Student News

Summer Research In His Own Words – Nate Lane

Ivory Hills – October 2, 2013

During the summer of 2013 many Deerfield students had the opportunity to engage in science research. This Daily Bulletin series shares with you some of the exciting experiences afforded to your fellow students. If you are interested in doing something science related during the summer of 2014, contact Dr. Hills to arrange a time to chat.

Robert Ballard is arguably one of the most accomplished ocean explorers ever. (He discovered the Titanic and JFK’s PT-109.) Ballard’s organization, the Ocean Exploration Trust, is interested in investigating vast stretches of unexplored ocean as well as pushing the boundaries of known nautical engineering.

This summer Nate Lane had the opportunity to work aboard the STS Bodrum. Here he describes the experience in his own words:

This summer I was one of twelve participants in the Ocean Exploration Trust Honors Research Program. Starting in July, I spent five weeks at the “Inner Space Center” at the URI graduate school of oceanography learning how to use and write software to analyze various types of oceanographic data, from gps coordinates to sonar bathymetry maps. While at the ISC I also took part in monitoring live satellite communications from active exploration vessels. These five weeks were in preparation for a two-week expedition aboard one such active research vessel, in my case the STS Bodrum; operating out of Bodrum, Turkey, the purpose of this expedition was to map ancient shipwrecks on the sea floor using an unmanned autonomous vehicle (AUV).

I was one of six male and six female rising high school seniors from across the nation (literally: Texas to Washington to Hawaii to Rhode Island) who participated in the program. We stayed in suite-style dorms at the URI campus, where we cleaned and cooked for ourselves. We had free time on the afternoons and weekends to hang out and do fun things like play soccer or go to the beach, and I got to know the other kids really well. I still talk with these friends often.

My time on the Mediterranean was outrageously amazing. The STS Bodrum is a 30-meter sailing yacht, and the area just south of the Datça Peninsula where we were working is quite scenic. The ship was fully crewed by a staff of Turkish sailors, including a talented Turkish chef who was in charge of our meals. In the afternoons, after the day’s survey work was done, we would anchor in one of the many coves along the rocky coast and spend the evening swimming and enjoying the perfect, sunny weather. Everyone on the scientific team had a great sense of humor, and I had an unforgettable time working with and learning from them; living and collaborating with a group of highly talented scientists is not an opportunity that very many high school seniors get to experience, and I am incredibly grateful.

Nate will be presenting at a school meeting in November. If you are interested in doing something science related during the summer of 2014, contact Dr. Hills to arrange a time to chat.