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Transect Program Alumni


Where are They Now?

We try very hard to keep track of our 40 Transect Alums.
Many are still involved with some aspect of marine science research or teaching,
while others have pursued alternate paths. Whatever path, we are proud of them all!

So far we've caught up with:

Transect Program Alumni
LEG 01
Nov. '03 - May '04
LEG 02
May '04 - July '04
LEG 03
Nov. '04 - May '05
LEG 04
May '05 - July '05
Dan Boles Nicole Abdul Michelle Bahm Willis John Casey
Dave Couillard Phil Antman Alison Cawood Tom Smith
Brett Floyd Caroline Dietz Hunter Lauren Halloran Ben Stone
Jen Fountain Hannah Giddens Chris Stubbs Sam Crickenberger
Elizabeth Rogers Joyner Sean Hitchman Liz Symon Felicia Eason
Brad Schondelmeier Brooke Pehr Ransom White Lester Proctor
Meghan Chafee Sherena Coachman Ryan Yaden Christina Skalit
Travis Debnam Wes Dukes Adriane Cushman Potter  
Nathan Garcia Chris Giguere Scott Fitzgerald  
Glen Landon Cecilia Lewis Ross Martin  
Marilyn Laserna   Dana Hughlett McLeish  

Amanda Thomas


Oceanica Staff and other Transect colleagues
Leslie "Doc" Sautter Keith McCullough Trent Tinker
Gorka Sancho Rachel McEvers Bassett Steve Stancyk
Scott Harris Dewey Golub Jamie Philips

(Also, see our Seafloor Mapping Alumni page)






Philip Antman
Leg 02 participant
Marine Biology Major, graduated 2005

Current Position: Marine Fisheries Observer

 I just got a job working for REMSA as a Marine Endangered Species Observer. I go on dredge ships, and inspect the dredge equipment after they perform each dig, to see if they have captured any endangered or protected species. REMSA also does other types of work, with sea turtle nesting beaches on the east coast, and helping out with the stranding network.

Former Position: Works with a non-government fisheries management organization in Costa Rica.

"The fisheries project here in Costa Rica is going well. We only have until the end of the year, then maybe I'll be back home for a while. I also have started playing a good bit of music down here. I am playing mostly samba music, mixed with rock and funk, because I met some brazilians, and a chilean guy too, who all love the music. So now I have the best of all three worlds: a fun science job, good waves, and work playing good music." (08-19-08)
[Phil is also in a band (he used to play percussion for Sol Driven Train), Mandinga in Costa Rica!]


phil1Costa Rica


(Leg 02 photo) brooke


Brooke Pehr
Leg 02 participant
Masters of Environmental Studies Program (CofC), graduated 2005
Current Position: NOAA Coastal Services Center

Brooke has been working at the NOAA Coastal Services Center for about 2 1/2 years. Most of the work she does is coastal conservation-related, working with land trusts and other conservation organizations. She says, "...It's not exactly marine science, but at least I'm around talk of it!" (08-19-08)


Chris Stubbs
Leg 03 participant; Leg 04 Asst. Scientist;
2007 Beam Team
Geology Major, graduated 2006
Current Position: Grad student, UC Santa Barbara

Stubbs is developing and testing a new design for a seafloor lander housing an Imagenix multibeam sonar which will be used to study methane hydrate formation in the Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2009.  The sonar will be adapted for repeated scanning to quantify methane bubbles from deep-water (1000-1500 m) hydrocarbon seeps.  The project is funded by the Department of Energy and the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute.  He is also working with the RESON corporation to develop calibrations and methodologies for surveying full water-column returns.  He is enjoying grad school greatly and is perfectly happy to talk about opportunities concerning sonar work and/or grad school with any of Doc's students past or present! (08-19-08)


(Leg 01 photo)Dave

Dave Couillard
Leg 01 participant
MS in Marine Biology, CofC, graduated 2006
Current Position:
USDA Vegetable Lab, Charleston

