News Article Release  


Naval Academy Professor Serves as STEM Role Model on Ship of Exploration

Posted on: September 23, 2013 08:00 EDT by Alexandra Witten, Ocean Exploration Trust

Capt. Emil Petruncio, assistant professor of oceanography and associate chair of the Oceanography Department at the U.S. Naval Academy, joined the Ocean Exploration Trust’s (OET) Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus during its exploration of the Cayman Trough in August.

Petruncio served as a navigator and engaged in live outreach from the ship via the satellite “telepresence” system to, and to aquariums, museums and science centers, while continuing to teach classes at the Naval Academy remotely.  He was joined onboard by participants in OET’s Educators at Sea, Honors Research (HRP), and Science and Engineering Intern (SEIP) Programs, supported by the Office of Naval Research’s STEM Program. 

From June through November 2013, E/V Nautilus is in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea exploring the geological, biological, archaeological and chemical aspects of these regions using remotely operated vehicles to depths up to 3,500 meters. The Nautilus Live websiteengages online visitors in real-time research and discovery via live video feeds, commentary, and live interactive Q&As. 

Cmdr. David Robillard, professor in the academy’s Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering Department, completed a trip to Puerto Rico on board Nautilus Oct. 4-10. Dr. Robert Ballard, former naval officer and professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, will summarize the expedition results in a lecture at the Naval Academy on Dec. 2 and hopes to recruit midshipmen to the program for 2014. 

OET’s educational programs emphasize and engage educators and students of all ages in STEM disciplines through ocean exploration. The STEM Science Communication Fellowship Program, previously called Educators at Sea, trains formal and informal educators in STEM communication.

The HRP engages rising high school seniors in a five-week summer program culminating on board E/V Nautilusor a partner ship of exploration.

The SEIP provides at sea training for undergraduate and graduate students in ocean science, engineering, and video engineering and production.  

More information about OET’s educational programs and applications for the STEM Science Communication Fellowship, Honors Research Program, and Science and Engineering Internship Programs is available at

Back to top