delware environmental institute

Broadening horizons: UD students gain exposure to ocean policy as MARACOOS interns

Broadening horizons: UD students gain exposure to ocean policy as MARACOOS interns

When University of Delaware junior Abigail Barber donned a plush shark costume this summer, she was not playing a character at a baseball game or an amusement park. She was participating in Capitol Hill Ocean Week in Washington, D.C., and she got to meet ocean experts like National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle as part of the experience.

Barber, an energy and environmental policy major, is gaining exposure to the marine science community as an intern with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS). The UD-led network aggregates ocean data collected along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to North Carolina to share with researchers, government personnel and the public and to create information products that address ocean and coastal challenges.

Along with College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) undergraduates Emily Patrolia and Bryan Stephan, Barber is interning with MARACOOS to see how classroom concepts are used in real-world applications and explore future career paths.

The interns accompanied MARACOOS director and UD alumnus Gerhard Kuska to Capitol Hill Ocean Week in June, listening to presentations covering a variety of current issues like ocean acidification and climate change. They rubbed elbows with leaders in the field at networking functions and met staffers that draft ocean-related legislation. On the last day, they agreed to put on the shark costume for a fun few hours as volunteers to engage children in marine science.