Maronda Hastie: Depart Cape Canaveral & Student Interviews, August 31, 2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Maronda Hastie

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

Weather Data:

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

  • A collage of three photos: at left, a close-up of the captured wahoo on deck, its mouth open to reveal tiny, sharp teeth. At right, two photos of fisherman Josh Cooper standing on deck, holding the captured wahoo at different angles. The fish appears to be about 4 feet long.
  • Jade poses for a photo on the deck of the ship wearing an orange survival suit that covers her head to foot. An empty orange storage bag lies unzipped near her feet. In the background, another crewmember bends to remove or return his survival suit to its storage bag.
  • Maronda, wearing a Teacher at Sea hat, pauses halfway through donning an orange survival suit to hold her gloved right hand up for a photo.
  • Maronda, wearing her Teacher at Sea hat and shirt, stands with Jade on the back deck of NOAA Ship Oregon II. It's a bright day with blue skies, white clouds, and fairly calm seas. In the background we can see a longline with gangions (hooks), a bucket, and a Yeti cooler.
  • Maronda, wearing her Teacher at Sea hat and shirt, sits next to biologist Jim Patterson in an interior room of the ship. They both look at something (presumably a computer screen) out of frame. On the wall behind them are framed photos and a plaque about NOAA Ship Oregon II.
  • Maronda, wearing her Teacher at Sea hat and shirt, sits next to researcher Heather Moncrief-Cox in an interior room of the ship. They both look at something (presumably a computer screen) out of frame. Heather, mid-sentence, gestures with her hands near her face. On the wall behind them are framed photos and a plaque about NOAA Ship Oregon II, plus a ship's bell mounted on a wooden background.
  • View of the sunset over the water; the wake of the ship is visible in the foreground
  • Maronda stands with her arms on the taffrail in front of a sunset over the ocean. Backlit from the sunset, we can only just make out her smile. The bright blue and white NOAA Teacher at Sea logo on her navy-colored t-shirt stands out.

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.

Science Log

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!

Table titled: Interview Questions for Teacher at Sea Program: Chuck Godwin, Jim Patterson, or Heather Moncrief-Cox. Table includes 18 questions, such as "When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in science or an ocean career?" and "What are your normal job duties?"
Interview Question suggestions for the students at McNair High School

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.

  • This slide features the photo of Maronda and Jim Patterson during Jim's video interview. A box caption reads: McNair High Students Interview Jim Patterson: NOAA Fisheries Biologist aboard the ship Oregon II. Part of the NOAA logo is visible as the slide's background.
  • Slide titled "McNair High Students Interview Jim Patterson: NOAA Fisheries Biologist." On the left, there's a photo of Jim wearing a hard hat and life vest, weight a (barely visible) shark. On the right, he leans over a captured fish (maybe wahoo) near a measuring board. The slide includes three bubbles of questions and answers from the interview.
  • On this slide, Jim Patterson, wearing a hard hat and gloves, lines gangions up along the side of a barrel to prepare for the next longline sampling. A box caption reads: McNair High Students Interview Jim Patterson: NOAA Fisheries Biologist. Text bubbles include two

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.


  • This slide features a photo of three people on deck carrying a large hose; one, wearing a hat, turns to face the camera and flash a peace sign as he hoists the hose on his right shoulder. This slide is titled "McNair High Students of Dekalb County Georgia Interview Chuck Godwin: NOAA Lead Fisherman." It includes two question and answer text boxes. The NOAA logo is partially visible as the slide background.
  • This slide features a photo of Chuck, wearing a life vest, resting his right hand on another crewmembers' shoulder and pointing excitedly with his left to something out of frame.

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.


  • This slide is titled "McNair High Students of Dekalb County Georgia Interview Heather Moncrief-Cox: NOAA Senior Research Associate." It features a photo of Heather clipping the fin of a sampled grouper. There's a smaller screenshot of three students smiling at the camera during the video chat. There's one question and answer text bubble set.
  • This slide features a photo of Heather and Jade loading sample tissues into envelopes or vials on deck at night. There's also a screenshot of Heather and Maronda looking at the camera during the video chat. There are three more text boxes.

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.

  • A slide titled "McNair High Students of Dekalb County Georgia Interview Josh Cooper: NOAA Fisherman." It features a photo of Josh showing off his captured wahoo (from earlier slide show) plus a small screenshot of Marond and Josh during the video interview. It has one question/answer box.
  • A slide titled "McNair High Students of Dekalb County Georgia Interview Colin Lynch: NOAA Chief Electronics Technician." It features a small screenshot of Maronda and Colin during the video chat. There's a text box with a question and answer, and another text bubble that reads: the Wi-FI works on your devices because of my job.

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.

  • A slide titled "McNair High Math Teacher of Dekalb County Georgia interviews William Driggers aka "Trey": NOAA Research Fishery Biologist (Field Party Chief.) It features a photo of Trey on deck holding a high flyer buoy over his shoulder.
  • A slide titled "McNair High Math Teacher of Dekalb County Georgia Interviews Chris Love: NOAA Able Bodied Seaman/Fisherman." It features a portait photo of Chris seated at a table, with his hands clasped and elbows resting at the table, arching an eyebrow as he looks toward the camera. There is one question and answer box on this slide, plus the NOAA logo.
  • A slide titled "McNair High Math Teacher of Dekalb County Georgia Interviews Chris Love: NOAA Able Bodied Seaman/Fisherman." It features Chris, wearing gloves and a life vest, standing on deck near the railing perhaps controlling a winch. There is one question/answer box on this slide, and the NOAA logo is partially visible as the slide's background.

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.

  • A slide titled "McNair High Students of Dekalb County Georgia interview Aaron Colohan, NOAA Lieutenant Commander." It features an image of LCDR Colohan in his blue NOAA Corps uniform, seated, with his arms crossed. His blue baseball cap reads "NOAA Ship Oregon II," though in reverse, suggesting the image has been flipped. This slide includes one question and answer text box and the NOAA logo as the background of the slide.
  • A slide titled "McNair High Students of Dekalb County Georgia interview Aaron Colohan, NOAA Lieutenant Commander." This slide features one question and answer and a small, darkly lit screenshot of LCDR Colohan and Maronda looking at the screen during the video chat.

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.

  • This slide is titled, "McNair High Math Teacher of Dekalb County Georgia Interviews James McDade: NOAA Junior Engineer." It features a photo of James in the engine room wearing large ear muffs for protection. There is also a close-up photo of dozens of wrenches hanging from pegs above a tool bench. There is one question/answer on this slide.
  • This slide is titled, "McNair High Math Teacher of Dekalb County Georgia Interviews James McDade: NOAA Junior Engineer." This slide features another photo of James (wearing ear protection, and smiling) standing in the engine room; there's also another view of equipment (pipes, hoses) in the engine room. There is one question/answer

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.


Personal Log

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.

Author

15 Replies to “Maronda Hastie: Depart Cape Canaveral & Student Interviews, August 31, 2022”

  1. Hi Maronda.

    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

  2. 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.
    Awesome job!
    Beverly Lewis ( Retired Educator)

  3. Great job setting the example and representing our family well. We love you! Continue doing what you do!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

    1. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. Ms. Hastie is such an amazing asset to our team! She’s always bringing innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to her content.

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