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September 17, 2015

Meet Our Faculty: Dr. Jeff Wescott

Anne Broache, communications@sea.edu

SEA Semester

Meet Dr. Jeff Wescott, SEA Semester's newest Assistant Professor of Anthropology.

For the 2015-16 school year, SEA Semester welcomes several new faculty to our roster. Periodically, we'll introduce them to you on this blog.

First up: Meet Dr. Jeff Wescott, our new Assistant Professor of Anthropology. Jeff holds a PhD in anthropology from University of California, San Diego and a BA in Anthropology and Cognitive Psychology from SUNY Buffalo. His research areas and interests include the political, ethical, and cognitive dimensions of human-environment interactions; local/indigenous natural histories; cooperative marine management in Pacific Island communities; and social-ecological complexity and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Over the summer, Jeff taught Conservation and Management and Advanced Ocean Policy Research courses for our Protecting the Phoenix Islands program. Now he's teaching Maritime History and Culture for our Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures and Ecosystems class and preparing to go to sea in the Pacific Ocean at the end of this month. 

What brought you to SEA Semester?
Peter Pan Bus Lines, southbound from Boston in air-conditioned comfort. Before that, I answered SEA’s job announcement posted by the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation in La Jolla, where I was a Fellow as a graduate student. Teaching talented students about ocean communities and environments—the ideal job for me.

What are you most looking forward to about going to sea with your students?
Every student experiences the ocean world with her or his own unique perceptions of its possibilities and limits. As an SEA instructor, I most look forward to learning about the diverse lenses and languages through which students comprehend a place that often resists my own attempts to make sense of it.

If you were ship’s steward for a meal, what would you cook?
Ethiopian cuisine, with injera bread made from scratch. Perfect for promoting commensality at sea—forging bonds through sharing food. Fostering an ethos of teamwork.

What’s something you’d like your future students to know about you?
If you value compassion in yourself and inspire dignity in others, we’ll get along well. Extra points if you can do a decent Jason Statham impression.

How do you like to spend your time outside of teaching?
Spending time with my wife, Melody—supporting animal causes, discovering old films, and stockpiling exceedingly large cans of pinto beans to survive the coming zombie apocalypse in our undisclosed, tastefully appointed underground lair.

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