SEA Testimonials

About SEA

Alumni Testimonials

On Personal Development

“My semester on the Seamans was life-changing. It was the most brilliant thing I've ever done for myself. I believe it was more important in shaping the adult I have grown into than the college I chose to attend, or the first professional job I took. I have traveled extensively and I have done other study abroad programs, but crossing the Pacific Ocean with nothing but the tools and education we brought with us and the team we developed was incomparable to anything else I have ever done. I had the time of my life with some awesome people, who will be my friends for life.”

— Nova Ewers, University of Pennsylvania, S-217

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“I had the good fortune of attending the some of the best schools in the country for high school, college and graduate school and among all of these fantastic educational opportunities, the semester that I spent at SEA stands out as my most meaningful educational experience, despite the fact that I am not a "science person." My experience at SEA made me a better student, a better teacher and a better person!”

— Alisa Barnard, Colgate University/Harvard Divinity School, W-144

“SEA Semester is one of (if not the most) amazing programs in the world!  It seriously changed my whole life and gave me the drive to pursue my passion.  I was so lost before SEA Semester and had no idea what to do with my life or even if I was going to finish college. Now I am about to graduate with a Marine Bio degree and I am already thinking about grad school.  I will forever be grateful for what this program did for me.”

— Emily Tucker, University of Tampa, S-216

“This semester away from Brown has given me the second line of position, a better sense of where and who I am, and what I can be. As in science, each answer simply opens up more questions-if I’m not going to be a geologist-what will I be?-but there is now a sailor in me, next to the scientist, the writer and many other personas. As long as the weather is good, and the crew trustworthy, I can sail wherever I want.”

Lev Nelson, Brown University, C-184

On Career Development

“SEA Semester nailed it for me.  After completing W-73, I knew I wanted to work in the marine science or oceanographic field and began applying to graduate school and for jobs that would allow me to do so.  Today I work on endangered species recovery issues and I am a coastal ecology expert with a passion for conservation of endangered species that depend upon the coastal environment.  I love what I do and I thank SEA Semester for jump-starting my career.”

— Billy Brooks, Emory University/UNC Wilmington, W-73

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“Participating in SEA Semester was probably the best decision I made in college. I have always loved the ocean, but my semester on the Cramer helped me not only to connect with others who share my passion, but also show me the potential for a lifelong career based around ocean stewardship. Since my time with SEA, I have not only returned to and fallen in love with Cape Cod, but have begun to pursue non-profit environmental work, both of which I owe largely to my experience with the program. I continue to meet other SEA alums even in the most unexpected places, and have found it to be a great professional network. SEA Semester creates a sense of community that few other study abroad programs can claim, and I'm proud to be a part of it!”

— Ashleigh McCord, Bard College, C-208

“SEA Semester kept me on track toward my desired career as an aquatic scientist, and helped make my dreams real. I returned for the second term of my junior year full of energy, worked in a freshwater science lab, and proceeded on to graduate school where I worked on the Great Lakes and was a teaching assistant.  SEA gave me the confidence I needed as the only woman on many of my research cruises in graduate school, and later, as a postdoc and faculty member, as chief scientist. Now I'm a professor of aquatic science and trying to instill the same hands-on practical love of water, aquatic creatures, and real world experience in my students that I got from SEA Semester.”

— Kimberly Schulz, Cornell University/University of Michigan, W-85

"This program was the single greatest experience while an undergraduate and has no doubt helped me become the scientist that I am today. Thank you."

— Tim Stillinger, University of California at Berkeley, S-220

“SEA Semester introduced me to field science in an exciting, interdisciplinary way. It highly influenced my decision after college to work for non-profit environmental education organizations, instead of teaching in a classroom.”

— Kevin Sullivan, Holy Cross College, S-186

"I took 'the SEA challenge' to learn what it would be like to be a scientist. For the next 10 years of my career, I was one. Today, I sell products that support scientific research. SEA helped instill in me the love of exploration. It's odd, but nearly twenty five years after my SEA experience, I still have vivid memories."

