Gray's Reef Expedition 2004

Daily At-Sea Logs


May 19, 2004

Well, today is my last full day on the Nancy Foster, and unfortunately, this is my last log. It seems like only yesterday, we were boarding the ship and meeting everyone. Now, we are finishing our sampling, organizing our data, and preparing for our last few hours aboard the ship. As I reflect on the entire experience, I feel lucky to have been asked to participate in this adventure to Gray’s Reef. A desire to learn more about our oceans is kindling as a result of this amazing experience.

Throughout this expedition, you have been following along as I learn more about fisheries science and get adjusted to ship-life; however, you know little about me. Therefore, Greg has asked that I write about myself, so here goes. I am student at the Graduate School at the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. working towards my master’s degree in teaching; I hope to teach middle school science one day.

Science education is a path that I have been traveling down for many years. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geology in 1997, I worked for the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission as Manager of the Dry Falls Interpretive Center in Coulee City, Washington. There, I had the opportunity to explore the rich geologic history of the western United States, as well train others in communicating science to the general public. Wanting to return closer to my family and friends, I served as Program Coordinator for the Lowcountry Hall of Science and Mathematics at the College of Charleston. I had the opportunity to work with teachers and scientists as I developed and managed programs designed for improving science teaching and learning. While working full time, I obtained my master’s degree in science and math education, which seemed like a natural fit with my professional experience. I left Charleston after graduation and headed for our nation’s capitol. In Alexandria, VA, I served as Curriculum Developer for the American Geological Institute and worked as part of a small writing team in the development of an Earth system science textbook for the middle grade levels. This experience provided me with many opportunities to enrich my science understanding, as well as research teaching strategies that work best in science classrooms. Being drawn back to Charleston, S.C. in 2003, I decided to return to school to pursue a teaching degree. So here I am back at the College of Charleston; I will finish my degree in December 2005.

While hearing my call to teach, as well as seeking out opportunities to continue my own learning, the timing of this experience aboard the Nancy Foster could not have been more precise. I have always been excited to learn about our oceans from a geologic standpoint, but our living oceans have not intrigued me nearly as much… that is, until now. Having the opportunity to explore Gray’s Reef, along side of scientists and other graduate students, is a learning experience that few classrooms can offer. The excitement associated with pulling fish traps aboard, watching the ROV video footage, or listening to the scientists recall their experiences is something that engages the learner as well as the veteran scientist, alike.

Exploring this reef system has greatly influenced my thinking about these dynamic environments and will impact my teaching, as a result. It will provide a context for which I can hook students in science. Photos (like the one of the Shark Sucker), coupled with stories from the ship, will spark students’ interest in science, as well as inspire them to begin thinking about career options. I encourage other teachers to participate in this kind of learning experience where one can learn directly from scientists and technicians who possess a wealth of experiences and understanding that few textbooks convey. This was, truly, an opportunity of a lifetime!

Thank you for following along with us in Gray’s Reef. I hope you have enjoyed your adventure as much as I have.

Elizabeth Rogers


Ph. 843-953-7263
Project Oceanica
Dept. of Geology & Environmental Geosciences
College of Charleston
Charleston, SC 29424
Fax 843-953-7850