18 August - 16 September 2019
Antofagasta, Chile to San Diego, California
Antofagasta, Chile to San Diego, California
Beth Orcutt and Masako Tominaga
Peter Blum
Nicole Kurtz, Kristen Weiss, and Randi Brennon
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IODP Report

JR Academy

During Expedition 385T, IODP has partnered with Whatcom Community College to offer the JR Academy – an IODP first! One dozen undergraduate students from around the country will live and work on board, taking two courses from experienced faculty members. Students will enroll in these courses through Whatcom Community College (Bellingham, WA) to receive credit. While on board, they will also learn about IODP, the technology and engineering of the JOIDES Resolution, observe operations, learn about science communication techniques and strategies, and take part in life at sea. IODP is proud to be able to offer this program entraining the next generation of scientists, technicians and communicators!

Meet the participants in our first JR Academy!

Instructors/Mentors/Science Party

Kaatje Kraft is a geology/oceanography associate professor at Whatcom Community College (and has served as a STEMSEAS instructor) in Bellingham, WA and is one of the two co-lead instructors for JR Academy. She has been teaching at the community college for 20 years and works to integrate her research on student motivation and learning into her teaching practices to optimize learning experiences. She loves to talk teaching and learning, but also enjoys running the trails in Bellingham with her dog and husband.

Leah Joseph, one of the co-lead instructors for the JR Academy, is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA. With her background in geology and oceanography (marine geology and geochemistry), most of her research focuses on the investigation of aspects of climate and climate change during certain intervals over the last 70 million years through the study of deep-sea sediment. In addition, she also teaches about and works with students on projects that incorporate sustainability, engage in critical thinking about modern environmental issues, and participates in, along with Ursinus students, environmental and science outreach projects in the local area.

Nicole Kurtz has been an avid educational game developer ever since grade school when she struggled to learn in traditional book based methods. From this struggle, she found creative ways to remember math formulas with songs and games. In college, she discovered she wasn’t alone and made it her mission to help others get the most out of their education. She has a BFA in Medical Illustration from The Cleveland Institute of Art where she honed her exhibit design proficiency and instructional storytelling abilities. With these skills, she began creating demonstrative visuals for the courtroom to help explain the case to the jury.

Ms. Kurtz also sailed as an Education Officer on board the JOIDES Resolution (JR). During these months at sea, she worked with scientists from all over the world to develop engaging educational content centered on themes of the deep biosphere and the sub-seafloor ocean, environmental change, processes and their effects and solid earth cycles and geodynamics in order to keep the shore-based audience interested and informed about the expedition. She quickly realized her ability to act as a conduit between the high-level educated science party on board and the general audience on shore. This experience also identified the need for easily accessible scientifically accurate learning guides in a fresh, humorous, exciting way. From this process, she recognized the powerful success of collaboration through translating complex information which has led her on a path of developing engaging educational tools for a general audience.

Randi Wold-Brennon is a veteran teacher at Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science, a groundbreaking public charter school in very rural Hawaii.  She is also a student at Texas Tech University’s School of Education, pursuing a PhD in global STEM collaboration.  Randi has extensive experience as a classroom teacher (K-12) and has developed and implemented innovative educational programs across grade levels.  For close to a decade, she was the principle designer and lead teacher for a project-based learning program with a cultural focus for middle school.  Randi is currently the principle designer and lead teacher for a K-6 supported home curriculum program.  This program facilitates partnerships between teachers and families to provide a rigorous, rich education in both the home and school setting.

As a lifelong learner, Randi participates in a variety of professional development opportunities.  She has leaped at the chance to sail aboard research vessels and traveled to Midway Atoll to serve as an education ambassador for wildlife restoration efforts.  Randi is an Airborne Astronomy Ambassador for NASA and has flown aboard SOFIA, a unique airplane equipped with a telescope.  Currently, Randi is developing K-12 environmental stewardship activities to promote the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research’s work with the extremely endangered Hawaiian Crow or ‘Alala. Teacher adventures are a large part of the work that Randi does, modeling critical thinking for her students and blurring the boundaries between education, exploration, and global awareness.  Through presentations, workshops, and partnerships, Randi works closely with college level students and teacher colleagues to inspire their own adventures in learning.

Dr. Kristen Weiss is currently Communications Coordinator for the Long Term Ecological Research network. Previously, she was an early career fellow in Science Communication at the Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford University. Kristen received her her PhD from James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, where she studied marine governance using policy network analysis. Her goal is to continue communicating about significant environmental issues and contribute to better conservation and management strategies to protect our threatened ecosystems.

My name is Collin Brandl and I am a continuing PhD student in Earth and Planetary Science at the University of New Mexico. I received my BS in Geophysics from Texas A&M University and did some undergraduate research to understand the southern Caribbean’s interesting tectonic situation. My master’s thesis here at UNM imaged intrusive magmatic addition along the Eastern North American Margin (the U.S East Coast) to better understand the breakup of Pangea. The logging data we obtain on Expedition 385T will be used for one of my dissertation projects. I am interested in a lot of different topics across the geosciences and primarily use active source seismology to answer the key questions we have, but I am always looking toexpand my horizons into different techniques and environments.

Geoff Wheat uses chemical tracers to understand processes that influence the cycle of elements in the oceans.  Much of this work focuses on the transport of fluids through the oceanic crust in a range of settings including hydrothermal systems on mid-ocean ridges and flanks and seepage sites along zones of subduction and in coastal environments.  Studies typically include sampling and analyzing fluids and solids, developing transport-reaction models, and relating results to geochemical cycles and crustal evolution. I also run a STEM-based summer camp for students entering 3-5th grades and 6-9th grades.

Masako Tominaga; Co-Chief Scientist, Ocean Bottom Seismic Instrument Center (OBSIC)
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Beth Orcutt, Co-Chief Scientist, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science

Keir Becker, CORK Specialist, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
University of Miami

Keir Becker is a marine geothermal scientist who has sailed on 21 expeditions of scientific drilling, beginning in 1979 with DSDP Leg 70 to Hole 504B.  He was a co-originator of ODP/IODP “CORK” borehole observatories and lead investigator for the 2001 installation of wireline CORKs in Holes 504B and 896A that are to be recovered during Expedition 385T.  This will be his ninth research cruise to work in Hole 504B, the last being a 2002 Alvin dive that visited both Holes 504B and 896A for wireline CORK data recovery.


Expedition Project Manager/Staff Scientist
International Ocean Discovery Program
Texas A&M University


My name is Alondra Infante, I am 23 years old & a proud Texan. Originally from Brownsville, TX but currently reside in San Antonio, TX where I’m a senior studying Geography and Environmental Sustainability. I enjoy practicing yoga, writing poetry & getting out of my comfort zone to broaden my horizons.

Amanda Florea is a 25 year old aspiring marine biologist. She has always had a love for the ocean and all the mystery that comes along with it. Amanda recently became a certified open water diver so she can explore the under water world. She plans to expand her knowledge at Western Washington University, earning a bachelor’s in Biology with a marine emphasis. When Amanda isn’t focusing on the water, she enjoys walks with her dog, knitting, and spending time with her family. Amanda is so excited to have an opportunity to sail on the JR. She can’t wait to update you on the adventures along the way!

Amber Morgan is beginning her final semester as an undergraduate geology major with marine concentration at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is active in her university’s Southern Geological Society and has recently became a member of the Lower Mississippi Valley Chapter of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG – LMV). Originally born and raised in east Texas, she has spent most of her adult life in Louisiana where she received her Associates in Science at Delgado Community College in New Orleans; only recently making her home in Poplarville, Mississippi.  As a nontraditional student, she receives support from both her loving husband and brilliant 13-year old daughter.  Following her graduation in December, she plans to gain employment preferably in the environmental sector along the gulf coast. She believes the best education you can get is from travelling and as such, is ecstatic to be coming aboard the JOIDES Resolution.  Her other hobbies include photography, reading, biking, hiking and computer gaming.

My name is Bailey Fluegel and I am from Hastings, Minnesota. I am currently an undergraduate at Northwestern University studying Earth Science and Mathematics. In my free time I love playing my ukulele, attending Bob Ross painting classes, and adventuring in the great outdoors. I am always looking for opportunities that allow me the chance to explore and learn more about the incredible Earth we inhabit today!

