Where are you from, and what is your role in Extreme 2002?
I am a graduate student pursuing my master's degree in Marine Biology/Biochemistry at the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies. My role in Extreme 2002 is as one of the education coordinators, along with Hepsi Zsoldos. We will serve as links between the scientists and crew on Atlantis and the thousands of students participating in the cruise with us via the Internet. Hopefully, through our work, the students and the teachers will feel like they are actually onboard Atlantis and down in Alvin with us. To be able to accomplish these goals, we will be using video, photos, and interviews which will be relayed back to shore via computer technologies.
What questions are you trying to answer and why?
Since I am on the cruise as an education coordinator, my focus is not on my research (which I wouldn't be able to do out in the Pacific since I work on horseshoe crabs!). While I'm not trying to answer any specific questions, I will be looking to provide lots of other people with answers to theirs.
Why is this research important? What are the benefits?
This research is cutting edge. No one even knows what benefits or discoveries could come out of this research. So little is known about the vent communities that exist in the oceans the possibilities are endless. The importance of the work that I will be doing on the cruise is immeasurable. The live, interactive Web site will provide thousands of students with an experience that they would otherwise not be able to have. This is a rare and exciting opportunity for them. Hopefully, it will peak someone's interest in exploring a marine science career. If not, perhaps it will help someone understand the amazing diversity of environments and organisms that exist on Earth.
What's your background and what lured you into marine science/education?
Growing up on a river, I was hooked on marine science from about age three. Despite the tendency for children of all ages to constantly change their idea of "what they want to be when they grow up," I never did. I always wanted to be a marine biologist. To that end, I attended Boston University and received a degree in Marine Science and am now pursuing my master's at the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies. I have also been fortunate enough to have held a couple of jobs along the way that put me in the role of a marine educator in an atypical teaching environment such as on a boat or in the field, which will be an advantage for me on this cruise.