Society of African-American Marine and Environmental Scientists

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New Organization Holds Its First Meeting At AERS Conference

 On November 9th, a meeting of African–American graduate students was held at the fall meeting of the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society (AERS) at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, Maryland.  Organized by the Society of African–American Marine and Estuarine Scientist (SAAMES), the students were provided with an informal forum to meet and share ideas. 

Though very short notice prevented many who wanted to attend, there was still a strong turnout.   Meeting participates included Jai Cole and Taconya Piper from Univesity of Maryland Eastern Shore; Tish Roberts from Rutgers; Reggie Graves, Eric Davenport and Al Prioleau from Morgan State University; Kelton Clark and Tone Rawlings form Univesity of Maryland College Park; and Landon Ward from Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). Also at the meeting were Eric Wooden with VIMS and Maurice Crawford from NOAA. 

By all accounts, the meeting was a success.  People who participate in video classes through the University of Maryland’s Marine Estuarine and Environmental Science program were able to meet for the first time.   We even found two people with family ties.   Mostly, people at the meeting made new connections, getting to know each other and their work.  The evening was about making those important connections that build support groups, essential to academic and professional success. 

SAAMES, founded by Kelton Clark, is a new organization that is dedicated to increasing African-American involvement in the Marine Sciences.  Its goals are to increase the interest, knowledge, and visibility of the marine sciences in the African-American community. 

To provide a forum for African-American scientists, SAAMES has recently launched the “E. E. Just” listserve.  The response to the listserve was surprisingly strong.  SAAMES decided to take advantage of the upcoming AERS meeting and by holding a forum for the graduate students to meet.  AERS agreed to host the meeting and Tuck Hines Assistant Director of SERC provided on-site housing for participants, meeting facilities, and refreshments. 

 SAAMES would like to thank Stan Hales and Beth Hinchey who agreed to co-host this meeting at their conference and helped with outreach to African-American students.  Special thanks goes to Tuck Hines, Midge Kramer, Rob Andrews and Alicia Young-Williams from SERC, without their help this meeting would not have taken place.   We are also grateful to our good friend Dr. Maurice Crawford for his help in organization, facilitation, and buying liquid refreshments.  

Next Steps

While all appreciated the informal setting, some expressed a desire to find out more about each other’s research.  Another meeting is planned for students at AERS’ spring meeting in Norfolk.  This meeting will include a structured format that will allow the participants to learn more about each other’s research and funding sources. 

 Other things in the works for SAAMES

A national meeting for both students and professionals
Meetings on the other side of the Appalachians
A web site, possibly hosted by Morgan State University

 SAAMES founder, Kelton Clark, provided information on this meeting. For more information about SAAMES or to subscribe to the listserv, please email Kelly at



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Last modified: March 29, 2001