Juan Ramos, a junior major of aquaculture/fisheries at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, was selected to participate in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Partnership Education Program (PEP).

He was one of 16 student applicants nationwide chosen for the program, which will take place in Woods Hole, Mass., from June 1 to Aug. 10.

According to the PEP website, the program is designed for college juniors and seniors who want to spend the summer gaining practical experience in marine and environmental sciences. Participants will complete a four-week course and a six to 10-week research project.

“Juan has worked very hard to earn this opportunity, and we are thrilled to have him represent the UAPB Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries in this exciting program,” Rebecca Lochmann, Ph.D, chair of the Department, said.

Ramos said he found out about the program through his own research.

“I feel like this will be a life-changing experience,” he said. “I have never had an opportunity this great or prestigious in my life. I feel honored to have been selected, and I plan to try very hard and represent the university the best I can.”

As a program participant, Ramos’ tuition and room and board will be covered, and he will receive a stipend and travel allowance. He will also receive four hours of academic credit through the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

PEP students have the opportunity to conduct research and receive training with leading researchers in marine and environmental sciences. The program aims to increase diversity in the Woods Hole research science community.

The 2019 PEP course is titled, “Ocean and Environmental Sciences: Global Climate Change.” The course will be framed with modules on different disciplines that include physical oceanography, chemistry, biology and geology.

Ramos said he chose to major in aquaculture/fisheries because of his longtime interest in animals and marine life, as well as a personal conviction to help clean and protect aquatic habitats that have been polluted by human activity.

“In my education and career, I plan on learning anything and everything I can about the oceans and the life and mysteries they contain,” he said. “My dream is to become a marine fisheries technician. I plan to do anything in my power to help protect and clean our oceans.”

Ramos is a native of Kansas City, Kansas. At UAPB, he is one of the alto saxophone section leaders for the Marching Musical Machine of the MidSouth (M4).

The Partnership Education Program is a project of the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative. Participating institutions include NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, U. S. Geological Survey, Sea Education Association, Marine Biological Laboratory and Woods Hole Research Center. The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is the program’s primary academic partner.

— Will Hehemann is a writer/editor with UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences.