Susan Carty, March 8, 2001

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Susan Carty
Onboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown
March 14 – April 20, 2001

Mission: Asian-Pacific Regional Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE-ASIA)
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: March 8, 2001

You know how sometimes in our lives we have opportunities presented to us and we hesitate? Then other times we dive right in without a second thought. No fear, no doubt. Who knows for sure what makes us behave differently at different times?

When I was offered the opportunity to go to the famous Marine Biological Laboratories to take a week long teacher workshop paid for by Pfizer, Inc. in August of 1999, there was no doubt or fear, I dove head on! The atmosphere there was awe inspiring to say the least. Fabulous laboratories, serious scientists, inspiring lectures, great lab activities, delicious food and of course great scenery.

Part of the scenery was a research ship, the ALBATROSS, sitting in the harbor. Each morning we would stand on the bank drinking our coffee looking at that ship. My mind began to run away with itself, and it occurred to me that I really wanted to go on that ship, or one like it. When I returned home I began to research the ship on the Internet. The email for the ship’s captain was listed on the website. With a push of a button my request flew into cyberspace. All he could do was say “no.” Months later I received a packet in the mail about the Teacher at Sea Program.

I began researching all the ships in the NOAA fleet and studied their schedules, searching for just the right project. In the meantime, my students were aware of my developing dream. Fairly regularly they would ask if I had heard anything or decided on any particular project. Once in a while I would draw a ship on the board with a stick figure of myself waving good-bye. They were amused… But I was dead serious.

The RON BROWN was one of the ships I had decided upon. New, modern and high tech made sense to me. A note with the ships name was posted on my bulletin board almost a year ago. “Never lose sight of your goal” and “keep it alive every day in some small way” was something I had read that stayed with me and that note was a constant reminder. I have since learned the serious reality of that quote. It really is true. It really works. Learning that is a signal to me that I have just begun. The journey begins in two days!

Think “calm seas and clear skies!”


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