Allegheny College Student Spending Semester Sailing Through Waters of New Zealand

Allegheny student Luke Kellett sailing in New ZealandAllegheny College student Luke Kellett, an environmental studies major and political science minor from Pasadena, Maryland, is among a select group of 26 undergraduates from diverse U.S. institutions who are spending this semester sailing through the waters of New Zealand. Their goal is to study one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century: human impacts on the environment.

The students, whose majors range from political science to marine biology, are enrolled in SEA Semester: The Global Ocean, a study abroad program offered by Sea Education Association (SEA). To better understand New Zealand’s changing marine environment, the program is a multidisciplinary, place-based examination through the lenses of natural science, policy, history and culture.

The semester began in early January with six weeks of preparatory coursework on shore at SEA Semester’s campus in the oceanographic research community of Woods Hole, Massachusetts. On Feb. 12, the students arrived aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans, SEA’s state-of-the-art 134-foot brigantine, in Auckland, New Zealand to begin a six-week coastal and blue water voyage ending March 22 in Christchurch.

As an island nation, the health of New Zealand’s ocean, land, and people are inextricably connected. New Zealand has made a national commitment to sustainable management of its marine resources, but its innovative policies and conservation efforts at times compete with economic goals. Through planned port stops including Russell, Wellington, and Dunedin, the students will attempt to understand how centuries of seaborne commerce, fishing, and land development have influenced the natural environment of these coastal zones and offshore waters.

Individual research projects are an integral component of a SEA Semester voyage. Past Global Ocean research projects range from “The Spatial Distribution of Micro- and Macroplastics in New Zealand Waters,” to “Maori Cultures in New Zealand Ports: Imperial Reign and Succession of Traditions.”

Like all SEA Semester programs, The Global Ocean also focuses on leadership and teamwork skills in a dynamic environment. During their voyage, the SSV Robert C. Seamans will serve as home, classroom, and laboratory. On board, students will become full working members of the ship’s crew, sharing responsibilities for standing watch, processing oceanographic samples, navigating by the stars, and participating in round-the-clock operations under the guidance of professional mariners and oceanographers.

About Sea Education Association/SEA Semester®

Sea Education Association (SEA) is an internationally recognized leader in undergraduate ocean education. For more than 45 years and over one million nautical miles sailed, SEA has educated students about the world’s oceans through its Boston University accredited study abroad program, SEA Semester. SEA/SEA Semester is based on Cape Cod in the oceanographic research community of Woods Hole, Massachusetts and owns two research vessels: the SSV Corwith Cramer, operating in the Atlantic Ocean, and the SSV Robert C. Seamans, operating in the Pacific. In 2016, SEA was honored with the National Science Board’s Public Service Award for its role in promoting the public understanding of science and engineering. Last year, the National Maritime Historical Society presented Sea Education Association with the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Maritime Education.

Release courtesy of the Sea Education Association