"I work on crops in the genus Brassica (i.e. cole crops), more specifically broccoli and collards.  My duties are split between the field, the greenhouse and the laboratory, sometimes all in the same day.  Our goal is to create aesthetically pleasing and nutritious broccoli using traditional breeding techniques (no GMOs!).  Our field material is generated in the greenhouse by manual pollinations.  These new genotypes are compared to existing commercial varieties in the field.  In the laboratory I am creating a genetic linkage map on a population of doubled haploid broccoli.  After the map is created we will do quantitative trait loci (QTL) analyses.  This is an attempt to find genetic markers associated with desirable phenotypic traits in broccoli heads and plants such as small bead size, firmness, and high nutritional content." (08-20-08)


Caroline Dietz Hunter
Leg 02 participant
Marine Biology major, graduated 2006
Current Position: Manager, Fish Facility at Children's Memorial Research Center, Chicago (Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine)

"I'm enjoying work, learning a lot, but none
the less, anxious to get back into the marine field. However, I'm thinking of possibly staying near the medical field, so something more
like marine biomedicine. I'm growing more curious about bioluminescence and the use of fluorescent proteins (cloned from jellies/ corals/anenomes) as markers. Right now, I have a transgenic line of fish that glow green when they're babies and then turn bright
red as the protein matures.
"Everyone is doing very well. Chad is getting ready to start his last year of classes and working on his dissertation. Jocelin is 2.5 going on 25. She's quite a talker and maybe a little too clever for her own good. But hilarious and a sweet kid." (08-20-08)


caroline2Jocelin, age 2.5

(Leg 01 photo) brett

Brett Floyd
Leg 01 participant
Geology Major, graduated 2005
Current Position: Grad student, U Arkansas

Brett worked in environmental consulting for a year and a half and is now starting his second year at the University of Arkansas working on a MS in Hydrogeology.

"I am looking at human impacts on a small lake here in Fayetteville. I am also teaching labs. I taught a Structural Geology lab last fall and a Hydrogeology this past spring as well as introductory geology labs. I really enjoy the teaching. Hopefully I'll finish up here by next May or June. Then I have no idea what the plan will be for me. I have considered applying to the NOAA Corps. I just know I want to go back to the coast. I miss the salt in the air and the water." (08-20-08)


Lauren Halloran
Leg 03 participant, , Leg 04 Assistant Scientist
Marine Biology major, graduated 2006
Current Position: Graduate student, MS in Biotechnology and Management at Carnegie Mellon University

"This interdisciplinary program is a great mix of science, business, and policy, which spans across three CMU graduate schools: the Tepper School of Business, the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, and the Mellon College of Science. I  worked full time this summer at Pittsburgh Lifesciences Greenhouse (I will be working there during school too)" (08-20-08)



(Leg 04 photo)Allie

Alison Cawood
Leg 03 participant, Leg 04 Assistant Scientist
Marine Biology Major, graduated 2005
Current Position: Grad student, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

"I'm working on my PhD in Biological Oceanography at Scripps in San Diego.  I'm getting ready to start my third year.  My thesis work involves jellyfish population dynamics in eutrophic areas.  I spent a large part of the summer teaching a marine invertebrates course to high school students, which was a blast.  I'm also involved with a project to digitally image and classify zooplankton.  Not too long ago, I put in a proposal with some other grad students to look at plastic particles in the North Pacific Gyre.  So, I'm overextended, as usual, but enjoying it! " (08-22-08)

(Leg 04 photo) JohnCasey

John Casey
Leg 04, graduated 2006
Current Position: Research Technician, Phytoplankton Ecology Lab/Marine Particle Imaging Lab- Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

John is currently involved in the Bering Sea Ecosystem Study as well as the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study and several projects combining flow cytometry with molecular, metagenomics, and radioisotope tracers. Visit the lab group's website to learn more at:


Ben Stone
Leg 04 participant
Marine Biology major, graduated 2006
Current Position: Graduate student, Masters of Environmental Studies Program, College of Charleston

