NOAA 03-824
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani
NOAA News Releases 2003
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Nancy Lewis, a special education teacher at Na’alehu Elementary and Intermediate School in Na’alehu, Hawaii, was honored yesterday evening at a reception on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for her participation in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Teacher at Sea program. Lewis was the NOAA Climate Observation Teacher at Sea, and she sailed aboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana in the eastern tropical Pacific for two weeks in September.

While at sea, Lewis communicated with her students and other classrooms across the country via Webcasts and daily logs on the Internet about the research being conducted. The Webcasts and logs can be viewed online at

The reception was co-sponsored by NOAA and Congressman Ed Case of Hawaii. Although Congressman Case was unable to attend because of a late-breaking vote on the House floor, Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii attended in his stead. He told the gathering that “As a former educator, I give high value to programs that give experience outside the classroom...I want to commend you (Lewis) for the way you reported to the classroom using computers to talk about the buoys and science being conducted....Thank you (NOAA) for the Teacher at Sea program. This is going to help the young people of our country.”

Retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph. D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, said in his speech that “I commend Nancy for her steadfastness in signing up for this program. It takes a great deal of courage and initiative to do so.”

Lewis spoke of the need for programs like NOAA Teacher at Sea to help inspire students to become lifelong learners. “I want to express my appreciation to NOAA for having the Teacher at Sea program,” she said. “It’s an amazing thing to let students have a first-hand view of what scientists do. I think being able to see someone who has done research on a ship will inspire them to go on and embrace the sciences and give us a new generation that knows what’s going on with the oceans and atmosphere.”

Other speakers at the reception included Honorable Sean O’Keefe, NASA administrator, and Tom Nolan, a NASA educator who was the second NASA employee to sail with NOAA under the Teacher at Sea program. Tetsuro Isono of the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center, who sailed aboard Ka’imimoana to learn more about the program so Japanese teachers can participate in the future, spoke of his experiences.

Lewis got first-hand research experience aboard Ka’imimoana as part of the mission to service the TAO/TRITON array, a climate observation system in the eastern tropical Pacific that helps forecasters predict global climate variations such as El Niño. During the cruise, the ship safely weathered a hurricane, hundreds of miles away from land.

NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program is administered by NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations. The program offers teachers from kindergarten through college across the nation an opportunity to gain hands-on research experience aboard NOAA oceanographic, fisheries, and hydrographic survey ships. Teachers develop classroom curricula based on their experiences to help interest and motivate their students to learn about NOAA science. Two NOAA oceanographic research ships are equipped with Web broadcast capability, and the teachers who go on these cruises in conjunction with NOAA’s Office of Global Programs are able to communicate with their own and other classrooms while aboard the ships. They also write daily logs that are posted on the Web.

The NOAA fleet of research and survey ships and aircraft is operated, managed, and maintained by NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations. NMAO includes commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps and civilians. The NOAA Corps is the nation’s seventh and smallest uniformed service, and, as part of NOAA, is under the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Corps is composed of officers – all scientists or engineers – who provide NOAA with an important blend of operational, management and technical skills that support the agency’s environmental programs at sea, in the air, and ashore. For more information, please visit:

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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