Multiculturalism in the Aquatic Sciences

Minorities in the Aquatic Sciences

Frank Reginald Hall, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor/Geoscience Educator, Department of Geology and Geophysics,University of New Orleans,New Orleans, LA

Academic Preparation:

Ph.D., 1991 University of Rhode Island, Geological Oceanography; M.S.,1983 Lehigh University, Geology; B.S., 1978 Kean University of New Jersey, Earth Science (Geology), collaretal major: Oceanography

Research/Professional Interests:

My career has changed dramatically in the last few years. My emphasis has changed from science research to science education and research. I work with K-12 teachers helping them understand science content. The diverse nature of the ocean/aquatic sciences prepared me well for this position. I find it easy to talk and teach the physical sciences: Physics, Earth Science, and Chemistry. I particularly like using local environment themes as the context for understanding science. I find my new position very rewarding and interesting.However, I feel that it is important that I continue to work with the scientific community so as to remain current in regards to future trends in science. I am working with some undergraduate students on paleoceanographic research projects from the Norwegian Sea. In addition, I am beginning a program in the Gulf of Mexico, performing sedimentologic analyses on cores that we extract.

Professional Experience & Affiliations:

  • American Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of America
  • National Association of Black Geologists and Geophysicists
  • National Science Teachers Association
  • Louisiana Science Teachers Association
  • Louisiana Earth Science Teachers Association
  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
  • National Association of Geoscience Teachers

Biographical and Research Summary:

I have had an interest in science since I was a small child. I was fortunate enough to have a father who, himself, is a scientist. He received his MS degree in Chemistry, and later went on to study Astronomy. In fact, he was among the first African Americans to Chair an Earth Science Department at a majority college in the United States. It was he who encouraged me to enter college as a geology major. I did so having NO idea as to what a geologist does. But, after taking my first geology class as a freshman, I fell in love with it! It was the first science course that I had ever taken where the basic principle make real sense. For example, the Principle of Superposition states, essentially, that when sedimentary layers are deposited, the oldest sediments are at the bottom and the youngest at the top. This may sound simple enough, but the application of this simple principle has allowed geoscientists to decipher Earth s history is a systematic fashion. I chose to study Marine Geology when, as a freshman, I took a senior-level marine geology course and attained the highest grade in the class. I figured that this meant that I am good at it, so, why not continue?

I love the adventure that Geology naturally brings. Imagine having the entire planet as your laboratory! I get to travel to interesting places and meet interesting people from all over the world, and, (this is the best part), GET PAID WELL TO DO IT! Now, I'll never get rich, but I do lead a comfortable life.

I do have interests outside of work. When in college, I was on the wrestling team for two years, then played Rugby. I enjoy outdoor activities: hiking, canoeing, fishing, etc. I LOVE to cook. In fact, once, my wife gave me a cooking lesson from the New Orleans School of Cooking. It was a LOT of fun.

Now, I realize that Geology isn't for everyone, and that's okay. But I fear that many students of color do not choose it because they are totally unaware of it, and do not know that you can make a living from it. If there is one bit of advise that I would like to impart upon you, it s this: no matter WHAT you decide to study, make it your passion! Make sure that you REALLY love it. If you have the same enthusiasm for your work that I have for mine, then you will lead a happy and fulfilled life.