"Alaska was a blast!  I spent my summer working for the nonprofit group Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association (KRAA) and Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) monitoring salmon runs.  I worked at various remote camp sites accessible only by boat or float plane.  My job duties included working on weirs identifying, counting, and sampling various salmon species (mostly sockeye “Red” salmon) which were also very delicious.  I also installed and maintained a barrier net for a terminal harvest of salmon.  I would then go out on a skiff and sample the salmon caught by purse seiners, but unfortunately the salmon did not return in big enough numbers for the fisherman to take the time to fish for them.  All in all it was a great experience.  I have never seen so much wildlife before.  I now have a better baseline knowledge of what undeveloped means.  I am currently working on a masters in environmental studies at the College of Charleston.  My interests are wildlife and natural resource management." (09-15-08)



(Leg 02 photo)sean

Sean Hitchman
Leg 02 participant
Marine Science Major, USC, graduated 2006
Current Position: Grad student, Univ. of San Diego

"I am still at the University of San Diego working on my Masters degree in Marine Sciences.  My thesis title is "Larval dispersal and population structure of bocaccio, Sebastes paucispinus, in the southern Califonia Bight".  Basically I am using GIS and molecular methods to track the dispersal patterns of bocaccio larvae and try to determine the degree of connectivity among the local bocaccio populations." (09-19-08)


Ransom White
Leg 03 participant, Beam Team 2007
Geology major, graduated 2006
Current Position: Freelance hydrographic survey tech
and temp sedimentologist with SC DNR

"We are working on a contract for the British Government to chart areas of the North Sea, specifically the areas immediately East of the Orkney Islands, Scotland.  We are using a Reson 7125 equipped with 200 kHz and 400 kHz sonar heads.  Data will be used in marine navigation charts and/or scientific archives.  Our research is part of a 10 year contract to map areas including the Shetland Islands and other locations East of Scotland." (09-15-08)


ransom (Where are the dreads?)




Brad Schondelmeier
Leg 01 participant
Marine Biology major, graduated 2004
Current Position: Pelagic Fisheries Biologist for the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

"I now live and work in Gloucester, MA and am sampling the Atlantic herring fishery from Maine to Rhode Island. I am documenting bycatch in the herring and soon-to-be Atlantic mackerel fishery; dockside and occasionally at sea. I got to go on a research trip with Gulf of Maine Research Institute, looking at localized school depletion and herring behavior through use of a gear-mounted camera.
"This summer has been unbelievable; cruising across Stellwagen Bank, seeing mile-long whale feeds off of Provincetown, hauling gear, tagging bass, and even catching a 120 pound bluefin tuna! I have to thank you guys for the opportunity you gave me through the Transects Program, it really was the single experience in college that helped me confirm that this is what I wanted to do. " (10-08-08)



Jennifer Fountain
Leg 01 participant
Marine Biology Major, graduated 2005

Current Position: Graduate student, Marine Biology, College of Charleston

"I'm beginning my third (and last) year at CofC in the graduate program in marine biology. I got engaged in July and will get married May 16, 2009. Currently, I'm frantically trying to finish writing my thesis. I'm also helping to write a grant that would expand and extend research on my thesis topic for an additional two years. My thesis research utilizes microsatellite DNA markers as a tagging method to experimentally test for the optimum stocking strategy of striped bass in the Ashley River (it's a mouthful!). I don't know what I'll be doing after graduation, although I will be in Raleigh, NC for a few years. Hopefully, I'll become gainfully employed at a university or biotechnology company in the area. I have to say I really enjoyed the transects program I miss being out on a boat, so if you ever need a warm body to help out let me know." (09-25-08)






Elizabeth (Rogers) Joyner
Leg 01 participant
Geology B.S. (1999) and
Masters of Arts in Teaching, graduated 2005
Current Position: Science Lab Teacher,
Memminger Elementary, Charleston, SC

"Teaching hands-on science is a fun job!  The majority of Memminger students have had limited exposure to science as a process, so they are a fun bunch to teach.  They are always excited to come and see what science has in store for them today!  

