UOG student sets sail on deep-sea research voyage  

University of Guam undergraduate communication major Gabriella Piper was part of the first cohort of students and educators from the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Student Experiences Aboard Ships (STEMSEAS) program aboard the Exploration Vessel (EV) Nautilus, which set sail for Sidney, British Colombia from Honolulu, Hawa’i on June 15, 2023. 

STEMSEAS is a National Science Foundation-supported program that provides ship-based exploratory experiences for undergraduates from diverse backgrounds aboard research vessels to engage in geoscience and oceanography activities.  

The EV Nautilus is owned by Ocean Exploration Trust, which is under the direction of Robbert Ballard, the researcher known for finding the wreck of the Titanic.   

The 10-day seafloor mapping expedition was sponsored by Ocean Networks Canada.  

Piper joined a cohort of 12 students and instructors and expressed her excitement about this opportunity to learn more about science communication.  

“I still cannot believe it,” said Piper. “It is a little surreal to be honest. When I first applied, I did not expect to get in because of how many people apply to this program every year, so getting the letter of acceptance felt like such a huge accomplishment.”  

Piper found out about the STEMSEAS program during her time as a 2022 Guam NSF EPSCoR undergraduate student researcher when she attended the 2022 Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Conference in Puerto Rico last October. On the way to the event, she was able to connect with a STEMSEAS alum and then later discussed the program with outreach representatives at the conference.  

“My experience with the Student Research Experience Program was incredible and during it I got to network with so many wonderful and unique individuals who helped me discover my passion for science communication,” said Piper. “It is because of the program and the individuals within it that I was able to find this opportunity and learn about the different ways in which I can make a meaningful contribution to the STEM community.”  

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