.

SEA’s influence on his academic studies has been dramatic. Roman is currently at Penn working towards his Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Science in the Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate Change graduate group. He expects to graduate in 2014. Since participating in SEA Semester Roman has also worked as a deckhand on S-205 and volunteered for the Plastics@ SEA expedition that took place in 2010

Roman says that the SEA experience is always in the back of his mind. “It taught me to take responsibility for whatever I am doing and gave me confidence to lead and to get people to follow me.”