Julia Frankenbach '12

Sea Education Association (SEA) - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute / North Pacific Ocean
Major: Environmental Studies, Minor: Philosophy

This summer, I participated in the Sea Education Association (SEA) Summer Session—an eight-week summer experience in oceanography and nautical science.  During the first four weeks, I studied oceanography, maritime studies, and nautical science at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, cooking and cleaning with my classmates and using the facilities to explore my own areas of academic curiosity.  From my in-class learning and independent research I designed a research project on open-ocean eddies in the North Pacific Ocean which I planned to carry out at sea.  I developed a plan to track ocean upwelling in anti-cyclonic eddies, gather data inside and outside of the eddies I found, and to then identify and interpret any changes in nutrient concentration, temperature, and salinity within these counterclockwise current flows.  

At the end of the onshore component, my instructors, 23 other classmates, and I flew from Woods Hole to Honolulu, HI, where we boarded a brigantine built as a research vessel under sail.  I learned to crew the vessel on a one-month sail across the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco, CA, simultaneously conducting my independent research and preparing a final project.  During the last two weeks of the voyage, the sailing of the ship was entirely in the hands of the students.  The experience was transformative for my understanding of science as well as for my confidence as a scholar and as an independent and resourceful individual.