Department of Oceanography Recognizes First Two Graduates of The Masters of Ocean Science and Technology Degree

May 18, 2017

Laura Farris and Emily Lewis reflect on becoming the first graduates of the MOST program.

most graduates
Acting Department Head Dr. Shari Yvon-Lewis (second from left) and Interim Dean of Geosciences Dr. Debbie Thomas (right) present certificates to MOST graduates Laura Farris (left) and Emily Lewis (second from right).

This Spring graduation marked a special milestone for the Department of Oceanography, as the first two students of the Master of Ocean Science and Technology (MOST) graduate program walked across the stage at Reed Arena to receive their degrees.

The MOST program is a non-thesis, professional Master’s degree offered through the Department of Oceanography that prepares students for careers that require strong data analysis (big data) and presentation skills including: meteorologist, marine technician, coastal planning and management, ocean observing systems and more.

Within the last week of their enrollment at Texas A&M University, both graduates were asked to reflect on their experience in the MOST program. To Miss Laura Farris, joining the 3+2 degree offered the opportunity to explore Geoscience beyond her main focus of Atmospheric Sciences.

Q: What prompted you to pursue the 3+2 program?

LF: “I am passionate about the weather and I’m very interested in the physical processes that are responsible for driving it. I chose to do the 3+2 MOST degree program because the ocean and the atmosphere are closely related; they behave very similarly in a physical sense because they are both fluids, and they depend on one another. I wanted to learn more about oceanography so that I could have a broader knowledge base and so that I could have a better understanding of how the ocean influences weather.”

Q: What was the best part of the program?

LF: “This program not only expands your academic knowledge on oceanography, but it also supplies you with tools that are helpful for a wide range of career options. It’s a lot of work, but if you have a career goal that this degree would help you accomplish, it is absolutely worth it. The skills I gained such as presenting, communication skills, data analysis, computer programming, and problem-solving have better equipped me for my career.”

When reflecting on her experience, Miss Emily Lewis, also a Meteorology student, had similar, positive remarks.

Q: What prompted you to pursue the 3+2 program?

EL: “During the Fall of my Junior year, I realized had enough space to add on an Environmental Geosciences minor, so I enrolled in OCNG 440 and GEOS 105 in Spring 2015. The chemical oceanography course did a great job of linking physical oceanography with how chemicals move around the ocean and sparked my interest in oceanography. During office hours, Dr. Yvon-Lewis told me about the MOST program and I was immediately impressed with it and decided to pursue it.”

Q: What was the best part of the program?

EL: My favorite part of the program was learning more about programming. I learned python for the first time under Dr. Thyng and Dr. Hetland, and was fascinated by how quickly I was able understand it with their guidance. Dr. DiMarco, Dr. Wiederwohl, and Dr. Potter all aided in my proficiency in coding within Matlab©, which was the language I was somewhat familiar with before the program. This program gave me an extra boost to entering the National Weather Service, NOAA, or other government organizations – and it also enhanced my ability to analyze data in a more thorough manner.”

As alumni of Texas A&M University, both Ms. Farris and Ms. Lewis plan to pursue careers in the private weather forecasting or data analysis sectors, applying the strong communication and analytical skills gained through the MOST program.

Students have the opportunity to join the MOST program via two routes: either as a 3+2 Fast Track Bachelor plus Master’s program, complementing one of numerous Geoscience degrees at Texas A&M University – or through the standard graduate application offered through Apply TX. For more information, please contact Dr. Wiederwohl at

By: Natalie Zielinski