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2018 School Testimonials

The 2018 summer school was just great. The introduction of a project based track was a great initiative on the part of the organisers. Personally I got the opportunity to learn some programming languages which included python, matlab and also a numeric model (Regional Ocean Modelling System). I also had the opportunity to learn from and connect with different people from different countries. I can’t wait for COESSING 2019! –Michael Kwame-Biney, Mphil Student, University of Ghana


PatrickCOESSING 2018 has really been awesome and its of great delight that I have gotten this opportunity to participate in it. This was my first time and I enjoyed every bit of it. My horizons broadened during the summer school, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Dimitris Menemenlis and other participants on the Gulf of Guinea MITgcm/ECCO configuration. I learnt how to use some Unix (Linux) OS terminal commands to set up the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model (MITgcm). The training, knowledge and practical skills acquired during the summer school have given me the tools needed to propel me in my research and use what I have learnt to make an impact and a difference in my environment. I thank the organizers of the school summer for this wonderful package brought to Africa and I look forward to the next summer school. — Patrick Dwomfuor, PhD Student, University of Ghana

MuminCOESSING, 2018 was my first international workshop experience outside my home country. It was a week of super-loaded, excellent and exciting experience. I followed the Project Track- Data Science. My dedication met commitment from the instructors and within few days I started learning the PYTHON language. At the end of the workshop I was able to plot SID data using Python. COESSSING exposed us to a multi – disciplinary experience in Oceanography, and I must confess that a part of me now loves the sea… Thus, with the introductory lectures I may consider research in the field in the nearest future. Part of my take-away from the workshop was that my network and connections has been enhanced, hence I have more access to academics, scientific data and tools. Therefore, as I look forward to a brighter future and more exciting experience in life, I hope I can someday give back to this great initiative, because every student deserves access to such a great experience. COESSING, 2018 is a success… and to the sponsor(s) and facilitators- keep illuminating the path, for it leads to greatness! –-Mumin Olatunji Oladipo, PhD Student, University of Ilorin-Nigeria.

NefertitiBeing a part of COESSING has been a wonderful experience. This program provides the opportunity for young scientists  and established scientists to acquire tools to be engaged in the scientific community. COESSING has reinforced what it means to be a global scientist. Regardless of discipline, it is our job to teach and share our scientific findings in addition to investigating and exploring the natural world.  As a young scientist I am looking forward to continuing to help build capacity and opportunity in places that have been neglected. People of color need to be represented in the scientific community and global issues require people all around the world to work together. The most important takeaway I learned from this program is that it is possible. —Nefertiti Smith, Undergraduate in Marine and Environmental Science, Hampton University

NikitaI am very happy that I was able to participate in COESSING 2018. As a graduate student researcher, I am always happy to talk about my research but I was even happier for this opportunity because I got to share my passion for science with scientists from West Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Mali) in Ghana. I had a great experience exchanging ideas with the participants as we spoke about natural resources, resource extraction, and about how chemistry is used to find ore deposits. I was able to help the participants see the connections between resource extraction and their daily lives, and to urge them to help get the next generation of scientists excited about science when they go back to their countries and communities. While I really enjoyed my interactions with the participants during my lecture and lab, my most enjoyable experience at COESSING 2018 was watching one of the participants present passionately about learning to use the Python programming language to visualize his data. —Nikita La Cruz, PhD candidate, University of Michigan

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2017 School Testimonials

RachelThanks for your response to the needs of scientists in the developing world. You have left us stronger, more equipped, and more exposed to knowledge in oceanography than we were before the summer school. You have indeed increased and developed my academic skill and capacity building. You have given me wings to fly and to embrace a new approach in my academic career. I have been enriched, fulfilled, and I promise to impart the knowledge to all my students, both graduate and undergraduate, and also encourage other researchers to key in to the subsequent summer school programs. You have equipped my Nigerian students for better performance and injected us with knowledge that will forever strengthen our ability. Above all, the Oceanography Summer School 2017 is the best academic experience that I have ever had throughout the 27 years of my academic career. — Prof. Rachel Toyosi Idowu, University of Abuja, Nigeria

LilySummer school is simply amazing and it is a great thing that I have gotten the opportunity to partake in it. I have been there three times and I have enjoyed and learnt new things each time. I love the lab works, they gave in-depth understanding to the theory each time and I am glad to say that every summer school gives me a greater push and exposure towards my academic career. The mentorship is great, coupled with the experience gives me confidence in my research and teaching. I pray for another summer school next year for I believe there are pots load of knowledge to be given. — Lily Lisa Yevugah, KNUST PhD Student

GleekiaI would love to acknowledge the University of Michigan (UM-Ann Arbor) and Regional Maritime University (RMU), for the organization and conduct of COESS 2017.  The lectures, field samplings (the small boat trip) and labs were thorough, well-organized and inspiring.  Moreover, the course materials and other resources of COESS 2017 were very entertaining and educative. Frankly, I enjoyed the visual presentations, lab sections, Ocean modeling sections (using Matlab), etc. My interaction with students, faculty, and experts boosted my understanding of Oceanography and Environmental subjects momentously. Moreover, the warm reception received and hospitality provided by the organizers are memorable. I will surely recommend COESS to all my comrades, Students, and friends in Liberia and abroad. Thank you all for the fantastic job done. I, myself, would love to attend the COESS again in the future if given the opportunity. — Adolphus M. G. D. Gleekia, Senior Lecturer/Mining Engineer, University of Liberia

RichmondMy third participation in the summer school came with no regrets. The field trip on the tugboat ignited more my interest in oceanography since it exposed me to real time methods and measurements. The results compared to existing chartered depths makes me trust my chart onboard even more as a Seafarer. Interacting with other participants and instructors together with the well structured lectures and labs gave me more knowledge and insight into my research project. Thank you for the opportunity and the condusive environment to interact and share ideas with established and upcoming researchers. My dream is for the summer school to grow bigger and better as always. — Richmond Kennedy Quarcoo, B.S. RMU 2013

michael_opare.jpgSummer school 2017 was a memorable experience! The 2017 school has been absolutely amazing. The program keeps on getting better and interesting. It was incredibly inspiring and full of brilliant lecturers. Personally, aside from the knowledge acquired on oil and gas field developments, the ocean and our environments, I’ve been imparted on graduate school application procedures and  by the special grace of God, I’ve been admitted to the University of Toulouse and IFP school in France for my Masters Degree. I highly recommend the school to all maritime and interested students since you get the opportunity to network with students in Africa and the United States of America. — Michael Opare, BSc. Computer Engineering, PgDip. Oil and Gas Engineering

Maddie_LilyI feel incredibly fortunate to have participated in this year’s summer school. It’s clear the program strengthens the connection between Ghana and the US (as well as Nigeria and Liberia!), and getting to be a part of that was fantastic.  I had the privilege of co-presenting with Lily Lisa Yevugah, a graduate student from KNUST (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology). I thoroughly enjoyed working with her and learning about research across Ghana, as well as sharing my research experiences in the US. We have a lot to learn from each other! The summer school was an action-packed week filled with great conversations on everything from the international problem of plastic waste to our favorite programming languages. I look forward to keeping these conversations going! — Madeline Foster-Martinez, PhD Student, University of California, Berkeley

Brian_KoneckeThe opportunity to participate as a graduate student instructor (GSI) for the 2017 Coastal Ocean Environment Summer School (COESS) at the Regional Maritime University (Accra, Ghana) was a marvelous and unique experience that cannot easily be replicated in “traditional” classroom environments. The combination of hands-on lab activities and comprehensive lectures kept the participants (including myself) engrossed in the topics discussed. From a graduate student instructor perspective, this is an ideal teaching and learning environment that I wish were more commonplace in academia. COESS was certainly the highlight of my instructing career, and I hope to return next year and beyond! — Brian Konecke, PhD Student, University of Michigan

PaigeI feel so fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to be a teaching assistant at this summer school! From gaining exposure to the wide range of topics in oceanography, to helping teach the basics of scientific computer programming, to interacting with leading faculty in oceanography-related fields, I now feel more enriched in my own oceanography education. But the best part of the school for me, was the personal connection I was able to make with the West African attendees. I thoroughly enjoyed conversing with attendees, and learning about our differing perspectives, both in academia and beyond. There is so much we can learn from one another, and I hope that this summer school will continue to grow and pave the way for more such scientific collaborations in the future! — Paige Martin, PhD Student, University of Michigan

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2016 School Testimonials

From Ghanaian participants:

Kwame“The Summer School has been and continues to be a great experience. It provided the platform for an appreciation of our environment and the dynamics that come to play, both at micro and macro levels, of physio-chemical, biological, geological and  mathematical orientations and interactions. As a future researcher and academic, it has helped me better comprehend the advancements and inter-disciplinary works geared towards understanding and inputs in making our environment sustainable and safer. I look forward to more episodes of the summer school  sessions and future collaborative works.” –Kwame Nyamekye Jr., KNUST student


“Besides the Summer School being well structured and organized the atmosphere was conducive and friendly.  I appreciate the opportunity to meet the rising generation of educational scholars and to spend time with established scholars in the field readily available and accessible.  The research talks  and getting feedback on my own research was fulfilling.  The advice given was very constructive and positive.  Indeed, it was a very valuable and memorable experience.” –Richmond Kennedy Quarcoo, B.S., RMU, 2013


“My research work is centered on conducting stock assessment of some commercially important seabreams from our Ghanaian waters. I wanted to find out how oceanographic data could be linked to the dynamics of this fish stock. I’m considering looking at sea surface temperature, chlorophyll a and salinity. My problem was how to get assess to such data. The summer school made me realize that I could get whatever information I needed from satellite data and didn’t have to go through long protocols or procedures to acquire them from the institutions responsible for such data in Ghana.”  –Michelle Clottey, UCC student

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“The summer school helped me see better the link between fisheries biology and environment data, and concepts of stratification and density gradients became far more easily understood. I have been challenged to make use of satellite imagery and data to make scientifically sound inferences and come up with accurate predictions. I would love to return.” –Jemimah Etornam Kassah, UCC student

AWUAH ALBERTThe 2016 Summer School held in the University of Ghana has been a great experience and very helpful. Lectures and well prepared power point presentations on coastal ocean topics helped to elaborate some important concepts of the coastal ocean. Had the chance to work with diverse students from different academic disciplines on the practical field trip and exciting lab works that greatly enhanced my knowledge and skills. I loved the opportunity to meet new friends and establish a great relationship with leading international scholars, faculty, researchers and professionals. I am really thankful for this great experience and I look forward to more summer schools. —Awuah Albert, Univ. Ghana student    

From University of Michigan research assistants:

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My two weeks in Ghana assisting with the summer school and completing independent research on electronic waste recycling at Agbogbloshie was incredible and life-changing. Learning about oceanography topics from leading international scholars during the school as well as meeting and speaking with Ghanaian students, faculty, and professionals greatly enhanced my knowledge of environmental subjects.  I am very thankful for this great experience!” –Anne Canavati, University of Michigan, B.A.

“Working and learning in Ghana was wonderful. I enjoyed assisting at the summer school – the professors, Jayson at UGstaff, students were very nice and welcoming.  I had a great time also researching electronic waste. It was great being able to go in the field, apply knowledge and meet with various government agencies, non-profits, and other entities to come up with a solution to the electronic waste recovery that benefits everyone. The situation in Agbogbloshie and electronic waste in general is complex and requires a lot of support. I am glad to have had the opportunity to take part in a project that can help people in the future. My time in Ghana is one of the most memorable and important events I have been a part of; because of it I have gained lifelong connections and experiences that I will never forget.” –Jayson Toweh, University of Michigan student

“I had an amazing time assisting at 10432954_10152482257208252_8285977606985381051_n (1)the summer school. The lectures were quite interesting and the labs provided a more hands on approach to learning. Additionally, I was surrounded by incredibly intelligent faculty and students from whom I learned a lot. While in Ghana I was also completing a research project on jatropha biodiesel. Being at the school helped me make connections for my project as well as deepened my understanding of natural resource management issues in Ghana. Overall, my time in Ghana was wonderful!” –Liz Oliphant, University of Michigan student 

help“The opportunity to have traveled to Ghana as a part of Brian and Adam’s team was something that I will always be thankful for. Being a part of the classroom dynamic, performing our own research, and experiencing the wonderful culture and people of Ghana allowed this trip to be as successful and positive as it could have been. I couldn’t be happier that I got to experience everything that we did and saw during our stay in Ghana.” –Jess Hicks, University of Michigan, B.S. 

“The opportunity to study in Ghana was tremendous. Working alongside my Ghanaian peers toward a better understanding of the country’s environmental challenges made it abundantly clear that no sustainability issue exists in a vacuum. The complexities of our planet, our politics, and our economies link us together – even when an ocean apart. Though I had heard such sentiments in many lectures at UM, seeing these connections first hand has changed my outlook on the world and our environment. Also, the fufu was excellent.” –Erich Eberhard, University of Michigan student

From anonymous feedback:

“The summer school was good and very essential.”

“I enjoyed the diversity of topics treated and the inclusion of practicals to enhance better understanding of the subject matter.”

“The laboratory experiments were superb.”

“The diversity of topics treated and the inclusion of practicals to enhance better understanding of the subject matter was great.”

“I really enjoyed every bit of the summer school. The field trip was great as well as the lab sessions. The course instructors were very friendly and lovely.”

“I really enjoyed the school and will be very happy if more of these are organized in different schools.”

“The lab sections were practical and interesting.”

“Overall, it was a great school and I really enjoyed it. The lab sessions and practicality of the school helped clear some abstract things I still had in mind and made me understand better.”

“The school has been enlightening and inspirational.”