Making waves: Women in oceanography

Four scientists featured in magazine article
Posted:  Saturday, February 7, 2015 - 7:30am
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University of Maine researcher Ivona Cetinić is one of four Maine scientists featured in The Oceanography Society’s “Women in Oceanography: The Next Decade,” a supplement to the December issue of “Oceanography” magazine.

The special report released Jan. 26 reviews progress in career advancement for female oceanographers over the last 10 years and where additional attention is needed.

Three oceanographers from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences — Beth N. Orcutt, Patricia Matrai and LeAnn Whitney — also contributed to this second volume. The first was published in March 2005.

Orcutt and Cetinić, a research associate in the School of Marine Sciences at UMaine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole, joined forces to articulate the continuing challenges that women face in the field: tos.org/oceanography/archive/27-4_supp_orcutt.html.

“The ratio of women to men at higher ranks in oceanography still lags, even though women have comprised roughly half of oceanography graduate students during the past decade,“ Orcutt said. “We not only looked at recent trends, but tried to identify some of the reasons behind this advancement lag.”

“While there have been positive improvements over the past 10 years, such as increasing numbers of female professors, there are still signs of barriers to women advancing in their careers,” Cetinić said.

“We hope that our analysis is useful to students and early career women oceanographers, who will have the tools to break the glass ceiling that still exists in oceanography.”

More than 200 autobiographical sketches in the supplement provide a broad view of oceanography. The scientists describe rewarding aspects of their careers, as well as challenges and how they balance work and personal lives.

“I love being an oceanographer. I see the ocean as my playground, and gliders, sensors, and filters as my toys. My play buddies are some of the smartest people in the world,” Cetinić said.

“I wake up every day happy and looking forward to facing issues and solving problems that help us to better understand nature and ultimately to be better inhabitants of this planet.”

“Women in Oceanography: The Next Decade” is available online.

The Oceanography Society was founded in 1988 to disseminate knowledge of oceanography and its application through research and education, to promote communication among oceanographers, and to provide a constituency for consensus building across all the disciplines of the field. It is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization incorporated in Washington, D.C.

The Darling Marine Center, the marine laboratory of the University of Maine, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015. It is located on the Damariscotta River Estuary in Maine’s Midcoast region, 100 miles south of the Orono campus. Resident faculty and students are associated with UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences. Their research interests range from biogeochemistry, remote sensing and ocean optics to invertebrate taxonomy and ecology, deep-sea biology, phytoplankton physiology and marine archaeology.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, an independent not-for-profit research institution on the coast of Maine, conducts research ranging from microbial oceanography to large-scale ocean processes that affect the global environment. Recognized as a leader in Maine’s emerging innovation economy, the Laboratory’s research, education, and enterprise programs are spurring significant economic growth in the state.