By Fred Gorrell, Public Affairs Officer - NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
April 30, 2017
Students from two maritime academies in high schools from Houston, Texas, joined the regional winners of the National Ocean Science Bowl from a third Houston high school, to tour NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, America’s ship for ocean exploration, while the ship was docked in Galveston.
“We have a lot of problems getting students excited about math and science,” said Linda Clary, an instructor at Jack Yates High School’s Maritime Academy. “Visits such as this help. Students say they could work here if they could get the math and science behind them.”
Yates High School students were on a special morning tour of NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in Galveston, Texas, where the ship is making a port call after completing the second of two expedition segments that featured live video from the seafloor to scientists and other audiences ashore.
During the expedition, the Okeanos Explorer delivered live video from the seafloor via high-definition cameras on the program’s undersea robots called ROVs, for remotely operated vehicles. Scientists afloat and ashore provided live audio comments on the streaming video in real time. The ROV cruises were preceded by a mapping cruise and additional mapping operations are scheduled after the ship departs Galveston. The Okeanos Explorer program has been exploring marine species, gas seeps, and shipwreck sites and mapping poorly known areas of the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Fifteen students and teachers from Yates toured the ship and its state-of-the-art exploration sensors and systems on the morning of April 30. Students and teachers from Houston’s Stephen F. Austin High School, which also offers a Maritime Academy, toured the ship in the afternoon. They were joined by students from Houston’s Langham Creek High School, who won the regional National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) competition.
“What I really liked was the ship’s control room and the roles everyone plays to make ocean exploration come together,” said eleventh-grade Yates student Jerome Singleton.
Yates High School is also a magnet program for communications offering education and training in broadcast TV, radio, print, and photography, and a teacher from Yates videotaped the school’s visit to the ship.
“It was like going to an IMAX theater,” said Stephen F. Austin High School student Fernando Mendez referring to the high-definition camera images taken by ROVs Seirios and Little Hercules. “I couldn’t believe they could go that deep and capture video that has never been seen.”
Christina Tremel, a student on the team that won regional NOSB competition, said she wanted to become an oceanographer or geologist. “I really liked the high-definition pictures of the explorations,” said Tremel.
The NOSB is a nationally recognized and highly acclaimed high school academic competition that provides a forum for talented students to test their knowledge of the marine sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, and geology.
Later in the week, a tour is scheduled for the NOAA Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. “The sanctuary was fantastic in supporting our Gulf of Mexico expedition,” said Kelley Elliott, expedition coordinator for the second segment featuring live videos from the seafloor. “Sanctuary employees have been great partners in getting the word out and making this expedition as successful as it was.”