News Release 16-040

NSB Announces Public Service Award Recipient

Sea Education Association/SEA Semester is 2016 NSB Public Service awardee

A tall ship research vessel

One of SEA's tall ship research vessels. (Credit and Larger Version)

April 6, 2016

Today the National Science Board (NSB) announced that Sea Education Association (SEA) would be bestowed with its 2016 Public Service Award.

This esteemed award honors exemplary public service in promoting public understanding of science and engineering. SEA is the sole recipient of the Public Service Award this year.

SEA started making waves in 1971 and is now an internationally recognized leader in undergraduate ocean education. Based in the oceanographic research community of Woods Hole, Massachusetts, SEA equips high school students and undergraduates with tools to become environmentally literate leaders prepared to address the defining issue of the 21st century: human impacts on the environment. With a unique shore-to-sea approach, SEA allows students to take what they have learned in the classroom and test it against their observations in the field, sailing as scientists and crew aboard one of two custom-equipped tall ship research vessels.

SEA Semester®, the organization's flagship study abroad program, is the leading off-campus environmental studies program focused on the ocean. Each program offers an interconnected suite of courses designed to explore a specific ocean-related theme using a cross-disciplinary approach. With Boston University as its school of record, SEA has educated more than 10,000 undergraduates, high school students and teachers about the world’s oceans. Destinations of SEA Semester voyages include Europe, the Mediterranean, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa.

"SEA's founding vision of giving students the opportunity to live and work aboard a traditional sailing vessel while exploring the deep ocean was truly inspired," said Vint Cerf, chair of NSB's Committee on Honorary Awards. "The careers that it has shaped and the contributions to science and public understanding SEA has made over the years are a testament to its success."

"We are honored to be recognized by the National Science Board, especially in our 45th anniversary year. This award is shared with all of the faculty, staff and professional crew who have helped to create over 8,000 ocean scholars, stewards and leaders through our undergraduate SEA Semester programs. We are also grateful to our many friends, collaborators and supporters who have contributed to our efforts to help increase public understanding of ocean sciences in the United States," said Peg Brandon, SEA president.

The NSB will present SEA with its Public Service Award on May 5th during the National Science Foundation/NSB annual awards ceremony held in Washington, D.C. The board established the award in 1996. The annual award recognizes people and groups (e.g., companies, corporations, organizations) that have increased the public's understanding of science or engineering. Past award recipients include the American Museum of Natural History, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, PBS television series NOVA and The Expanding Your Horizons Network.

About the National Science Board

The National Science Board (NSB) is the policymaking body for the National Science Foundation. NSB also advises the President and Congress on science and engineering policy issues. The board's 24 members are drawn primarily from universities and industry and represent a variety of science and engineering disciplines. Selected for their eminence in research, education or public service and records of distinguished service, board members serve six-year terms. NSF's director is an ex officio 25th member of the board. Visit NSB's website for more information.


Media Contacts

Brandon Powell, NSB, (703) 292-2769,
Jan Wagner, SEA, (310) 463-9541,

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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