The University of Southern Mississippi recently honored 12 students in a graduation ceremony held Aug. 3, upon completion of the rigorous Master of Science in hydrographic science program.
Surrounded by their friends and family in the Fleming Education Center (FEC) on the University’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, graduates received Master of Science degrees in hydrographic science and an International Board Category A Certificate for competency in hydrographic surveying.
“Each graduate here has an unbelievably important opportunity in front of them,” said Dr. Karen Coats, dean of the University’s Graduate School. “These students are tasked with charting the course for every future student to follow.”
The program, worth 36 graduate credit hours, provides students with technical and practical expertise in advanced hydrographic methods and standards that will enable them to assume leadership roles in using modern techniques in academic, government, military and private organizations engaged in hydrographic activities.
During the course, two teams of students conducted simultaneous survey projects in Gulfport Harbor and Long Beach Harbor for their summer capstone field project. Students received hands-on training with state-of-the art equipment, such as the latest multibeam sonar and satellite positioning technology, to complete hydrographic survey operations.
Coats said the program at Southern Miss is one of only two in North America recognized by the International Board and boasts a 100 percent job-placement rate for graduates because of the global reputation of the course.
Since the program’s inception in 1999, Southern Miss has graduated 200 students with 43 hailing from 28 different foreign countries, utilizing a global perspective for difficult issues facing our planet.
“Our area has a wealth of jobs in need of highly skilled and expertly trained applicants,” she said. “Completion of this program gives you the tools needed to succeed at a high level in those positions.”
Capt. Ronald Shaw, U.S. Navy, graduated from the program 11 years ago and shared his thoughts on the program with the class of 2017.
“I display my certificate proudly in my home,” he said. “During many of my tours around the globe, it became very clear how important hydrography is.”
Shaw said the skills he learned through the course were vital in the success of his missions.
“I’m a firm believer in this school and this program,” he said. “As you grow in your careers, you’ll look back and realize how advanced the work you did was. Each and every one of you should be very proud.”
To learn more about the hydrographic science program at USM, call 228.688.3177 or visit: https://www.usm.edu/marine/hydrographic-science-overview