The Woods Hole Partnership Education Program (PEP), now in its 13th summer, got off to good start earlier this month, thanks to continued support from participating Woods Hole organizations and private donations.
Local donors include Lawrence-Lynch Corporation, a Falmouth construction firm that renewed its support of this year’s program with a gift that fully funds one PEP student for summer 2021.
Created by the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative and the Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee in 2009, PEP is a summer program designed to promote diversity in the Woods Hole science community. It is designed primarily for college rising juniors and seniors, with emphasis on students from groups historically under-represented in marine and ocean sciences.
While the program is being conducted virtually this year, normally 16 PEP students reside on the SEA campus for the ten-week program, which begins with four weeks of academics followed by work on research projects at one of six partner institutions where the student interns gain valuable practical experience in marine and environmental science.
Those institutions are NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center; Marine Biological Laboratory; U.S. Geological Survey – Woods Hole; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Woodwell Climate Research Center; and Sea Education Association.
“PEP is a true partnership program, with support from the six major scientific research institutions in Woods Hole and from other donors including Lawrence Lynch Corporation,” SEA President Peg Brandon said.
“Lawrence-Lynch Corporation has been in business for nearly 50 years in Falmouth and we are very aware of the excellent work that is being done within the Woods Hole science community. When we heard about the PEP program, we recognized its potential to make a positive impact on marginalized students of color. With this awareness, we knew that we wanted to be supportive of this important program. Human rights, education and the environment are our main tenets for giving through the Lawrence-Lynch Corporation Foundation for Charitable Giving of the Cape Cod Foundation. Our financial support for programs like these are a reflection of the hard work and dedication from our staff and we are very grateful for their efforts,” said Chris Lynch, the company’s owner.
PEP covers all costs for the student participants, including travel, lodging and food, research costs, course tuition, a five day research cruise aboard the SEA vessel Corwith Cramer, and a student stipend on successful completion of the program.
“Full funding for every student is an essential element of the program,” said Onjalé Scott Price, PEP co-director. “PEP is committed to removing barriers to participation in the Woods Hole science adventure.”
In its first 13 years, PEP has brought 198 students to Woods Hole from 110 colleges including more than 30 Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“The pay-off is huge,” said George Liles, director of academic programs for the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center. “Half our graduates go on to get advanced degrees, and more than a dozen have returned for graduate work or employment in the Woods Hole science community. Other PEP graduates are working as scientists in academia or industry, or for federal, state, local, and tribal governments around the country.”
“Investment in PEP makes a big difference in the lives of individual students, in our community, and in the national STEM research effort,” Branded added