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NOAA Director Visits USM’s Coastal Operations

Wed, 04/27/2022 - 04:30pm | By: Margaret Ann Macloud

The leader of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) ocean mapping and nautical charting program visited two University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Coastal Operations sites this week to learn more about hydrographic science education programs, research, capabilities, and potential areas of collaboration.

Rear Admiral Benjamin Evans, Director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, toured USM's Marine Research Center and the Roger F. Wicker Center for Ocean Enterprise, which is currently under construction at the Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport.  Evans and staff members from the Office of Coast Survey visited with USM leadership, Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport leadership, and representatives for the offices of Senators Roger F. Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith and U.S. Congressman Steven Palazzo.

Dr. Kelly Lucas, Associate Vice President for Research at USM's Coastal Operations, briefed the NOAA team on how the University’s Gulf Blue initiative brings together scientists, innovators, and industry and government partners, often co-located in the same buildings. That collaborative environment drives breakthroughs in blue technology and brings higher-paying jobs to Mississippi.

“The Office of Coast Survey has been a partner with USM for mapping products, research in hydrographic science and nautical surveys conducted by the Hydrographic Science Research Center. Of particular interest is USM education programs in hydrographic science, a program that is internationally recognized and graduates students with 100 percent job placement,” said Dr. Lucas. “We were happy to showcase the Roger F. Wicker Center for Ocean Enterprise and provide a first view of building resources for staff members of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey occupying the building.”

group photo with director

group photo with director