Part of the work of scientists at the EOS Center is passing on their stewardship of the Bay to the next generation of researchers, managers and policymakers. “We want our students to think about big problems in the ocean and estuary from lots of different perspectives,” says Dr. Stillman. In fall 2017, he and other faculty affiliated with the EOS Center admitted the first cohort of 12 graduate students to RIPTIDES, a graduate training program — supported by a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship grant — that eschews traditional disciplines. Students in RIPTIDES will instead earn a master’s degree in interdisciplinary marine and estuarine sciences.
During the first semester, students explored complex environmental problems as case studies, then worked in teams to solve various aspects of each problem while considering it in its full complexity. “The questions are usually more about how to manage the issue. Finding a solution that fully resolves the problem isn’t always possible,” says Cheryl Patel, a student in the first RIPTIDES cohort.