Hampton University

student spotlight

Student Joins Ivy League Cohorts on the SEA

A summer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed into an opportunity for Justin Morrissette, a junior chemical engineering major, to explore the ocean in his own unique way. A class trip to Cape Cod introduced Morrissette to the Sea Education Association (SEA).

Morrissette was recently awarded a $5,000 scholarship to attend a semester at sea. SEA has accepted Morrissette for the summer study abroad program held May 19- July 18.

Justin Morrissette

Justin Morrissette

"I have always wanted to study abroad," stated Morrissette. "This opportunity was unique because you can conduct your own research and carry it out throughout the entire program."

SEA is a study abroad program that offers students an opportunity to board a traditional sailing vessel and sails across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Students receive the unique advantage of studying the sea from different locations.

"Only one other HU student has participated in SEA," stated Dr. Benjamin Cuker, professor in the Department of Marine and Environmental Science. "Many if not most of the SEA students come from Ivy League institutions. I would like to see more HU students take advantage of the SEA opportunity."

The 12-week program begins with a six-week session on shore at Woods Hole on Cape Cod, a center for ocean research. During this period students can explore different types of science that involves the ocean, chemistry, biology, physics and the geology of the sea.

Students design the research projects and are responsible for carrying out their own research project throughout the six-weeks at sea. Morrissette will explore the waters from Honolulu to San Francisco.

"I am most excited about the six-weeks at Cape Cod," stated Morrissette. "The research project is important because it allows me to conduct my own research. This whole experience is an opportunity to prepare me for my future."

With dreams of changing the outcome of the African-Americans battle against heart disease, Morrissette is determined to learn all that he can about research. The opportunity to create his own research project allows him to prepare for a future doing just that.

Morrissette intends on designing an artificial heart that will help with diseases such as heart disease, that disproportionately plague the African-American community. He hopes to acquire his M.D.-Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. He chose this field of study because of the affect disease has had on his family.

"My family has been faced with disease. I want to bring about change in this area to help my family and families like mine."

-Naima A. Gethers