NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
August 28 – September 14, 2022
Date: Wednesday, August 31 – Thursday, September 12, 2022
Mission: Shark/Red Snapper Bottom Longline Survey
Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Lows/Highs = 75 degrees – 90 degrees Fahrenheit
Wave Height = 1’6″ – 1’8″ Northeast
Wind Speed = 6.2 mph
Humidity = 77%
Barometric Pressure = 29.97″ HG
Sky = Partly Cloudy & Scattered Showers
Now that we have departed Cape Canaveral, I’m enjoying the Florida coastline! It didn’t take long for Fisherman Josh Cooper to catch a Wahoo. He must have read my mind about plans for dinner.
On Wednesday, August 31, 2022, NOAA Ship Oregon II departed Cape Canaveral and started a path along the Florida coastline headed to the Gulf of Mexico. All of us took another Covid-19 test before departure to keep everyone safe. We had to wait for 17,000 gallons of diesel fuel to load the vessel. I was surprised about the amount of fuel needed for our journey! Although my shift begins at 12pm, I have time to get adjusted since we haven’t made it to the 1st location. I included my students in the interviews with several shipmates. Heather Moncrief-Cox, Senior Research Associate, and Jim Patterson, Fisheries Biologist, sat with me while I logged into Google Meet during my 9th grade Algebra Math class. They seemed happy to answer the questions shown below and were patient with the students. Mrs. Ashanti Raymond, teacher at McNair High School, did an excellent job monitoring the students working while they took their turn asking questions in front of the screen.
On Thursday, September 1, 2022, the students from my Coordinate Algebra & Pre-Calculus classes interviewed Chuck Godwin, Lead Fisherman, and Collin Lynch, Chief Electronics Technician. Their careers & lives are quite interesting! We found out more information about the logistics of fisheries surveys, different careers, education & certifications. I appreciate them taking the time to talk to us! This experience helps me and others understand the purpose of research, safety rules, and how everyone’s part is important!
The carousel of pictures was taken while students logged into Google Meet to interview my shipmates. Many of the students took notes & emailed me their summary.
McNair High Students Interview Jim Patterson, NOAA Fisheries Biologist aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II:
What was your most memorable moment at sea?
While I was doing my job a sperm whale came up from the water! It rolled over to the point where you could see its eye and we just stared at each other. It was so remarkable to me that I forgot to turn on my camera.
How does being at sea affect your family life?
I don’t have my own family so therefore that’s not a problem for me. I talk to and meet new amazing people all the time.
What advice can you give students?
Do whatever you are interested in and the work you do in the end will all be worth it! You’ll be happy that you did it.
What is rewarding about your job?
There’s so much that I’ve discovered over the years and new things that I’ve learned. The experience also is something that’s worth it, along with the view of the ocean and sights of the creatures.
How are environmental issues related to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math)?
STEAM applies to just about everything in life.
McNair High Students of Dekalb County, Georgia, interview Chuck Godwin, NOAA Lead Fisherman:
What certificates or degrees do you have?
I have a Wildlife Management Ecology degree and Multi-Management Certification.
How does your job affect your family?
When my kids were younger this would affect them because I would be gone 2 weeks to 2 months. They are grown now so not so much.
What was your most memorable moment at sea?
We caught a 27 foot basking shark.
What are some of the rewards with your job?
I like the long-lasting friendships and my shipmates are like a second family to me.
What are you looking forward to aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II?
I’m hoping to catch a record-winning great white shark.
Why is your research important?
I protect species and keep them going. I make sure they are okay.
McNair High Students of Dekalb County, Georgia, Interview Heather Moncrief-Cox, NOAA Senior Research Associate:
When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in science or ocean care?
I’ve always wanted to do this ever since 3rd grade when I dressed up as a Marine Biologist. At 13, I started shark diving.
Why is your research important?
It’s important to do research because it allows you to learn information you might not have known before. You can also gather evidence or proof to contribute to the information you learned.
Heather makes sure data is recorded and tissue samples are stored properly for later research.
On Friday, September 2nd, 2022, the students in my Analytic Geometry class interviewed Fisherman Josh Cooper. He was very helpful with different positions on the deck. He explained his life at sea & talked about some of the fish he recently caught. Later during the week, he prepared ceviche for everyone with the fresh catch of the day.
