Woods Hole Welcomes Incoming Class of PEP Students

June 4, 2020

Normally, at this time of the year, SEA’s campus would be welcoming the incoming class of college students enrolled in the Woods Hole Partnership Education Program, or PEP, for short. But this summer is different.  Instead of welcoming students in person, on Monday, June 1, they received a warm welcome via Zoom!

"We knew PEP was too important to cancel this summer and so dozens of hands have been working to make a fun, educational and worthwhile summer experience for these students virtually," said PEP Advisor Onjalé Scott Price, PEP and SEA alumna, C-238.

Nearly 50 people attended the opening day presentation as the incoming class of 16 students introduced themselves and described their research interests.  You can meet the PEP 2020 class here.

Created by the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative and the Wood Hole Diversity Advisory Committee 12 years ago, PEP is a 10-week summer program designed to promote diversity among the Woods Hole science community.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Rob Thieler, chair of the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative and director of the US Geological Survey’s Woods Hole Coastal & Marine Science Center, noted that especially now, Woods Hole organizations have a unique platform to promote inclusion and diversity in the Woods Hole science and local community. Despite a challenging year in which most summer programs have been cancelled, he said it was felt that PEP was too important and must continue.

Wrote George Liles, director of the Woods Hole Partnership Education Program, “We decided that PEP had to continue in 2020: the students we serve do not have the luxury of putting their educations and careers on hold for the year or more it will take for the pandemic to pass; likewise, the Woods Hole community does not have the luxury of putting aside its efforts to learn how to become a more inclusive and diverse community.”

Students typically reside on the SEA campus for the ten-week research program, which begins with a 4-week course, Ocean and Environmental Sciences: Global Climate Change, taught by course director and SEA Assistant Professor of Oceanography, Dr. Ben Harden.  Helping Ben is Course Coordinator, André Price, PEP and SEA alum, S-261. Normally taught at SEA’s Madden Center, the course is being taught remotely for 2020. Coursework will be followed by six weeks of research projects mentored by scientists at all six partner institutions, The Marine Biological Laboratory, The Northeast Fisheries Science Center, The United States Geological Survey-Woods Hole, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Woods Hole Research Center, and Sea Education Association.

There are also important career building activities organized by PEP Career Development Coordinator and PEP alumna Kelly Luis. The program ends August 7th when students present their research projects at the PEP Symposium.

Visit the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative for more information.

Contact: Douglas Karlson, Director of Communications | 508-444-1918 | |

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