SEA Currents: News
Lectureship honors Ambrose Jearld, Jr. for promoting diversity
The Woods Hole scientific community on Saturday honored Ambrose Jearld, Jr., influential NOAA researcher and SEA overseer, with an annual lectureship in recognition of his efforts to make oceanography and marine biology more accessible to a diverse body of students and research faculty.
The surprise presentation was made at Jearld’s retirement party at Fisher House, Church of the Messiah, in Woods Hole. Jearld retired from NOAA Fisheries Service on Sept. 2 after 38 years of service.
The Ambrose Jearld, Jr. Lecture, established and administered by the Diversity Initiative and Diversity Advisory Committee, will be given every summer in Woods Hole by invited scholars, scientists, and authors. The lectures will begin next summer, coinciding with the biennial John K. Bullard Diversity Award.
"Dr. Ambrose Jearld is an inspiring leader in the effort to make the Woods Hole scientific community more welcoming and inclusive for all people,” said SEA President Peg Brandon, who announced the honor.
“We see first-hand at SEA the tremendous success and vitality of the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative and the Partnership Education Program (PEP),” Brandon said. “PEP provides critical access to training and internships in the ocean sciences, and is an important pathway to future success for the growing network of PEP alumni. With this lectureship, named in his honor, Ambrose Jearld will continue to inspire us for years to come.”
Among his many contributions to the scientific and academic communities, Jearld has been active in the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative since its founding. He served as chairman of the Diversity Advisory Committee and was the founding director of the Partnership Education Program (PEP), a project of the Diversity Initiative.
Since the PEP began in 2009, 122 students from 77 colleges and universities, including institutions that have not previously had Woods Hole connections, have spent the summer in Woods Hole attending a course on global climate change and conducting research projects with mentors from the various institutions. PEP students take classes at SEA and reside on the SEA Woods Hole campus during their internships.
Former SEA President John Bullard, now Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region, recalled early efforts to promote diversity at Woods Hole: “When I first came to Woods Hole as President of the Sea Education Association and noticed a startling lack of diversity, the first person I wanted to see was Ambrose Jearld.”
“I wanted to know if the problem was just with SEA or whether it was all of Woods Hole. When Ambrose told me all of Woods Hole lacked diversity, we decided to invite all the scientific institutions to join an effort to promote and celebrate diversity. Out of this conversation, we formed the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative and the Diversity Advisory Committee, which Ambrose chaired. And out of these efforts came such programs as the Partnership Education Program (PEP), created by Ambrose and George Liles. No one has done more to promote diversity in Woods Hole than Ambrose Jearld. No one. Not even close.”
In addition to his work with the Diversity Initiative, Jearld has conducted and published research and served as an administrator and manager at the Woods Hole Laboratory of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), and served as NEFSC Director of Academic Programs. He is a member of many civic, academic, professional and technical scientific societies, including the American Fisheries Society, and the Leadership Council of the American Geophysical Union. He is president of the National Technical Association and also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He is a charter member and former chair of the Woods Hole Black History Month Committee, and a mentor to Ph.D. candidates and other students.