Volume 4 2012

Photo: Rich Dellinger


Enhancing Student Experiences

When Jim Hurley assumed the reins of Wisconsin Sea Grant earlier this year, one of his top priorities was to augment the experiences of the undergraduate and graduate students who work side-by-side with the program’s funded researchers.

That process begins now: Wisconsin Sea Grant has offered funding to accepted proposals from faculty members at UW campuses across the state to help create an internal program that will provide additional opportunities for Sea Grant-supported students.

“What I want to do is make the experience of being a student funded by Sea Grant more than just a funding source, a program that supports your research assistantship,” said Hurley. “I want students to be able to take advantage of all that Sea Grant has to offer.”

Depending on the proposals the program receives—the initial application deadline is mid-October—those opportunities could take the form of professional development, student groups that create a sense of shared community across departments and campuses or the chance to schedule distinguished lecturers or put on seminars of their own. Hurley also hopes to connect Sea Grant students with the program’s team of outreach specialists and communicators and find a way to strengthen their connection with the program.

“I think we have so much to offer these students that can help them as they start their career after leaving us,” explained Hurley. “What I’d like to do is start to recognize them as either Sea Grant fellows or something similiar to give them the feeling that they’re as much a part of the program as our administration, outreach and communication staffs as well as our faculty. I think that’s pretty important.”

Hurley noted that Wisconsin Sea Grant’s unique position as a federally funded program that supports applied research allows it to create mentorship and collaborative opportunities for its students, much as it already does with its faculty researchers. Building on that experience could bring the Sea Grant fellow experience to uncharted new levels.

“I’m convinced faculty members will come up with ideas we’ve never even thought of,” said Hurley. “By putting the call out like this, it says we’re looking to capture those new ideas.”

The Aquatic Sciences Center is the administrative home of the
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute & University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute.

©2011 University of Wisconsin Board of Regents