Future marine scientists tour the Point Sur research vessel

About 25 high school students across the Coast are more prepared to become our next marine scientists and researchers.
Updated: Jun. 25, 2019 at 4:17 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - About 25 high school students across the Coast are more prepared to become our next marine scientists and researchers.

They are all attending the first ever Ocean Science and Technology Camp, sponsored by USM and the Gulf Coast Research Lab. Tuesday’s lesson plan included taking a tour of the Point Sur research vessel.

The students boarded the vessel ready to learn. The robotic arms on the unmanned underwater vehicle, also called ROV, helps search for sunken ships in the Gulf. The students learned about controlling it and what to look for while out at sea.

But one lesson that stood out to one student was the teamwork involved in the process.

“I got to learn how all those scientists work together, even though they had a different background. One was on marine biology. The other was in biology. There was even a geologist. They all came and worked together,” said student Payton Gabrielson.

Steering the ship is no easy task, but many of these students feel at ease in this environment.

“I grew up on the Coast. I grew up around the water. The port of Gulfport is like right out my backdoor when I was younger, so I love the water. It just really intrigued me when I was little,” said student Kaitlyn Chennault.

This learning experience definitely encouraged some of the students to pursue a career in this field.

“Well, I like the water and the Gulf of Mexico, and I want to be one of these oceanographers and be an engineer or one sort of [similar to] what they do,” said student Drew White.

For some of the students, following in family footsteps is important.

“It definitely interests me. It has interested me my whole life. [I’m] looking up to my father, who does this for a living. He works with the Navy. It’s kind of like a life’s dream or dream job,” said student Andrew Emmer.

The professors and instructors were excited and grateful to have such inquisitive students, whose questions were deeply thought out.

“The students here, they’re not just excited about all of the tech and the gadgets. They were asking us questions about biology and microbiology and the things that really make, the nerds that are my crew of scientists, really excited,” explained oceanography professor Leila Hamdan.

The students are just as excited about a possible life on the high seas. The Ocean Science and Technology camp runs through the end of this week.

The Point Sur was the same vessel researchers were on when they captured a video of a giant squid. The video went viral and was the first time a giant squid was captured on film in US waters.

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