Duff Dean, Washington University in St. Louis, W-67

On Graduate Studies

“SEA Semester prepared me for graduate study more ways than one. First, it provided me with a solid foundation in oceanography which I continue to draw upon in my research. Second, SEA prepared me well to conduct field research in marine geology.  As I continue in my studies, I constantly come across methods or concepts that I am learned at SEA.  Finally, SEA helped me develop as a person in terms of my ability to be part of a team and accept challenges. SEA Semester was very important to my development as marine geologist.”

— Maya Gomes, Wesleyan University/Northwestern University, C-196

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“SEA was instrumental in getting me to where I am today.  Because of that semester, I went to graduate school to study Marine Science.  This coupled with my other graduate work in Mathematics led me to my current job where I teach both Math and Physics.  But more importantly, my SEA experience helped me become a stronger, more confident person.  This has been an integral part of EVERY facet of my life.  I can look back at my life and see that my semester at SEA was a key event that brought me to where I am today.”

— Bruce Armbrust, DePauw University/Colorado State University, C-129

“My SEA Semester experience led me to a different academic focus; I was originally pre-med and now am going to graduate school for marine science.  The experience was extremely beneficial due to the skills I acquired in the areas of team-building, research, and problem solving.  I enjoyed seeing the application of science, and the out-of-book learning experience was extremely valuable.”

— Emily Allen, College of Charleston/Medical University of South Carolina, S-220

Parent Testimonials

"Initially, because our 18-year-old son seemed quite young and inexperienced for the SEA program, we were a bit concerned that it might be too rigorous at this point in his life. In fact it was very challenging, he had to work very hard, but he loved it and gained so much in terms of experience, leadership and confidence from his 6 weeks in Woods Hole and 6 at sea. We were thrilled!!"

John Phillips, Parent

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"My daughter participated in SEA Semester when she was an undergraduate at Oregon State. For several years she has also been employed by SEA as a marine biologist in the research lab(s) on board both of the vessels. I believe the program is life changing, inspiring, and brings out the best in our young adults. I am a former Environmental Studies graduate professor and believe that the SEA faculty are bright, dedicated, caring, creative and professional. I highly recommend the program."

— Stephanie Moret , Parent

Professional Testimonials

"There is no better way, in my opinion, to learn about the planet's oceans than to do a SEA Semester. There are more comfortable and less challenging ways, but there is no better way. The oceans need you. They need you to study them and explore and cherish them. I can't think of a more fascinating or exciting area to be working in today than in the marine environment."

Sylvia Earle, Ph.D, Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic Society

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"SEA is an important part of our community that fulfills a genuine need in the "pipeline" of educating future scientists, engineers, and ocean-literate citizens. A number of WHOI scientists and engineers have collaborated with SEA to test new equipment, by making use of data collected by SEA vessels - its CTD archive dating back to 1988 is now being submitted to the National Oceanographic Data Center - and every once in a while conducting science expeditions from an SEA ship."

— Susan Avery, President and Director, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

"SEA provides Penn students with opportunities to use their rapidly developing scientific skills in applications where they can see immediate and valuable results. This stuff works!! Few other programs offer such opportunities in such abundance. There are other, enormous, less tangible benefits of SEA to Penn students. We send SEA good, solid, principled, responsible, enthusiastic, energetic, imaginative, nice young people. They come back just as good, with lots of valuable new experience, and, if possible, nicer! They have learned that the hollow camaraderie that sometimes passes for social interaction in a college environment is a poor substitute for the kind of relationship they forged, under some necessity, with the shipmates on whom they depended for their education, their entertainment, and, from time to time, their safety. We can send Penn students to lots of places for hands-on experience, although few such places are as successful as SEA, but there is no place else we can send them to learn as much about themselves and their potential to play a valuable role in society as they learn at SEA."

Robert Giegengack, Davidson Kennedy Professor, University of Pennsylvania

"SEA alumni have become film producers, journalists, scientists, and environmental activists, using their interest in the marine environment to shape varied and interesting careers. Their allegiance to the program is a testament to the powerful influence their SEA Semester has had upon them."

Judith McDowell, PhD Associate Dean, Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution