(Hayward, Calif., November 13, 2023) - Tess Weathers, Ph.D., E.I.T., and engineering professor at Chabot College (Chabot) in Hayward, California, was recently selected for an inaugural expedition with Science, Technology, Engineering And Math Student Experiences Aboard Ships (STEMSEAS) for community college faculty.
Dr. Weathers was chosen among only 12 community college faculty nationwide to participate in the expedition. Along with other participants, Dr. Weathers sailed on the 274-feet-long research vessel R/V Thompson, from Seattle, Washington, to Honolulu, Hawaii from November 2 through November 11.
“I'm really excited to be a part of the STEMSEAS experience and share everything once I return,” said Dr. Weathers in a video taken on board. “And hopefully get more and more students and faculty out at sea.”
Some of the activities Dr. Weathers and her cohorts conducted during the expedition were plankton and microplastic sampling, dredging tests, short-term research, CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) rosettes and gravity cores of Juan de Fuca sediments.
Since its conception in 2016, STEMSEAS has worked to provide six to ten day exploratory trips, all ship-based, for undergraduates from many backgrounds aboard National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research vessels. Working alongside faculty and graduate students, undergraduate students gain experience with geoscience and oceanography activities with the goal of learning about scientific and career options. After noticing a lack of community colleges and communities of color in the participant lists, STEMSEAS started this specific exploratory trip and others to target those two communities.
This community college faculty expedition aims to prepare future STEMSEAS expedition mentors, provide unique professional development opportunities to community college faculty and encourage students to take part in the STEMSEAS experience.
According to the California Department of Education, students educated in STEM “learn to become problem solvers, innovators, creators and collaborators and go on to fill the critical pipeline of engineers, scientists and innovators so essential to the future of California and the nation.”
Chabot College helps meet that need by placing a strong emphasis on STEM education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Along with professional development for faculty, Chabot has a STEM Center on campus, Building 3900 and Room 3906, where faculty and staff provide resources and programming to support students through their STEM pathway while also retaining and recruiting STEM majors and maintaining a STEM-centric community.
STEMSEAS is funded by the NSF via a Columbia University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania grant. It is also supported by the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System and Office of Naval Research.
Learn more about Chabot College’s STEM Center and programs at https://www.chabotcollege.edu/stem/.
Learn more about STEMSEAS’ exploratory programs at https://mlp.ldeo.columbia.edu/stemseas/.