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University of Hawaiʻi Program Celebrates 50 Years of 'Educating Tomorrow's Ocean Leaders'

Students of the University of Hawaiʻi Marine Option
University of Hawaiʻi
Students of the University of Hawaiʻi Marine Option Program

The “MOP,“ or the Marine Option Program, has left its mark — it is celebrating 50 years of training future leaders in marine science since its creation by co-founders John Craven and Jack Davidson.

Graduates of the University of Hawaiʻi system-wide undergraduate program have gone on to lead many marine federal, state and nonprofit agencies. The Conversation talked to the program's director, Cynthia Hunter, about the success of this incubator for marine researchers.

"It's a formal certificate program, that means the students do a little bit extra to get a certificate that goes on their diploma," Hunter said. "Our tagline is 'educating tomorrow's ocean leaders.' So we introduce the students to people and programs and career opportunities around the state — get them behind the scenes."

More than 2,000 students have gone through the certificate program since 1971.

Hunter said a couple of famous alumni include Athline Clark, NOAA's superintendent of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and Dr. Randy Kosaki, deputy superintendent for the monument.

To complete the program, students must complete 12–16 credit hours of marine-related courses, a 1-credit seminar, and a “skill project,” which is usually an internship or research project.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Aug. 5, 2021.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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