The College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS) has received its largest private gift to date—a $2 million donation to fund sea-going experiential learning aboard Oregon State University's large research vessels.
This gift will fund the equivalent of 10 days of ship time to host two, five-day classes in each of the next five years. One class will be modeled after the successful Introduction to Field Oceanography cruise, an undergraduate course during which students collected samples on the central Oregon shelf to better understand land-ocean connectivity, carbon cycling and sediment ecology.
The other five-day cruise will support a graduate-level sea-going experiential learning class, the first of which was held in spring 2014. This inaugural oceanography "boot camp" attracted 11 students from three institutions. The students deployed and piloted two autonomous underwater gliders, captured underwater video, collected data on water chemistry and phytoplankton and monitored currents as well as upwelling and downwelling events.
CEOAS Interim Dean Roy Haggerty said securing the donation was a collective effort and demonstrates the college's intrinsic giving culture. "Thanks to all the CEOAS leaders and especially to Associate Dean for Research Jack Barth and our OSU Foundation development officer Doug Brusa for helping to make this fantastic opportunity a reality," he said. "We also thank the donor for helping us to provide students with at-sea research opportunities. These real-world experiences are vital for future leaders, scholars and practitioners."
Private support from donors complements a State of Oregon research vessel funds program administered by Oregon State. The gift also comes on the heels of a record high in research funding for the university.