BEAMS Student Experiences

Experiential Learning and Internships at Sea and Elsewhere


One priority of the BEAMS Program is getting students on boats and ships for additional hydrographic training. Although not always possible, many BEAMers are able to sail, getting valuable on-the-water training and experience. Highlighted below are some of our BEAMers’ experiences working at sea and elsewhere.


Mapping Greenland Fjords (by Anna D’Agostino)

Mapping Chesapeake Bay Rivers (by Miles Thompson)

NOAA Hydrographic Training Cruises (by Ava Stewart)

Mapping Deep Benthic Communities in the Gulf of Mexico (by Ava Stewart)

Mapping Greenland Fjords
Anna D’Agostino (BEAMS ’22) Working as a Marine Technician on the RV Marie Tharpe, D’Agostino spent three months sailing along Greenland’s west coast, mapping numerous bays and fjords. The expedition included bathymetric data collection, mapping, water column analysis, and deploying buoys that will measure and track oceanic and climatic conditions long-term. The slideshow below is an overview of D’Agostino’s experience.



Mapping Chesapeake Bay Rivers
Miles Thompson (BEAMS ’22) – Hired as a summer intern for eTrac/Woolpert, Thompson worked alongside seasoned hydrographic surveyors as they mapped rivers that drain into the Chesapeake Bay. This project, with the goal of updating outdated nautical charts, consisted of bathymetric data collection alongside real-time post-processing. The slideshow below is an overview of Thompson’s experience.


NOAA Hydrographic Training Cruises
Students from numerous universities were invited to sail on the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster (R 352) in the Summer of 2023.Thank you, NOAA!!  These NOAA Hydro Training Cruises were split into 4 Legs, each focusing on mapping a portion of the Blake Plateau to update outdated nautical charts. While at sea, students got hands-on survey acquisition and data processing training. Join Ava Stewart (BEAMS ’23) who sailed on Legs 3 and 4, and documented her experience.




Mapping Deep Benthic Communities in the Gulf of Mexico
Ava Stewart (BEAMS ’23) and Eryn Faggart (BEAMS ’21)Stewart and Faggart sailed as Interns and Volunteer Survey Technicians aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster for a 2-week mapping cruise in support of the NOAA Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Communities Restoration Group’s work in the Gulf of Mexico.  See the StoryMap of their cruise here.

Water Column



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