SEA Currents: Woods Hole Partnership Education Program
August 04, 2020
PEP a “Virtual” Success
Just over a decade ago, the Woods Hole Partnership Education Program (PEP) was founded. Its goal: to attract a more diverse workforce to the Woods Hole scientific community. Every summer, students from underrepresented communities come to Woods Hole, stay on the SEA campus, participate in academic coursework and conduct research internships. This summer was different. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was virtual. We asked PEP Acting Director Onjalé Scott Price how things went.
Q: This summer’s Partnership Education Program (PEP) will soon be coming to a close. This summer, the program was held virtually, rather than Woods Hole. What role did you play, and how do you think the program has gone so far?
A: The program has received overwhelming positive feedback from the students, so I'd say it has gone very well. Our PEP staff, which includes several PEP alum, put together really useful and interesting career development activities, coding and computational workshops and office hours, and multiple cohort building activities. I am incredibly proud to have been Acting Director for most of the summer, managing this great staff and getting to know all the students.
Q: How did students respond to working online? Were the research internships successful?
A: Our PEP mentors have been amazing this summer. They have really engaged the students in this virtual environment, including having conversations about how the data they are using was collected and why their project/research is important. The students will present their research at the symposium on Friday, August 7, so we will see the culmination of their hard work. From what I have seen in their practice presentations so far, I would say the internships have been a success!
Q: Do you think this summer’s program will inspire students to pursue careers in the marine and environmental sciences?
A: Throughout the summer we spent a significant amount of time discussing career opportunities, graduate school opportunities and paths back to Woods Hole. We hope to have encouraged these students to continue their careers by promoting the various avenues to get to where they want to go. We truly hope these students come “back“ to our community along their journey.
Q: The final symposium is set for August 7th? What can we expect, and how can people participate?
A: The symposium is Friday, August 7 from 9-11AM EST and 1-3PM EST. Attendees can read the titles, abstracts and register here. Attendees can expect to see the intern's 15 minute presentations, with a few minutes for questions.