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USM Industrial Engineering Technology Student Finds Internship with SeaAhead – And Has a Front Row Seat to History-making Innovation

Mon, 12/05/2022 - 15:08pm | By: Dena Temple

Patrice WashingtonPatrice Washington, an Industrial Engineering Technology (Logistics) major at The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Leadership / Gulf Park campus, recently shared her experience as an intern with SeaAhead.

SeaAhead was founded in 2018 to unite “blue technology” entrepreneurs with investors, industry leaders, technical experts and stakeholders to create scalable businesses. These startups can deliver solutions that address climate change and support resilient natural ecosystems while creating jobs, building workforce equality, and delivering returns for their investors. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is well positioned to lead the development of world-changing innovation that will emerge “out of the blue.”

“We do this because we understand there is a gap in the ecosystem for blue tech startups that have the potential to improve the health of our oceans,” explained Hailey Bathurst, program manager for SeaAhead.

Washington, who has been working at SeaAhead since early November, learned of the position through Dr. Heather Annulis, Director of the School of Leadership at USM. “I just moved to Biloxi, and I felt like it would be a great learning experience,” said Patrice.

At Gulf Blue, Patrice is responsible for event planning and technical support while developing ideas on ways to incorporate southern gulf coast hospitality. In addition, she assists her supervisor, Hailey Bathurst, in project planning and proposals. “Productivity, communication, and teamwork are important,” Washington said. “We have the ability to show our strengths and skills while learning new things.” She appreciates the office space itself, too. “It's beautiful and cozy, and I get to interact with new people and learn something new every day.”

“Patrice helps with all the tech support for the program,” Bathurst agreed. “She’s been essential in getting the online learning platform up and running for the cohort, creating digital resources.”

Bathurst continued, “She’s tech-savvy, easy to work with and very responsive.”

Because the SeaAhead program is still in a formative stage, Bathurst also appreciates that “[Patrice] is okay with ambiguity, and since we are building the program for the first time, that’s very important.”

While Washington’s internship will end in May, the experience she has acquired will expand her marketability in the workforce. “My degree will be in Industrial Engineering Technology (Logistics), basically global supply chain. If SeaAhead can implement my skills into the company, I would definitely continue working there.”

Bathurst adds with a smile, “and I would definitely hire her.”

Washington recommends that all students at Southern Miss – even fully online students – reach out to Career Services when looking for internships or employment. “Career Services gave me the tools and search engines to locate the perfect match,” she said. Local employers can also avail themselves of this service if they have open positions.

“The partnership between USM and SeaAhead is critical to helping to build the blue economy on the Coast,” Dr. Annulis noted, “and Patrice’s internship connects her classroom learning to the tangible, real-world experience necessary for professional success.”

For more information about the services provided by Career Services, contact careerservicesFREEMississippi.

The School of Leadership is housed within the College of Business and Economic Development at USM. To learn more about the degree programs offered by the School of Leadership, visit or email SchoolOfLeadershipFREEMississippi.