For this post I'm moving away from the physical science and getting into what we will call the social science. Basically I just wanted to celebrate the diversity of people that I was surrounded by during my time at sea. It was such a great experience and I really do hope that it continues to be valued and is increased in the future.
ll start with the most obvious piece of diversity, to me at least. Surprise surprise, there were three black, female scientists on this leg, including myself. Dope, right? I know! Everyone either had a graduate degree or they were working on one. Dr. Gerard is a Marine Ecologist for the NOAA FORCES lab in Miami, FL and Adrianne is working on her Masters in Marine Biology at FAMU, while also interning with the FORCES lab. Me? Well, I'm just along for the ride, JK JK. I did and internship with the FORCES lab in 2009, back when they were the Early Life History (ELH) lab and now I just like to hangout across the street from them at UM.
But wait, that's cool and all but you won't believe this next part. We all are members of Historically Black Greek Letter Organizations, Delta Sigma Theta and Alpha Kappa Alpha, coincidence, I think not. These orgs simply overflow with awesomeness. If you don't know much about them check out the National Pan-Hellenic Council Homepage for general info on all 9 orgs.
The awesome diversity of the science crew doesn't stop there. The science crew included a scientist from Puerto Rico who currently works for Seagrant, a scientist from the Dominican Republic working for the National Authority of Maritime Affairs (Autoridad Nacional de Asuntos Maritimos) in the Dominican Republic and a scientist from St. Thomas who is a Professor of Physical Oceanography at the University of the Virgin Islands. We also had science party members who have ties to Switzerland and Lithuania.
The science party also ranged in age, research backgrounds and gender. The youngest person is 23, we won’t get into how old the oldest person is but let’s just say somebody graduated college in the 90’s (wink wink). Some folks are close to 30 and in their early 30’s which I think is an awesome time in like. Its a time when you know you have to get you stuff together, its also a time when you know you still have some time to get your stuff together. LOL!
As far as research backgrounds we have physical oceanographers, biological oceanographers, ecologist, fisheries scientists, meteorologist, environmental scientists and a wide range of expertise within each of those fields.
We also only have 5 guys on the science party, out of a total of 14 party members (Who runs the world? … GIRLS/WOMEN/LADIES).
The actual ship crew is pretty diverse too, I'm sad I didn't get more pictures of folks. On the ship you have your NOAA Corps officers who do the ship operations, like driving the ship but there are also a large group of ship engineers and Deck crew who are not NOAA officers but keep the ship going. A lot of these guys have had military training from the army or navy and have decided to work with NOAA after leaving the service. I haven’t had a chance to talk to everyone but just looking around and listening I can see and hear a mix of cultures. You have folks from all over the US. Then you have some people who were born in other places like the Philippines. There are about three women between these different crews and one woman is African American (just thought you’d like to know). Side note: big ups to all the Universities in Raleigh, she also played Basketball at Shaw University. If you didn’t know, Raleigh is where it’s at, not Chapel Hill where that other school is, jk jk ... but really ... I'm serious.
As far as ages of the crew I’m thinking we have anywhere from mid 20’s to about mid 50’s. This range in ages means that there are a lot of jokes that just go over some of our heads, but in the end I still smile and nod.
Overall there are a lot of folks from all walks of life out there on the water, I just scratched the surface of our differences. You may not be like everyone else around you and that’s OK, you have something to add that is different and that’s AWESOME! A diverse team means that when there are problems, it can be looked at from multiple angles and then handled in a way that can help everybody progress. Bottom line: with diversity, everyone wins so we should all do what we can to make sure it continues and increases over time.
Well folks, this is my last post about the cruise, I hope you enjoyed the ride. Check back in September, I should have something good for you by then.