- Make plans to attend our 50th Anniversary Celebration
- Expanding their horizons: Grad students share
oceanography with sixth graders
- Corpus Christi team wins A&M regional
- Wormuth named outstanding teacher in College
- Williams receives staff appreciation award
- Department gives heartfelt sendoff to staff
- Swigert joins staff as academic advisor
- Papers requested for Texas water conference
- WOCE offers free atlases from Meteor Expedition
- Graduate council elects officers, representatives
- Thirty years of scientific ocean drilling:
Ocean Drilling Program brings more than
$35 million in research funds to A&M
Make plans to attend our 50th Anniversary Celebration and Symposium
It's our 50th anniversary!
We're inviting friends, former students, staff and faculty to
a weekend of reminiscing and looking to the future on October
The schedule for Friday, October
1, includes tours to campus, the Ocean Drilling Program, and
the Offshore Technology Research Center, where the wave tank
will be demonstrated. Friday evening's reception at the Faculty
Club will be followed by a dinner featuring reminiscences by
oceanography department founders and friends.
The next morning at 8:30 is the
symposium, "Texas A&M Oceanography: Fifty Years of Excellence
Serving the Scientific Community, the State, the Nation and the
World." At noon, a luncheon will honor the department's
first Scherck Chair and the Scherck family, and we'll announce
our Oceanography Development Council and Oceanography Associates
program. In the evening, informal reunions will give you a chance
to spend time with your former colleagues.
for a schedule and a registration card, and make plans today
to join the celebration!
Expanding their horizons
Grad students ahare oceanography with sixth graders
Who says science
can't be fun?
Not the graduate students who
conducted an oceanography workshop for 20 sixth grade girls on
March 27, as part of the national Expanding Your Horizons in
Math and Science conference.
The workshop, dubbed "Something
is Fishy," was complete with water, mud, and curious-looking
organisms. Oceanography graduate students Susie Escorcia, Cheryl
Burden, Beth Jordan and Gwen O'Donnell shared their knowledge
and enthusiasm for oceanography. "It's great to share your
experiences with young girls who share your interests,"
says Escorcia. "From the expressions on their faces, I think
we got our point across that science can be fun. We hope that
they continue on that route as they grow up." The graduate
students and girls cut into a sediment core, measured seawater
salinity with a refractometer, and peered through a microscope
at tiny organisms.
To the top
Corpus Christi team wins A&M regional science bowl
Incarnate Word Academy (Corpus Christi) won the second annual
Texas A&M Regional Ocean Science Bowl, conducted by the department
on February 28.
This year, 19 teams from across
Texas participated in the quiz competition that challenges high
school students to learn about the ocean.
The winning team members from
IWA were Jose Manuel Macias, Marco Passeri, John Barrett, Robert
Boostrom, Vanessa Puente, and coach Nicki Sohn. They advanced
to the National Ocean Science Bowl finals in Washington, D.C.
Second place in the regional bowl
went to A&M Consolidated (College Station) High School. Travis
(Austin) High School won third. Other participating high schools
were: Brenham, Bryan, Calallen (Corpus Christi), Eastland, Flour
Bluff (Corpus Christi), Hanna (Brownsville), International School
of the Americas (San Antonio), John Jay (San Antonio), Klein
Oak (Spring), Madisonville, Math and Science Academy (San Antonio),
New Caney (Conroe), Pearland, Robert E. Lee (San Antonio), Smithville,
The Texas A&M regional tournament
was one of 18 tournaments across the nation coordinated by the
Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE).
To the top
Wormuth named outstanding teacher in College of Geosciences
John Wormuth, professor of oceanography,
received the 1999 College of Geosciences Award for Outstanding
Wormuth has taught at Texas A&M
University for 26 years. His research interests include cephalopods
and the effects of mesoscale circulation features on biological
Patrick Ressler, Ph.D. student
in biological oceanography, calls Wormuth a "master instructor,"
noting that the professor relates his lecture material to real
research problems. "When an instructor with a keen interest
in a subject has respect for student ideas and input, the student
feels rewarded for asking questions," Ressler says. "I
was inspired to learn by John."
Recent graduate Eli Williams says
Wormuth is "most definitely worthy of this award. ... He
does his job with a quiet determination to always improve himself
and his students. Two thumbs up, John."
Elizabeth Harris, M.S. student in biological oceanography, says
Wormuth is a remarkable teacher. "John has a gift for understanding
and conveying information," Harris says. "His desire
that we, his students, learn is earnest; he is willing to explore
any aspect of oceanography that touches our interests, and no
question is refused. "John once told me that he has the
best of all possible worlds with teaching and research here at
Texas A&M University. His actions and concern show this on
a daily basis," Harris says.
At the spring college meeting,
Wormuth received a certificate stating: "Your insight, counsel,
and selfless devotion as an educator and mentor have earned you
the respect and admiration of your students and fellow faculty
members, reflecting great credit upon yourself, the department,
college and Texas A&M University."
To the top
Williams receives staff appreciation award
Administrative assistant Cynthia
C. Williams received the 1999 Support Staff Appreciation Award
for her service to the department's faculty, staff and students.
Williams was recognized at a reception
in April for providing a level of professional support far above
the expected, earning her the well-deserved reputation throughout
the College of Geosciences as a reliable source of corporate
budgetary knowledge and accounting expertise. "Williams
has always been ready to give that extra bit of effort frequently
required to complete a task on schedule, and always with a smile,"
said Dr. Ed Shaar, oceanography operations manager.
