What would a physics major from Wheaton College (Illinois) expect to discover at URI Graduate School of Oceanography during the summer? Oceanography, of course. Elizabeth Tan is merging her science background with notions of ecology to help build and develop software for a low-cost underwater weather station to monitor environmental conditions near the seabed. What is the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration? How are organisms living on and within the seabed responding to low DO levels? Elizabeth is participating in the 10-week Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Oceanography (SURFO) program and discovering that a degree in Physics is an excellent preparation for studying oceanography.
The SURFO program primarily targets students who have just finished their junior year and can include laboratory work, data analysis, instrument development, dynamical modeling, even a research cruise. Funding is provided by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences under Grant Number OCE-1757572 within the well-known Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. The REU program aims to provide authentic research opportunities for students with the intent to retain them in a science or engineering field, and better prepare them for careers in these fields.
Featured Image: Elizabeth Tan inserting the camera and dissolved oxygen sensor into its underwater casing for initial testing.