Meet the Staff

Dr. Leslie Sautter is the Director of Project Oceanica and an Associate Professor of Geology at the College of Charleston. She has just been awarded the 2002 National Marine Education Award by the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA). Congratulations Les!!

Steven Vettese is the Educational Technology Specialist for Oceanica. He is our webmaster and the guru of anything with cords and buttons! He has a Masters in Education in Science and Math.

Jennifer Jolly Clair is the Program Manager for Oceanica's COASTeam Program and a marine educator for SC Sea Grant. She also has her Masters in Education in Science and Math.

Rachel McEvers is Oceanica's Program Manager. She wears all the other hats! She has bachelor degrees in both Public Relations and Marine Biology.

What has the staff been up to?

In February, Steven attended the Geological Society of America conference in Hawaii. He presented an exhibit on Project Oceanica.

The entire staff attended the annual South Carolina Marine Educators Association (SCMEA) conference. It was held at the Penn Center in Beaufort, SC March 8-10. Leslie gave a presentation on her experience from Islands in the Stream and Jennifer presented "COASTeam: New Directions!" We learned a lot, had loads of fun and met great people! For more information on SCMEA visit

Leslie attended the regional NOAA Ocean Exploration Workshop in April. Topics discussed included: Bahama banks (hopefully Oceanica will eventually be involved in this project); shelf studies; expanding fisheries and exploitation of new species, marine protected areas and essential fish habitats; exploring the Gulf Stream and the Florida Current; looking at water columns; the need for a monitoring program (Our recent Transects Proposal would be perfect!!); resource prospecting for drugs and minerals; exploration of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, California and New England. Ocean Exploration is a collaboration of OAR and NOS branches of NOAA. It is a permanent program which was launched from the President's Panel on Ocean Exploration. Islands in the Stream and Deep East were part of this. To visit the Deep East website go to

The annual National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) annual conference is July 20-27 in New London, Connecticut. Jennifer and Leslie will be attending. They will co-present a session on the COASTeam model of teaching and Leslie will present her "Explore Plate Tectonics" workshop. The NMEA website is

The staff has been involved in several events recently. In addition to the Geological Society of America and SCMEA conferences, the entire staff served as judges at the regional science fair in March, Rachel volunteered at the Student Challenge at the South Carolina Aquarium ( in April and Leslie moderated at the regional National Ocean Science Bowl competition in Columbia in February.

Leslie has been traveling to colleges and universities presenting seminars on the Islands in the Stream project and her deep sea submersible dives. She has recently spoken at Emory University, Georgia State, Skidaway, Savannah State, College of Charleston and Brevard College. She has just completed her log of the Savannah Scarp leg of the project which can be accessed at In addition to talking about her experience she has recruited several undergraduates from these colleges to participate in the At Sea! Program. On the May 10th cruise students from both Brevard College and Savannah State traveled to Charleston to participate. Hopefully as her seminar circuit continues she'll be able to interest other students and continue to expand Oceanica's influence.
Current Projects
pictures of the samples on the oceanica website at Just click on the "Sample Repository" button.

Rachel used these sediment samples to assist Elizabeth Rhodes with the Geol 107 student projects for the Spring 2002 semester. The students had to analyze the sediment samples from the Charleston Bump and the Savannah Scarp and create PowerPoint presentations outlining their conclusions and the reasons for the extreme difference in the composition of the samples. The presentations were so good that we hired one of the students, Ben Bertolet, to consolidate them into one polished presentation for the Oceanica website. Keep watching, it should be up soon.

Leslie and Rachel just finished writing a lesson plan for NOAA's Ocean Exploration Galapagos Island Expedition. The purpose of the expedition is to gather more information on the hydrothermal vents at the Galapagos Spreading Center. The lesson plan focuses on seafloor spreading. You can access the Expedition information (and the lesson plan) at
At Sea! Program Update
On March 1, Jenkins High School from Savannah, GA participated in the Leg 003 At Sea! cruise. They've completed their post-cruise workshop and have recently completed their presentations. North Charleston High School students were on board for Leg 004 on May 10. Unfortunately, since it was the end of the school year they will not participate in a post-cruise workshop. We are currently waiting to hear from NOAA regarding At Sea! ship time for next school year.
Two students from Brevard College in North Carolina and two students from Savannah State College also joined us on Leg 004. The students' travel expenses were paid for by the new Oceanica Student Travel Fund. The money in this fund comes from "scholarship" donations from colleges that Leslie visits on her seminar circuit. In the future we hope to increase the fund with Oceanica T-shirt and calendar sales.

