Written by: Angelique Rosa Marín (PhD Student)
When I received word that I would be sailing aboard the esteemed NOAA Nancy Foster research vessel, I could hardly contain my excitement. Not only would I be trained in hydrography data acquisition, planning, and surveying, something brand new for me, but I would also be working on the Nancy Foster research vessel. Dr. Nancy Foster was a pioneer and visionary for NOAA for many years. Her efforts to increase diversity and represent the marine science community were impactful and continue to be recognized for their importance throughout the years. As a woman and marine scientist in training, it was an honor to join the crew and do science to represent Dr. Foster’s contributions to the field.
This was my first-time being part of a scientific party at-sea. It was impressive to see the workflow, drills, and communication among ship members. We experienced bad weather, but managed it as champions and had a productive time cleaning data and networking. I got the early watch from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. where I was trained to drop and retrieve a probe for measuring sound speed for correcting the multibeam data we were collecting. Also, I learned how to clean and manage data using different programs.
I had the opportunity to meet a fellow Puerto Rican and hear his story about his career in NOAA. I felt proud to know someone from my country, hear his success story, and share our perspective as Puerto Ricans in Oceanography. Engaging with other NOAA scientists and hearing about their next mission was exciting. It was eye-opening to see the mixed professional backgrounds of the crew members and understand their roles in the vessel. I also met undergraduates and other researchers working at USF and learn about their research projects, interests, and career ambitions.
My time in the NOAA Nancy Foster allowed me to meet new people, expand my professional and personal networks, and serve as an example for some of the undergraduate students also on the cruise. I am grateful I had the chance to work with a talented and welcoming group of science professionals, researchers, professors, sailors, students, engineers, and NOAA employees working towards the same scientific goal. It was rewarding to work with dedicated scientists that devote their efforts to discovering the unknown. Another unforgettable experience for the books!