McNair High Students of Dekalb County, Georgia, interview Josh Cooper: NOAA Fisherman
What are your normal duties?
I maintain the deck, catch fish, and work where I’m needed.
McNair High Students of Dekalb County, Georgia, interview Colin Lynch: NOAA Chief Electronics Technician
How does your job affect your social life?
You have to know what you are getting into. I’ve been on the vessel for about 2 months. It’s a challenge and it’s all about knowing how to manage your time. NOAA is really good about giving time off.
On Thursday, September 8th, 2022, I interviewed my supervisor Trey Driggers & Fisherman Chris Love. I was able to use a Voice Recorder APP & my phone to capture the moments. Trey was very detailed with explaining the purpose of collecting the data & helped me increase my marine life vocabulary. Chris shared lots of sunrise pictures & we often compared photos between shifts.
McNair High Math Teacher of Dekalb County, Georgia, Interviews Trey Driggers: Supervisor and Chief Scientist:
“We collect otoliths (inner ear bones) from bony fish species that help the fish navigate near reefs. Then we send the samples to the Panama City Lab to determine the age of the fish. They compare the age & length to see how fast they grow.”
How do you keep the bait organized?
You have to go in order so the lines don’t get crossed. We put a total of 50 hooks with bait in each barrel. The last one in is the first one out. Make sure you put the hooks in the Mackerel bait twice to be more secure. Sometimes you’ll get pieces of the bait back or none at all. If we’re lucky, then we’ll catch a few fish. The numbers on the hooks help us stay organized too.
McNair High Math Teacher of Dekalb County, Georgia, Interviews Chris Love: NOAA Able-Bodied Seaman/Fisherman:
What challenges do you face?
Being away from home. Sometimes you miss out on things. If you play around and don’t pay attention, then you can get seriously hurt.
Do you have any memorable moments?
You get to go to different places and experience things away from home. You meet new people on the ships and ports you visit.
On Friday, September 9th, 2022, my students interviewed Lieutenant Commander, Aaron Colohan. He has a lot of responsibilities & made sure we were safe on the ship. He has a large budget of 1.2 million dollars with many factors to consider.
McNair High Students of Dekalb County, Georgia, interview Aaron Colohan, NOAA Lieutenant Commander:
What are some rewards you get from your job?
I believe in what I’m doing. My reward is doing something for my country, the world, and the planet. This is an opportunity to work outside of the military for public good.
I have to work with 23-30 people a day and make sure they are happy in their environment along with me. I make sure they are well fed and safe with a $1.2 million budget.
On Monday, September 12th, 2022, I interviewed James McDade, Junior Engineer. I had to use ear plugs because the noise level is very loud on the bottom of the ship where the engine & equipment is located. It was very hot & the space was tight.
McNair High Math Teacher of Dekalb County, Georgia, Interviews James McDade: NOAA Junior Engineer:
What made you choose this career?
I got lucky because I was supposed to only work for 60 days, but I was offered a permanent position over 20 years ago. I had no idea. I’ve been able to travel and see beautiful places all around the Hawaiian Islands.
What challenges do you face?
What I do is maintenance. If anything breaks down, I repair it. I check the refrigeration, water leaks, engines, change filters, and pipe system. Before, it was easy to save money while at sea, but now due to online services I spend more.
Can you describe a memorable moment?
When I worked in Hawaii it was fun going to all the different islands and meeting new people. I also visited Taipan China & Guam. I enjoyed having fun in those places. The atmosphere is nice with everyone getting along.
Do you need a degree or certification for your career?
Yes, I went to training at SIU Piney Point Maryland. That’s where I picked up my last endorsement. I need one more license to be an official engineer. I have to study on my own & take the test.
What advice would you give students?
Check out the different careers. Keep a clean record because you are dealing with the government. You want to make sure you can travel, get a passport so you can see the world. I would also say learn how to work with people. You don’t have to like everybody but be respectful & know how to work together.
I am glad we are on our way to the Gulf of Mexico! The shoreline is gorgeous & the skyline is ever changing into patterns of colorful art. Soon I will no longer see land & view the ever-changing skyline. I’m excited that I get to share this experience with my students & colleagues while sailing. My shipmates work well together & are willing to pitch in wherever they are needed.