Do you like being around children and you live in the Charleston area?  If so, swing by and see what's up in the lab!" (09-29-08)


Michelle (Bahm) Willis
Leg 03 participant
Marine Biology major, graduated 2006

After graduating from the College of Charleston with a BS in Marine Biology, Michelle went on to work for the Department of Natural Resources' MARMAP group in Charleston, SC.  She worked there for a year before getting married to Sam Willis, and moving to east Tennessee.  Currently, Michelle is focusing on GRE prep and plans to move back to Charleston with Sam in January 2010 where she hopes to persue an MES degree from the College of Charleston. (10-15-08)


michelle(Leg 03 photo)




Hannah Giddens
Leg 02 participant
Marine Biology major, graduated 2006
Current Position: Graduate student, Graduate Program in Marine Biology, CofC

"Transects led me to work under CofC's Dr. Erik Sotka in a chemical and molecular ecology lab under the College's SURF program.  Following my summer independent research I became a full-time technician for Dr. Sotka, which also allowed me to continue the research that I had started as an undergraduate.  In 2007 I became a technician for NOAA's Marine Biotoxin Program with the Analytical Response Team.  As of this past fall I have entered the Graduate Program in Marine Biology at the College of Charleston and will continue to work with both benthic invertebrates and marine biotoxins." (10-15-08)


Dan Boles
Leg 01 participant; Beam Team 07 instructor
Geology major, graduated 2004
Current Position: Law student,
Univ. of South Carolina

Dan worked for NOAA's Hydrographic Division after graduating in 2004. He sailed on the NOAA Ship RAINIER as hydrographic survey tech to survey coastal Alaska, then on the NANCY FOSTER to do habitat mapping in conjunction with National Marine Fisheries Service's invasive species surveys, cetacean surveys, and coral reef degradation surveys. More recently, he worked on OSCAR ELTON SETTE as oceanographic survey tech in support of marine mammal research cruise, longline fishery survey, and cetacean tagging and tracking.

Currently, Dan's enrolled in Univ. of South Carolina's J.D./M.E.E.R.M. dual degree program, planning to graduate in 2010. He hopes to practice marine environmental law. (10-15-08)






Liz Symon
Leg 03 participant; Leg 04 Assistant Scientist
Marine Biology major, graduated 2005
Current Position: Scanning Electron Microscopy/Culture Specialist for the NOAA Marine Biotoxins Program, Charleston

“After graduating from CofC, I worked with SCDNR for a year and a half in the SC Algal Ecology Lab as a phytoplankton microscopist.  Since March 2007 I have been working for NOAA in the Marine Biotoxins Program, more specifically, the Volunteer Phytoplankton Monitoring Network (PNM) here in Charleston.  I serve as the program’s Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)/Culture Specialist, focusing on morphology, taxonomy, and species identification of phytoplankton from samples collected from around the world.  My other current areas of interest include studying and preparing for the GRE’s to pursue an MS in marine biology, instructing group fitness classes as a certified Tae Bo® instructor at local gyms, spending time with friends and family, and becoming a traveling gypsy with my dog Bling at my side.” (10-15-08)


Trent Tinker
Transect Program Webmaster; Leg 04 staff participant
Computer Science major, graduated 2005
Current Position: GIS Application Developer, ROK Technologies, Charleston

"After working with Scott Harris a few years at Coastal Carolina University, I've managed to find my way back to Charleston (and Scott now is at CofC!). I'm working with ROK Technologies. We design and develop Geographic Information Systems solutions for local government and business organizations. Most of my work deals with developing mapping websites for power companies and county governments all over the southeast. I have really been enjoying the laid back work environment that comes with a smaller company. My dog often comes to work with me, and my hours are very flexible." (10-15-08)






Nicole Abdul
Leg 02 participant
Geology major, graduated 2005

Current Position: PhD Student, Geology, Rutgers Univ.

“I am a part of a pilot project between the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences on a three year track towards a PhD.  I completed my Master's in Marine Sciences at Savannah State University in the Summer of this year and started at Rutgers in the Fall.  I am not exactly sure what my focus will be for my PhD but I believe it will be along the lines of using microfossils to do paleoceanographic and plaeoclimatic reconstructions.  I continue to consider myself one of the lucky CofC alums who had the opportunity to participate in and use the Transects Program as a fundamental stepping stone between my undergraduate and graduate experience.  Could not have gotten this far without it!!   Thanks and Thanks again!” (10-15-08)


Tom Smith
Leg 04 participant
Marine Biology and Geology
double major, graduated 2005
Current Position: graduate student,
CofC Masters in Environmental Studies

Tom is presently working towards a Masters of Environmental Studies degree at CofC, working on a project dealing with the predictive capabilities of GIS for examining distributions of South Carolina butterfly species. The ultimate goal is a book outlining the identification, distribution, habitat preference, phenology and other pertinent information about all of the species of butterflies found in South Carolina.