We have just developed an instructor's resource guide for the At Sea! program. It provides participating teachers all the information they need for a smooth and enjoyable At Sea! experience for them and their students. Teachers who sign up for At Sea! will automatically receive a guide. Teachers who may be interested can request more information about the program on the At Sea! website Oceanica has just partnered with NOAA's SC Phytoplankton Monitoring Network. Dr. Steve Morton and Kate Schaefer of the SCPMN participated in the May 10 At Sea! cruise and will be contributing to the opportunities and resources available through Oceanica. We truly look forward to the new endeavors this relationship will bring. If your group would like to participate in the phytoplankton monitoring project you can log on to Research/SCPMN/SCPMNmain.htm for more information.
COASTeam Update
The COASTeam Institute for teachers grade 6-8 was held on the College of Charleston campus from June 3-8. The course was sponsored by Project Inquiry, a National Science Foundation grant awarded to Charleston and Berkeley County School Districts, and was open to teachers in those school districts. COASTeam piloted a new program model for the Institute. Each morning, teachers of all grade levels explored a major concept in marine science. During the afternoon sessions, participants separated into grade-level "teams" for more in-depth exploration of grade-specific curriculum standards. The course utilized three instructors - Jennifer Jolly Clair, Dr. Leslie Sautter, and Sue Morrison (marine science teacher at James Island High School); and five master teachers - Dina Ledford, Kathy Brown, Debbie Seifert, James Reed, and Garen McDowell - all of whom are COASTeam "graduates".
The Colleton County COASTeam Middle School Marine Science (MS)2 will be held from June 18-26 at the SC-DNR Bennett's Point facility in the ACE Basin The course is sponsored by Educate Colleton Outdoors, a Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation grant awarded to the SC Department of Natural Resources, and is open to Colleton County teachers. Elizabeth
Rhodes, instructor at the College of Charleston, will join Jennifer and Leslie as instructors for the course; and Dina Ledford and Sally Howard will be master teachers. We are excited about this new partnership and look forward to working with DNR in the future.
COASTeam Aquatic Workshops, 1-credit-hour grade-specific elementary workshops, are still in the planning stage. Jennifer and Stephen Schabel (a masters degree student) are currently working with SC Aquarium staff to develop Kindergarten-2nd grade curricula. Tentative dates for the Aquarium classes are Nov. 2 for Kindergarten, Feb. 8 for 1st grade and March 8 for 2nd grade. Aquatic Workshops for grades 3-5 will be offered the following 2002-2003 school year. A COASTeam cruise with Charleston Explorer set out on May 18. Participants performed a sediment grab sample and a plankton tow, learned about various marine "critters", and explored Morris Island. It was such a success that we may partner up with them for future At Sea! cruises in addition to the cruises on the NOAA Ferrel.

The COASTeam Program has also partnered with the College of Charleston's GEAR UP! Program (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). GEAR UP! will use the COASTeam curriculum as the new science component of their three-week summer program for rising 8th graders. Michelle Hardee, instructor at Coastal Carolina and former COASTeam instructor, will lead the science portion of the program. We are particularly excited about this partnership because we have the opportunity to expose students, rather than their teachers, to the COASTeam curriculum.

To find out more about COASTeam visit
Future Opportunities!
Three grant proposals were recently submitted that would involve Oceanica. Leslie submitted a proposal for a South Carolina Transect Program to NSF. If the grant is approved, the first leg would be in November. The proposal is geared to start Sept. 1. College of Charleston and USC (with Dr. Robert Thunell of the Dept. of Geosciences) will be working together. There will be 5 legs to the transect with the main one off the Charleston coast. The goal is to expand the program to include transects from Wilmington, NC and Savannah as well. There will be a mentoring team, 2 high school students, 2 teachers, 4 undergrads from each school, 4 graduate students from each school, 2 PhD's and 2 Primary Investigators. Eric Tappa from USC will be the technology specialist and Dewey Golub of the Oceanica staff will be in charge of the website. Cruises are scheduled for Nov. 2002, May 2003 and Nov. 2003. Steven will build a transect page on the Oceanica website so that it will be available when the program starts.

The second Islands in the Stream expedition begins this summer. Oceanica will be involved with the education of the expedition. This year's expedition will include several sites along the shelf-edge off of Georgia and South Carolina.

Oceanica's New Staff Additions
Lisa Norman and Chris Gawle will be summer scholars with Oceanica helping to develop a grant for the continuation and expansion of the At Sea! Program.

We have a new education program assistant, Julie Banko. Oceanica is growing by leaps and bounds and her help is greatly needed and appreciated.
Masters in Environmental Studies (MES) student Stephen Schabel is helping Jennifer develop the COASTeam curriculum for the Aquatic Workshops in cooperation with the SC Aquarium.

Sara Saksewski, also an MES student, is developing a wonderful reference guide to native mollusk shells with breathtaking pictures. She's currently involved in many of Oceanica projects and is an integral part of our staff.

Senior John Pennington, who is in charge of Oceanica's Coastal Geology Online, will be working with Elizabeth Rhodes, Mike Thomas and Glenn vonRosenberg this summer to complete coastal erosion study educational resources, including aerial photos of our coast and science summaries for the web page.

As you can see Oceanica is on a roll! We have many projects completed and ongoing as well as several exciting opportunities just over the horizon. We're thrilled with our success so far and feel the ocean's the limit! Don't forget to visit our web site regularly as it is constantly changing and growing. Thank you so much for your support and interest and be on the look out for more Oceanica news in the near future.