35 Replies to “Maronda Hastie: Depart Cape Canaveral & Student Interviews, August 31, 2022”
I am so proud of you and your cross curricular experience you have exposed your students to. This is a life changing experience for all of you. I have learned so much from this blog and feel that I was there in spirit. Please bring more of these opportunities to McNair.
~Maisha Khabir Moton
Thank you so much Maisha! I recall you doing a lot of great things when you were at McNair High too. I hope we cross paths again so we can expose more kids together.
This is an amazing experience for everyone involved even the viewers. Ms Hasty is outstanding in her preparation and performance and then to witness the impact she and her sea mates had on the students. The rewards of this shared experience will reverberate for many years to come.
Beverly Lewis ( Retired Educator)
Thank you Beverly! One day I will retire like you & still help kids 😉
Great job setting the example and representing our family well. We love you! Continue doing what you do!
Hey Uncle Bill! I appreciate the ride from Orlando to Cape Canaveral! We almost caught the rocket launch…maybe next time.
We are so proud of you for your service, experience, and dedication to and with our scholars. You always go the extra mile on land and sea to selflessly educate and mentor our students. Thank you so much.
Hey Dr. Lovelace: I see you doing amazing things with the students performing plays on stage. I’ll be more than happy to help with your next project.
I am so proud of Ms. Hastie who knew math has alot to do with sharks lol. From the research you conducted and shared I learned alot just from your blog. You bridged STEM all together in one and made it interesting. Ocean ecology is a white male dominated industry, however you are breaking barriers and knowledge gaps for our community.
Thank you Ms. Hastie!
Hey Deionte: As a McNair graduate & now in college at GA State, do you think we can incorporate your studies with horticulture? Great job creating greenhouses! Let’s work together soon.
I think we can incorporate horticulture with aquaculture to study hydroponics with an emphasis on marine vegetation.
Thank you for sharing your experience! 😊 I love that you included the kids and they were able to interview your shipmates, you always find ways to include students and provide awesome learning experiences. I wouldn’t expect anything else since I was able to travel to some really great places thanks to you/McNair travel Club. We were able to work for events at the dome and other arenas to raise money for the many excursions that we went on, a few of mine were France/Spain, Japan and also Egypt and I’ll never forget those experiences.
Heeeeeeey Javita aka Java: I often reference a few of our trips for various reasons. I remember you being the Inventory Specialist & how serious you took your job when we were raising money to travel. A little time working each week add up to great experiences. People still can’t believe my students went to Egypt & Japan. Tell your father hello. I loved how he helped us too!
Wow. Your blog is so detailed and full of information. I feel like I was there. Staring directly into the eye of a whale must have been incredible!
My experience with the sharks, red snapper, grouper, flying fish & shipmates was all incredible! I stepped back very quickly when one of the sharks flipped over. Not today little friendly shark 😉
Great Job Maronda!!! Its been a pleasure being apart of your journey. Everything about you is a Novel worth studying. Your greatness reflects in your students. Please continue to raise the standards bar for educators.
Thanks Neo: I am inspired by your experiences in Africa, your business ventures & the time you spend at the trampoline park with your son. He is lucky!
Great pictures and graphics. I can sense the excitement from being around the world of Marine life, towards the overall goal of preservation. This is also good exposure for her math Math program and McNair H.S. as well…it should be on TV news!
This is put together very well and what a great experience for Ms. Hastie along with students being able to participate with the interviews.
Being a former teacher at McNair H.S., I can attest to the dedication and hard work Ms. Hastie has demonstrated for over 20 years. She’s been a valuable asset to the school and community while accomplishing numerous feats that are not close to being matched by others. I salute her and the students for an outstanding job on this project.
Thank you Mr. Autrey! I know you are retired & I’m glad you still help students. You definitely made an impact in the Technology Department so I hope I made you proud 😉 The student interviews would not have been successful without technology.
Ms. Hastie is the BEST Teacher ever! And this blog shows it. Ms. Hastie always shares with her students and colleagues. Thank you for sharing this experience Ms. Hastie.