To the top
Department gives heartfelt sendoff to staff retirees
Two longtime department employees retired this spring after
a combined 64 years of service. Barbara Childers, senior academic
advisor, and Ken Bottom, head marine technician, were honored
for their dedication at a retirement party June 4 at the Briarcrest
began working for the department in 1970, first as senior secretary,
then academic business administrator, and finally, senior academic
advisor. Known as "the source of corporate knowledge and
memory" for the department, Childers has filled roles of
"people-problem solver, ambassador of good will, mother
figure to graduate students, staff leader, mentor, counselor
and friend to us all," as stated on a plaque she received
June 4. "Department heads have come and gone, but you have
remained the glue that has held the department together for the
last 29 years."
In a short speech to the crowd,
Childers noted that she had started advising "grandstudents;"
the students she had once advised had become professors and researchers
with students of their own. She also thanked her family for their
support. The department gave her a framed print of Benjamin Knox's
12th Man painting. Childers plans to travel and spend time with
head marine technician, retired after 35 years of service to
the department. Ever a fixture on the department's ships, Bottom's
extraordinary knowledge of oceanography equipment has been vital
to keeping the department's ship operations open for business.
Bottom received a plaque which
noted his "nationally renowned analytical expertise at sea;
exceptional ability to provide the necessary technician support,
equipment, and supplies to successfully meet cruise requirements;
and his outstanding mentoring role in the technician support
group." Bottom spoke briefly to the crowd, and thanked his
wife for being the "real hero" of their family. The
department gave him a limited edition Texas A&M golf putter.
Upon retiring, Bottom promptly went on the Gyre for another cruise.
"We hope to see more of him on future cruises," says
Dr. Ed Shaar, oceanography operations manager.
To the top
Swigert joins staff as academic advisor
The department welcomes Pat Swigert to her new position as
Academic Advisor II. Swigert's office is Room 1204 of Eller Oceanography
and Meteorology Building. Contact her at (409) 845-7412 or email@example.com.
To the top
Papers requested for Texas water conference
Texas Water: 2000 and Beyond, a state-of-the-science conference,
will be conducted at Texas A&M University in College Station,
Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, 2000. Contributions for a post-conference
book will be accepted till Feb. 1, 2000. For information, contact
Jim Norwine at kfjrn00@ tamuk.edu, or view the conference's web
To the top
WOCE offers free atlases from Meteor Expedition
The National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences
has arranged for distribution through the U.S. WOCE Office of
volumes 6 and 9 of the German Atlantic Expedition of the R/V
These translations into English
were produced for NSF by the Amerind Publishing Company of New
Delhi. Volume 6 is "Layering and circulation of the Atlantic
Oceans. Sections and maps of temperature, salinity, and density,"
by Georg Wust and A. Defant (1936). Volume 9 is "The distribution
of oxygen in the Atlantic Ocean," by H. Wattenberg (1938).
Both volumes are free. Send requests indicating how many of each
volume you would like to firstname.lastname@example.org
or to the U.S. WOCE Office, Department of Oceanography, Texas
A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3146.
Graduate council elects officers, representatives
The Oceanography Graduate Council elected these new officers
and representatives in April:
President, Beth Jordan; vice president, Jennifer Smith; treasurer,
Rebecca Scott; secretary, Mike Peccinni. Biological section representatives:
Patrick Ressler, Rob Cady. Geological section representatives:
Gwen O'Donnell, Christina Bernal. Physical section representatives:
Ou Wang, Brent Porter. Chemical section representatives: Brian
Jones, Dwight Gledhill. At-large representatives: Kim Mace, Cheryl
Brown, Erla Ornolfsdottir, Matt Meyer, Erick Huchzermeyer, Jeff
Morin, Cheryl Burden, Marcelo Barriero, Dan Bean.
Thirty years of scientific ocean drilling
Ocean Drilling Program brings more than $35 million in research
funds to A&M
In 1983, the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) was established
and its science operations were moved to Texas A&M under
the guidance of the College of Geosciences.
That year, ODP succeeded the Deep
Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) in expanding the knowledge of Earth's
history and natural processes. These two organizations have set
a precedence for geoscience research during the past 30 years,
enabling the international science community to participate on
185 expeditions collecting more than 130 miles of core samples
from below the ocean floor. ODP brings more than $35 million
in outside research funds to the university.
DSDP began in 1968 and was the
first project to scientifically sample the seafloor by deep ocean
coring and downhole logging. International partnerships opened
the door for global collaboration on major scientific questions,
such as historical climate variations, natural hazards studies
and natural resources.
With new technology ODP has been
able to drill deeper, in more difficult rock formations, and
with a more complete set of logging tools. The first significant
advancement was the development of a re-entry cone, allowing
holes to be re-entered after drill bits are changed. With the
advent of hydraulic piston coring, almost completely undisturbed
soft sediment cores can now be drilled. The newest technology
is the CORK (Circulation Obviation Retrofit Kit). These mini
underwater laboratories now allow for long-term observational
Significant discoveries during
DSDP/ODP expeditions include: evidence supporting the hypothesis
of seafloor spreading and plate tectonics; evidence that the
Mediterranean Sea was a desert 5.5 million years ago; evidence
that human evolution in Africa may have been influenced by climate
change; and evidence that an extraterrestrial object hit the
earth 65 million years ago, causing a cataclysmic destruction
that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Other key investigations
have included gas hydrate studies and their potential as a future
energy source, mineral studies about how they are formed and
deposited, and observations and monitoring of global climate
change in order to understand climate variability.
As science operator, Texas A&M
is responsible for maintaining the laboratories onboard the ship
JOIDES Resolution (left), providing technical support for shipboard
scientific teams, managing scientific and drilling activities
before and after each cruise, curating the cores, distributing
samples and data, editing and publishing scientific results,
and providing administrative and logistical support for these
Although the U.S. National Science
Foundation is the major source of funding, ODP now has 21 participating
governments and institutions providing support and science direction.
Visit www-odp.tamu.edu and www. oceandrilling.org for more