A Teacher's Perspective from Sea
August 2, 2004
When I first thought about joining this research cruise I was intimidated. I am not a scientist -- I am an educator. I felt anxious, nervous, and excited about the whole expedition. But within a short time, those feelings vanished. Everyone I have encountered on the R/V Atlantis has been wonderful. The crew and scientists are amazing people, each with his or her own story, own mission, and own personality. My comfort level has increased tenfold since Day 1.
As the Educator at Sea, I find myself with the unique opportunity to bring real science into the classroom. I will be using the scientific information collected aboard the Atlantis to generate new, interactive curriculum for middle- and high-school age students. By getting my hands wet out here (literally), I will be able to bring my experiences to life back in the classroom. The first quarter of the integrated science course I teach next fall will be devoted to lessons learned during this expedition. My scientific adventures on the Atlantis will add depth and meaning to the content we cover in the class.
I was reminded how strongly students can be influenced by engaging science experiences. Patrick Neumann, an ordinary seaman on the Atlantis crew, was a student at the UCAP school where I teach. UCAP -- or the Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program -- is an independent public school that serves at-risk, inner city students in Providence, RI. Even though Patrick was a student at UCAP 10 years ago, he actually recognized the expedition coordinator, Catalina Martinez, who coincidentally worked at UCAP during the schools first years, long before her time at NOAA.
Being the UCAP science teacher, I just had to find Patrick. I had so many questions running through my mind. When I finally saw him working on the Atlantis, I was filled with a sense of pride.
On Tuesday, August 3, we will initiate a satellite phone call from the deep submergence vehicle (DSV) Alvin's Top Lab on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's R/V Atlantis to the UCAP school in Providence. Hosted by Alvin expedition leader Dudley Foster, the call will occur while the sub explores Denson Seamount at a depth of about 1,500 m.
Students and teachers at UCAP, local media, and representatives from NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration will participate shore-side. Patrick and I will be in Top Lab with scientists from the mission, who will be ready to answer students questions. Catalina Martinez will be in the DSV Alvin with science observer Jason Chaytor and pilot Bruce Strickrott. I am really excited that Patrick will be able to participate in the call!
I may not have been Patricks teacher, but I know I will have 65 "Patricks" waiting for me come September 1.
Interview with Patrick Neumann
WHOI R/V Atlantis
Interview by Carey DeLauder
UCAP Science Teacher.
Ocean Explorer: Patrick, why dont you introduce yourself and tell us how you fit in this "UCAP connection.
Patrick Neumann: Okay. I am a former student of UCAP. Im 25 years old; when I attended UCAP, I was 15 years old. It was a really good school, it helped me to catch up on the grades that I fell behind in. Im here today working on the Research Vessel Atlantis. Im an OS [ordinary seaman], and this is my first cruise on the Atlantis, but Ive been sailing and working on boats since I was 18.
Ocean Explorer: So, how did you feel after you went through all those steps, got your STCW (Safety Training Certificate and Watch-keeping), put together your credentials, and then got word that youd made it onto the Atlantis?
Patrick Neumann: Well, after speaking to Mike Brenen [at WHOI], I went down to Woods Hole with all of my paperwork, and he gets on his computer and says, "All right, Im going to fly you out Monday." And I was like, "Monday, thats next week!" -- and bang, it hit me right there. "Im on! You gotta be kidding me, this is awesome! I left that place like, "Yes, I am on the Atlantis!" It was like winning the Power Ball.
Ocean Explorer: So, that was just a couple of weeks ago?
Patrick Neumann: Yup, just a couple of weeks ago.
Ocean Explorer: You said youve been sailing since you were 18. How did you first get into it?
Patrick Neumann: Well, I was 18, and I needed a job, and my brother got me into the jewelry manufacturing company where he worked. The guy who owned the business was a sailor, and one day he said, "Hey, would you like to go sailing?" And I said, "Sure, why not? Ive never sailed in my life." The first day I was holding on, thinking the boat is gonna flip over, but I got used to it. So a week goes by, and he asks me if I wanted to go again, and the second time it was great.
Ocean Explorer: The jewelry owner took you under his wing?
Patrick Neumann: Yeah, the jewelry owner started taking me out sailing all the time, and sailing became such a great thing. I was like, "I would rather be here working on your sailboat doing grunge work then sitting back in the city of Pawtucket getting into trouble.
Ocean Explorer: Now youre here on the Atlantis! What does the next six months, year, and beyond hold?
Patrick Neumann: The sky is the limit now. Now I have a goal where I want to be a captain of a big ship. I want to get my unlimited captains license.
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