Thank you Mrs. Evans! I love hearing your stories & glad you share these experiences with others.
This is just another of the incredibly innovative approaches that Ms Hastie uses to enhance the educational experience of her student.
In my 50 so years in education she is among few educators successfully accomplishing student center practical techniques successfully
It because Ms Hastie is genius in knowledge while tracing with her heart
She has the magic of teacher her student and everyone around her learns. Her students excel because every subject is an experience even the highest level of math and science.
Simply amazing. When you see the depths to which Mrs. Hastie delves on behalf of the students is galvanizing. To have experienced her engagement personally with students only magnifies the greatness of what is being displayed here as a tool to broaden the horizon of possibilities for the students.
Thank you Mr. Tillman! The time you spent helping the kids improve their presentation skills is much appreciated! They gained so much confidence & impressed everybody. We should definitely bring your workshop back to McNair.
Thank you Dr. Stockett! The time you spent teaching the students to build a pergola, design benches around the trees & beautify their courtyard is priceless! All those rocks we collected from the Chattahoochee River still look great! I hope we can work on another building project again! We all learned how to use a few tools & landscaping ideas.
What a rich and grand experience you have gained alongside sharing your great adventure, studies, testament and journey with all of us! Your students and colleagues are very proud to have such a bright star such as yourself- as our very own! You are no stranger to greatness. Keep on doing great things!
Thank you Ms. Ferguson! Our village continues to improve when we improve. I know you understand the importance of exposing our youth to opportunities. Your work helping teachers is just as important so keep doing your best too!
Many Thanks to you Maronda for sharing your blog, I was totally captivated with your at sea adventure. I wanted to be there, what an awesome way to expose your students to the wonders of the world, careers that we don’t hear about on a daily basis. Thank you for piquing their imaginations, and curiosity, for giving them something new to dream about. Your beloved mother is so proud of you.
Thank you Mrs. Aida: I’m sure my mother would bless my heart & find a way to help with my students. She would have wanted to see their presentations, encouraged them & swear she met them before 😉 I’m looking forward to doing impact projects with them soon. The shoes you donated to our Shoe Drive are somewhere in Central America or Africa & made a difference to a family. I’ll keep you posted on other projects.
Ms. Hastie is such an amazing asset to our team! She’s always bringing innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to her content.
Hey Ms. Colwell: After all that time at sea I still managed to meet you at the GA Aquarium to watch more sharks. The displays are so mesmerizing! I loved reading the information knowing I experienced it first hand! Maybe we can plan an overnight stay at the aquarium so the students can watch the fish before they sleep. We’ve done it before & slept near the whales.
Kudos to your new position & McNair misses you already!
Ms. Hastie, what an experience! Thank you for being a teaching innovator and giving students at McNair HS a glimpse of real scenarios they can take beyond the classroom. Thank you for taking time to blog the experience so we can all join in on the fun! I know you have more in store!
Hey Mr. Griffin & thank you for your counseling expertise! I appreciate all the talks you have with the students encouraging them & pointing them in the right direction. I definitely have more in store so stay tuned! So far we started participating in the Chattahoochee River monthly clean ups. You would be amazed at all the debris that floats to the river. Lots of tires, shopping carts, plastics, mattresses, bikes & chemicals makes its way to the water system that affects marine life & us. This experience with NOAA inspired me to do more for my environment & get others involved.
I have known this young lady for 34 years and she never ceases to amaze me. As a teacher, she keeps her students engaged, whether raising funds to support college tours, taking class trips out of the country, or participating in community service. Doing this has opened their eyes and made them aware that there is a world that exists beyond their neighborhoods. I am so proud to see her step out of her wheelhouse and experience something fresh and challenging. I am certain that if she pursues a career with the NOAA, she will continue to reach back to pull others and inspire future leaders. Extremely PROUD!
Hey best friend & yes young lady is a good intro 😉 We never know what will inspire the youth, but we know they need to be exposed to opportunities. Sometimes when I see former students they remind me of a tasty sandwich I made or the fresh fruit they received from having good grades. Those treats are inexpensive but puts a big smile on their face & they remember the recognition. All the field trips are well worth the effort behind the scenes & I hope to create more interdisciplinary experiences with what I learned with NOAA.