USF Professor Teresa Greely teaches from sea via Skype

5:49 PM, Apr 10, 2012   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- During an oceanography class at USF, students usually hear from their teacher at the front of the room. But on Tuesday, their primary professor is 1,600 miles away floating in the Caribbean Sea.

"Welcome to the JOIDES Resolution everyone," says USF Marine Science Professor Teresa Greely, from a projected computer screen, to the gathered students.

Greely has spent the last five weeks working on the research vessel the JOIDES Resolution and via Skype she's been sharing her experiences aboard the floating laboratory.

Right now, the ship with 28 scientists from 10 different countries is near the island of Martinique. They've been drilling into the ocean floor there and gathering samples of volcanic material millions of years old. But Greely says analysis of the samples could help people deal with events of today.

"Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions," she ticks off as examples.

For USF students, this is a unique opportunity to see field research as it happens.

"Seeing all the equipment there is amazing," said grad student Josh Breithaupt after the session.

Greely grew up in Michigan, far away from the ocean; but programs by Jacques Cousteau piqued her curiosity. And now she finds herself aboard a ship sharing her passion with students of all ages from around the world.

"I hope it does perk their interest. The whole idea is to give them this virtual experience," says Greely.

And in this classroom at USF-mission accomplished. Grad student Rita Beckhorn says, "I would love to fill out that application and get out on a ship."

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