By Iris Clyne
Oct. 1, 1998. So how do you get a job on a ship like this? There are 21 crew members aboard and 24 in the science party. The captain, and anyone else at the bridge, must have knowledge of navigation. Many of the crew have experience in engineering and mechanics. They're around to maintain the ship and fix it should anything go wrong. Of course someone has to feed all 45 of us, so experience cooking for large numbers is important if you're working in the galley. I might add, the food has been very tasty - always a meat and veggie choice, fruit, salads, and a yummy desert at every meal.
The scientists all have PhD's in geology, geophysics, or geochemistry. The research support staff seem to all have their master's, but they say it's not really necessary for getting the job. Many support staff start out as research assistants right out of college. There are also students aboard who are working on their post doctorate or master's.
There is a science journalist on board. He is a freelance writer. Most of his jobs come from other jobs referring him. He gets most of his information about what to charge, how to write contracts, etc. from the Internet. He belongs to a listserv just for science writers.
Then there are the Department of Education teachers; right now it's just me. The funding for this project stipulated that there would be a connection between the real scientific data collecting / interpretation and students. Having a teacher on board allows for two things: 1) teachers get a chance to see how real science is done in the field and 2) they can have their students doing real science right along with the science party. Although I don't have a science class at the moment, this will be an experience I can take with me for future classes. And there are many classes participating through the Puna Ridge web page.