SEA Currents: News
January 17, 2020
The Many Campuses of SEA Semester
Q&A with Liz Maloney, W-162, Administrative Assistant for the Dean and Faculty. Liz helps manage the remote shore components that play an important role in many SEA Semester programs. She recently returned from two weeks on the South Island of New Zealand, where she worked with students of class S-289 as they participated in a shore component following their voyage.
Q: Everyone is familiar with SEA’s three “campuses,” (Woods Hole, SSV Corwith Cramer, and SSV Robert C. Seamans.) But not everyone is aware of the additional remote shore components that add so much to many of our programs. Can you describe them?
A: Yes, a few of our programs have remote shore components which give students a chance to spend time in beautiful and interesting places either before or after their sea components.
CRX spends about ten days in the Caribbean between their Woods Hole shore component and their time on Cramer. This year they stayed on St Croix, at the Bush Tribe facility near Christiansted. While on the island they spent time learning to conduct the reef surveys that they continued while onboard Cramer, as well as learning more about the history and culture of St Croix.
SPICE concludes their sea component in Auckland and then spends the final ten days of their semester at the University of Auckland’s Leigh Marine Lab. It’s a fairly remote campus on the New Zealand coast about an hour north of Auckland. I’ve heard it’s a beautiful spot for them to have time to wrap up academic work and reflect on the program, while not having to worry about also standing watch and running the ship.
And our newest SEA Semester, C&S, spent about a week on the South Island of New Zealand after leaving Woods Hole. They started with a few days in Christchurch to learn more about the environmental work being done in the area, and then had a grand adventure driving around parts of the South Island to see glacier country on the west coast and Aoraki/Mt Cook in the Southern Alps, before returning to Christchurch and then flying up to Auckland to join RCS.
Q: What role do you play, as the Administrative Assistant for the Dean and Faculty, in organizing these remote campus experiences? What are the challenges, and the advantages?
A: I help the faculty with the logistics for these shore components, reserving places for the group to stay, helping to figure out how they’re going to feed themselves and get around while they’re on shore, etc. The first few times we send a group somewhere there’s a lot of legwork involved researching possible locations and figuring out what’s there in the way of food and transportation options. But once we’ve developed relationships with people in the area, it feels kind of like reaching out to old friends every year. I think the places we visit really love having SEA Semester students come to stay. As we know from living and working with them in Woods Hole and onboard our ships, SEA students are usually really engaged in learning, and are wonderful community members. I think these qualities make them great visitors and guests, and our hosts often comment on how much they enjoy interacting with our groups.
Q: You recently returned from the South Island of New Zealand, where class S-289, Climate & Society, spent a week before going sea. What was that like?
A: It was so wonderful to spend a week with the C&S students during their adventures around the South Island. The group was curious and enthusiastic, and met with lots of really interesting and smart people with different perspectives on how to prepare for and mitigate the effects of climate change in New Zealand. It was fun to get to see them absorb all that our hosts had to offer. Additionally, New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful place, so the backdrop to all of this learning was pretty inspiring!