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The story of women at sea on WHOI ships began quietly in the early 1950’s when the wives of researchers were allowed on ships with their husbands, but not as a science equal. Today, there are many high profile WHOI projects led by woman, including a multi-disciplinary effort to explore, understand and raise awareness of the ocean twilight zone with WHOI Senior Scientist Heidi Sosik as the science lead. WHOI is committed to equality and inclusion, and continues to honor the contributions of female scientists and engineers whose work inspired change and broke through gender barriers.

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Over the 90 years since WHOI was founded , women have made incredible contributions to the Institution and to ocean sciences. As our knowledge of the deep has grown, sharing advances and educating the public is increasingly important . Susan Humphris, a marine geo chemist at WHOI, is not only a world class researcher, but a key player in expanding how ocean research is shared with a wider audience

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Mary Sears posing for a photo

“The Conscience of Oceanography” July 18, 1905 – September 2, 1997 Mary Sears was the Oceanographer of the United States Navy—the first in modern times. She also played a central role in the founding and formation of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Over the course of her career, Sears was an architect of the world…

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“She had fashioned a remarkable career out of the oddest assortment of parts: athletic prowess, an atomic bomb, a Smith firing, nosiness, and smidgen of luck.”-Kim Robert Nilsen, “Oceans, Atoms and Earthly Secrets

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