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Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Student Experiences Aboard Ships


STEMSEAS aims to provide ship-based, 6-10 day exploratory experiences for undergraduates from diverse backgrounds aboard NSF-funded research vessels. Students will sail with experienced faculty mentors and engage in geoscience and oceanography activities (while also having fun)!



All expenses (travel to/from the ports of call, materials, and living expenses while on the ship) will be paid by the program- there is no cost to participants.


The tentative 2016 schedule is as follows:


May 10-18: Sail on the Oceanus from San Diego, CA to Honolulu, HI.

July 15-20: Sail on the Endeavor from Morehead City, NC, to Gulfport, MS.

August 16-24: Sail on the Sikuliaq from Seattle, WA to Nome, AK.




Application Process

The STEMSEAS 2016 call for applications is now closed. To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen 18 or over and enrolled in an accredited 2- or 4-year college or university. The application includes:


  • A completed application form
  • A copy of your latest official or unofficial transcript
  • A completed recommendation form from a professor, adviser or employer (current or former)

DEADLINE to apply was 11:59 pm EST 19 February 2016. Notifications will be made approximately one month later. Please look for updates here and on the STEMSEAS Facebook page.


See FAQ’s below for some common questions; for additional questions, please contact:

Sharon Cooper:

Jon Lewis:


FAQs (if you don’t see your question answered here, contact us!)

  1. I am not a U.S. citizen but attend a U.S. university/college. Am I eligible?

Sorry but no. You must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national OR permanent resident.

  1. I am a U.S. citizen but attend school in another country. Am I eligible?


  1. Are graduate students eligible?

No, this program is specifically for undergraduates.

  1. I am a STEM major about to graduate this May, can I participate?

Yes. Although our focus is primarily on undergraduates, we are also interested in students making the transition from college to the workforce or graduate study.

  1. I am a STEM major and I have done similar things. I am anxious to have more experiences at sea. Should I apply?

Yes, but recognize that we are trying to provide experiences for students who are not as far along in their studies (e.g., freshman) or who are not certain which STEM field, if any, is right for them.

  1. What research will we do on the ship?

The voyages are all transits between research expeditions so there will be no set research projects underway during the transits. However, we will attempt to make use of the ship to demonstrate an array of scientific research practices and techniques. Sometimes, we’ll be able to collect samples along the way and we will use these to run a suite of standard analyses. We also hope to generate data about both the water column and the seafloor that we will process. Some of these data may be contributed to globally shared databases. If samples are collected, it is possible that our mentors will analyze them for specific parameters that will then be shared. These data certainly could be used as the basis of a student-driven research project.

  1. Can high school students apply?

No, this program is for students already studying at community colleges or 4-year schools.

  1. I get sick easily on buses, trains and planes. Should I apply?

No. If you are prone to motion sickness, in all likelihood you would find sailing on a research vessel more than just miserable.

  1. I am a non-STEM student but this sounds interesting. Can I apply?

Yes! We are interested in students from a few specific non-STEM fields participating for reasons of STEM awareness. Students in English, Education, Art, Film Studies, pre-Law and Journalism are especially encouraged to apply.

  1. I have already declared my major in Geoscience but I’m only a freshman. Should I apply?

Yes. We are very keen to have students early in their studies participate.

  1. I’m at a community college studying a non-STEM field that is not one STEMSEAS listed above, but I’m considering changing to a STEM field and completing a 4-year degree. Am I eligible?

Yes. We are very interested in students transitioning between 2-year and 4-year institutions.


STEMSEAS is funded by NSF Grant 1540645 in partnership with:

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Images ©James R Wilkinson/SIO-CalCOFI