University of Washington GEAR UP Mini-Academy

GEAR UP students on ship at PMELScientists from JISAO and the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) sponsored a half-day educational event (mini-academy) for students with the University of Washington's GEAR UP Honors Academy. The students visited the NOAA Sand Point facility for the event in November 2006, and PMEL Deputy Director Mark Koehn and UW GEAR UP Executive Director Thomas Calhoun were on hand.

JISAO scientists Drew Hamilton, David Butterfield, and Nick Bond along with Deanna Hence and Bri Dotson—graduate students with the UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences, organized and led the day's science sessions.

The morning began on the NOAA docks with a tour of the Research Vessel Miller Freeman (photo). The tour was led by Ensigns David Straus and Jennifer King, NOAA Corps commissioned officers serving on the ship's crew. Drew Hamilton opened up two portable labs being stored on the tarmac along the docks. The labs were equipped with instruments and computers used to measure air quality samples.

GEAR UP students had the rare opportunity to see what life is like aboard a NOAA research vessel and how scientific equipment is housed and transported for specific research projects.

After the tour, students were shown a video of deep-sea hydrothermal vents including recent footage of an erupting underwater volcano. David Butterfield, chief scientist on the 2006 NeMo expedition (New Millennium Observation), talked with students about the significance of NeMo research and the impact of hydrothermal vents on animals that live in the water surrounding the vents.

In the final science session, Nick Bond presented a discussion of high and low atmospheric pressure and the effects on wind patterns in the Pacific Northwest.

Deanna Hence and Bri Dotson demonstrated atmospheric pressure forces using a can-crushing experiment. Both students talked about their academic careers and the many opportunities available to students studying science at the UW. To conclude the presentation, Dr. Bond led students through a wind mapping exercise followed by a video showing dramatic weather events in Washington State.

Honors Academy students had the opportunity to ask JISAO scientists questions about their work and to learn about different educational and career options in the sciences.