My name is Cassandra Vargas. Growing up in the city of San Jose, CA I have always dreamed to be out at sea and became fascinated with the ocean. On my spare time I became a certified open water, advanced water, peak buoyancy, ship wreck and night scuba diver. I carry an ongoing curiosity for the science field and am now an undergraduate student pursuing a major in Environmental Engineering. I hope to lead or become part of a diverse team of individuals to design remediation of air, water and soil quality. I enjoy reading, networking and learning social aspects of their ideas on today’s problems on my spare time. Seeking uncommon connections with others and exploring the sea floor gives me drive to study in Environmental Engineering. I am currently President of SACNAS (Society Advancing Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) club at San Jose City Community College. My chapter at SJCC out of 115 chapters nationwide is an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans. I value self-improving by practicing metacognitive planning, self-assessing and strategizing problem-solving. I am excited to become part of a program like JOIDES where I will be gaining the opportunity after to returning to share my experience on this Expedition, educate others and give empowerment within my community. One day down the road, I want to ask myself “what change was I responsible for?”

Ingrid Phillips is a recent graduate of the Ocean Research College Academy and Everett Community College. Now, I’m at the University of Washington working towards a career in ocean engineering. I’m also currently an intern at OceanGate. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, reading, and knitting.

Jessica Lamarca is from Etters, Pennsylvania. I love being outdoors and in nature. I’ve volunteered for Camp Lionheart, for the past 4 summers, which is a camp for kids with CHD. I play golf and I’m on the women’s team at Ursinus College. I’m looking forward to learning about how oceanographic and geologic processes shape/effect our earth, as well as the great stargazing opportunities I’ll have from on board!

My name is Maria Snyder and I am from Phoenix, AZ.  This fall I will be a senior at the University of Arizona and my major is in Geoscience with an emphasis in Earth, Ocean, and Climate with a minor in Marine Science. Currently, I am employed at the Arizona Noble Gas Laboratory at the UA and I am the president of the undergraduate geoscience club, the Society of Earth Science Students. This year I began my senior thesis with the UA’s Tropical Climate and Coral Reefs Laboratory where my research is focused on using fossilized corals from the Marshall Islands to determine past climate and oceanographic conditions during the Little Ice Age. Aboard the JR, I will be collecting water samples to analyze for my senior thesis and I am very excited to learn more about the sediment coring processes and to observe physical oceanographic processes firsthand.

Olivia Finlay grew up in the lowlands of Puget Sound, Washington. After receiving a math degree in 2013, my interest in geoscience was sparked through living and working in diverse geologic landscapes: at the base of the German limestone Alps, within the glaciated Kennicott valley, and along side Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii. I am now pursuing an undergraduate geology degree at Western Washington University.  When I am not in class or working on projects, I enjoy hiking, cooking with my mom and sister, and spending quality time with my niece.

Sarah Moss is a 20 year old future biologist/geologist. She loves frogs and rocks so much she decided to do it for the rest of her life! She loves everything from marine life to bugs to botany to rocks; she can’t seem to pick one, so she chose them all! Her next step is receiving a fish hatchery license and one day transferring to a 4 year college. Sarah hopes to spend her life full of science and her hobbies such as knitting, painting, and playing the French horn. Wish her luck on her journey studying the world!

Tessa Nefouse was born and raised near the beach in San Diego, California. She is an incoming sophomore at UC Santa Cruz and is studying earth and ocean sciences. At school, she volunteers at the schools Bike Co-op, a student run bike maintenance shop, and does ceramics. She enjoys hikes, biking, yoga, playing music, and crafting. Tessa tries to be as sustainable as possible and cares a lot about the environment.

Hi, my name is Theodore Luera, I am 21 years old. I will be a senior at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs with a Geography and Environmental Studies major and Sustainable Development minor.  In my free time I play my banjo, read, hike, and go camping. I am the current president of the UCCS Garden Club and love to be in nature whenever I can.


N Kurtz
Outreach Manager
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