  "Aside from school and work, my wife, Katy, and I have our hands full at home with our first child, born on May 22, 2008.  Plans after the masters degree include returning to marine sciences and persuing a PhD related to the study of mollusks." (10-15-08)


tom(Leg 04 photo)




Ryan Yaden
Leg 03 participant
Marine Biology major, graduated 2005

Current Position: Wildlife Biologist, Artificial Reef Program, SCDNR

“After graduating I got a job with SCDNR working with the Marine Game Fish Tagging Program as a fisheries technician managing and updating the fish tag database.  I am currently a Wildlife Biologist working for SCDNR's Marine Artificial Reef Program.  With the reef program I currently help to build, monitor, and maintain the artificial reefs in South Carolina.  I get to do a number of different things, like using a jackhammer to cut through concrete, flying in small airplanes to check on reef buoys, using side scan sonar to map the reef sites, or just diving offshore and shooting underwater video. I am definitely getting a well-rounded training experience. I am also a member of the diving control board for SCDNR and will be working on my dive master certification; hopefully my instructor certification will follow shortly after that.  My plan in the next couple of years is to go to the University of Washington for my graduate work.  First, my wife has to finish her teaching obligation to the State of South Carolina then we are free to travel (a lot).” (10-16-08)


Leslie "Doc" Sautter
Co-Chief Scientist, Transect Legs 01-04;
Chief Scientist, Beam Teams '07 and '08
Current Position: Assoc. Prof. of Geology, CofC and Director, Project Oceanica

"Still here! Gorka and I have been seeking additional funds to continue Transects at CofC and to 'grow' it elsewhere. We are grateful that CofC's President Benson has agreed to fund Leg 05 in Fall/Spring 2009/10! Since our last program (Leg 04) I've been able to work with NOAA to acquire ship time on the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster and establish our Seafloor Mapping Program. We have a terrific partnership with the CARIS software company that enables us to train several students at a time. The semester-long training coupled with a few days at sea of data acquisition has led to two successful 'Beam Teams'! Our third Beam Team sails in Oct. 2008 and will be in class during the spring semester.

"It's exciting to have Dr. Scott Harris join our department! We have lots of new toys to expand our mapping capabilities (both seafloor and sub-surface!). We hope to continue to expand both the Seafloor Mapping and Transect Programs!" (10-16-08)


Doc(Leg 04 photo)




Rachel (McEvers) Bassett
Transect Program Manager,
Assistant Scients Legs 01-04
Marine Biology major, graduated 2001

Current Position: Proposal Coordinator for Scientific Games in Atlanta, GA

“After leaving Oceanica in 2006 I was the regional program coordinator for NOAA Coastal Services Center for one year.  I left to move to Atlanta to marry my husband Dwayne.  There’s not a lot of marine biology going on here, so for the last two years I managed the office for Dwayne’s graphic design firm.  I started to go stir crazy not being 'out in the work force' so I went out and got a 'real' job as proposal coordinator for Scientific Games, in Atlanta.  Definitely intend to move back to Charleston some day and pursue a career in marine science again.” (10-23-08)


The College of Charleston Transect Program was funded by a
National Science Foundation Geoscience Education grant (GEO-0331155).
Additional support was generously provided by the NOAA Coastal Services Center
and the College of Charleston Dept. of Geology.

The Seafloor Mapping Program at CofC is supported by
generous ship time aboard the NOAA Ship NANCY FOSTER provided through NOAA Coastal Services Center,
and by an Academic Partnership with the multibeam software producer, CARIS, Inc.
Additional support for the "Beam Team" is provided by Highlands Geo (Mr. Graham Nickerson)
and the College of Charleston Dept. of Geology.

Publication of Project Oceanica.
For questions or comments, e-mail Oceanica's Webmaster .