NOAA 2000-810
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani


Six students and a teacher from South Broward High School in Hollywood, Fla., will get hands-on research experience aboard the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown this summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. As participants in the school's marine science magnet program, the students will be studying underwater volcanoes at the Juan de Fuca Ridge off the coast of Oregon from July 20 to Aug. 4.

"For years teachers have had the opportunity to get this type of experience through NOAA's Teacher at Sea program, but this is the first time a group of high-school students has come aboard for a research cruise," said Capt. Roger L. Parsons, NOAA Corps, commanding officer of Ronald H. Brown. "We're looking forward to working with these kids, in hopes of motivating them to become future marine scientists."

The students will be assisting NOAA scientists with the Vents program, which conducts research on the impacts and consequences of submarine volcanoes and hydrothermal venting on the global ocean. Activities will include deployment of geophysical and hydrothermal instrument systems; sampling and mapping of geochemical, suspended matter and water column properties; and continued geological mapping of the Axial Volcano.

An enhanced monitoring capability will be deployed at Axial, providing continued sampling of the seafloor environment and near realtime delivery of collected data to NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Newport, Ore. Additionally, the students will gain first-hand knowledge of life aboard ship by being assigned duties in the deck, steward and survey departments as well as standing bridge watches.

In preparation for Brown, the students have taken an intensive three-day training course from merchant marine trainers on a ship bridge simulator. During the cruise, they will be required to keep a log of technical information and work experiences, and to use this information to create a fictional story about a character aboard a research vessel.

The intent of the South Broward County Marine Science Magnet Program is to provide senior high school students with unique opportunities to gain knowledge, develop skills, and ultimately enter careers in the field of marine science. Participants gain a definitive respect for the marine environment. In addition, the program fosters initiative, integrity, honor and leadership in a diverse multicultural society. NOAA has become one of the program's "Partners in Education," in which a number of marine-related organizations work with the students to enhance their learning experiences.

As part of the magnet program, the students have spent three summers getting various types of outdoor, hands-on marine experience. They have helped community members with scientific research and work-related tasks through a program called BEACH, or Building Awareness through Career Training and Hands on Experiences. Their activities have included coral reef mapping, ocean water sampling, coastal dune vegetation mapping, fishing boat work, and paleoecology, where they've helped uncover dinosaur bones from an ancient seabed in the Midwest. The cruise aboard Ronald H. Brown will be their most intensive experience to date.

As part of the NOAA fleet of research ships and aircraft, Ronald H. Brown is operated and managed by the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, composed of civilians and commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps, the nation's seventh uniformed service. Ronald H. Brown, named for the late Secretary of Commerce, was commissioned in 1997. It is among the most technologically advanced seagoing research platforms in the nation, and has meteorological and ocean data-collecting capabilities that are unique in the U.S. civilian fleet.

South Broward High School teacher Ted Davis selected the participating students based on their grade point average, teacher recommendation, student essay, and prior ocean experience. Recent magnet program graduate Jason Chockley will accompany the group as an assistant to Ted Davis. The other five attending are: Vito Maselli, 11th grade; Vincent J. Russo, 12th grade; Darin Tonks, 11th grade; Andy Alvarez, 12th grade; and Erik Davis, 11th grade.

For more information about Ronald H. Brown, please visit the ship's Web site at:

Information about the Vents program can be found at: