Students Studying Ocean Research Earn Honors

A prestigious internship with the discoverer of the Titanic and a $4,000 scholarship are among some of the honors bestowed on students in the College of Charleston’s BEnthic Acoustic Mapping and Survey Program (BEAMS) this academic year.

Alexandra Dawson

The BEAMS Program is an undergraduate-focused training and research program with the mission to develop a strong and qualified workforce of ocean surveyors in support of the academic, research and operational marine communities. The program was founded in 2007 within the College’s Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences and was expanded in 2011 to include the University of Washington’s School of Oceanography.

“The awards received by the BEAMS students at conferences are well deserved and attest to the students’ tremendous amount of time and dedication to understanding complex software and interpreting seafloor maps as scientists,” says Leslie Sautter, professor of geology and environmental geosciences and director of the College’s Project Oceanica BEAMS and Transect Programs. “All of the students mature professionally and academically from the combination of conducting research, presenting at professional meetings, and participating in at-sea data collection experiences. We have some wonderful partners who assist with the ever-growing need for travel support, as our students are provided opportunities around the globe. They are highly ‘marketable’ and are sought after by many government agencies and private industries. BEAMers have a nearly 100 percent rate of acceptances in the job market and post-graduate academics.”

Here’s a list of the BEAMS students and their honors:

The Hydrographic Society of America Student Scholarship – $4,000

J. Ryan Hawsey (this is the second time Hawsey has won this award)

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s Summer Student Fellowship

J. Ryan Hawsey


2017 US Hydro Conference (bi-annual meeting of The Hydrographic Society of America)

Academic Poster Session Award Recipients:

1st Place ($500):  Alexandra Dawson (Sophomore) – “Geomorphological Analysis of Sand Waves at Lucifer Shoals, Ireland”

2nd Place ($350):  Wesley Tucker (Senior) – “Campeche Escarpment Submarine Canyon Geomorphic Characterization”

3rd Place ($100):  Evalynn Barbare (Senior) – “Using Multibeam Sonar to Identify Potential Deep Sea Coral Habitat on Northwest Hawaiian Island Seamounts”

3rd Place ($100):  Mallory McCormack (Senior) – “Analysis of Axial Valley Width at the Bight Transform Fault, North Atlantic”


2017 US Hydro Conference (bi-annual meeting of The Hydrographic Society of America)

Student Outreach Award Recipients:

Alexandra Dawson

William Howard


Ocean Exploration Trust Internship aboard the R/V Nautilus (with Dr. Robert Ballard, discoverer of the Titanic)

Alexandra Dawson