Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo

An office with an ocean view

It’s an average day in San Diego. Temperatures in the low 70’s and clear skies. Somewhere off the coast of La Jolla, Phil Bresnahan ’09 is spending the afternoon on his paddleboard and enjoying the waves.

This, however, is not your average Lehigh graduate, and definitely not an ordinary paddleboard.

Currently a Ph.D. student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, Bresnahan equipped his stand-up paddleboard (SUP) with a customized sensor that collects ocean data while he navigates the Pacific shoreline.

The chemical engineering grad and Harleysville, Pennsylvania native is the quarterback for Scripps’ oceanographic research program, SUP, Science. Bresnahan’s program uses the enhanced paddleboards to study the pH and oxygen levels in the surf zone, while at the same time reaching out to the public on ocean and global health issues.

“The idea with SUP, Science is that we want to bring the sense of exploration back to people who are interested in science, specifically middle and high school kids,” said Bresnahan.

Since its inception in 2013, nearly 100 people have taken part in the program, including partnerships with area organizations, including San Diego’s Ocean Discovery Institute and Outdoor Outreach.

Bresnahan sees it as a fantastic opportunity to take kids with an interest in science out of the classroom and into the water for the start of a new experience.

“It doesn’t just have to be sitting in a lab staring at a computer, wearing a white lab coat and goggles,” he explained.

For more about the origin of the SUP, Science program, how Bresnahan’s time at Lehigh led him to the west coast and his plans for the future, read the full story at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography web site.

Related Links: