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Released August 13, 2003


STENNIS SPACE CENTER - The hydrographic science program at The University of Southern Mississippi's Stennis Space Center site continues to break new ground.

A more diverse student population continues to be drawn to the acclaimed hydrographic science master's program as a mixture of students from the military, foreign militaries, government agencies, and the private sector gather for the start of classes on Aug. 18.

Students from Canada, Turkey and Mexico will join students from various organizations within the United States to begin the intensive one-year master's degree program in hydrography - the science of charting seas, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water.

"The class of 2004 will present an exciting mix of students with varying degrees of expertise in the field," said David Dodd, coordinator of the hydrographic science program at Southern Miss.

The class of 2004 also marks the admission of the first students to enter the program without a sponsoring organization. One American and two Canadians plan to enter the program to pursue a career in hydrography.

Dan Wright, an Alaska native, is excited to join the hydrographic science class of 2004.

"My interest in hydrography comes from a lifelong fascination with explorers and their scientific work," Wright said. "I have also been following advances in the science and technology of hydrography over the last 10 years, and it appears to be one of the fastest emerging fields in marine science."

Wright said the location of the Southern Miss hydrography program at Stennis Space Center offers valuable networking options should he choose a career in government or private industry.

"Having students available for hire at the conclusion of the program will be welcome news to the hydrographic industry," Dodd said. Numerous commercial and governmental entities engaged in hydrographic surveying have contacted Dodd during the four years since the program's inception requesting an opportunity to recruit Southern Miss students.

"Now that opportunity to recruit students from a Category-A certified hydrographic program will be available," he said.

The unparalleled support of major governmental organizations and private industry has certainly been a key to the program's growth, said Dr. David Wells, professor of hydrographic science with the program.

"U.S. and foreign employers and government agencies have recognized the value of the Southern Miss program and have been willing to make the investment of personnel and resources to enhance their expertise," Wells said.

During their coursework, hydrography students also have an opportunity to participate in ongoing hydrographic research at the university's Hydrographic Science Research Center, also located at Stennis.

The first hydrographic science class graduated from the Southern Miss hydrographic science program in August 2000. The fourth and most recent class graduated Aug. 1, bringing the total of Southern Miss students to graduate with the master of science degree in hydrographic science to 45.

The Southern Miss Department of Marine Science is strategically located at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Miss., home to the world's largest population of oceanographers and hydrographers.

The department offers both master's and doctoral degrees in marine science and a master's degree in hydrographic science.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM