Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 32 Issue 01

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Volume 32, No. 1
Pages 5 - 5



By Ellen S. Kappel  
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We are family
Got my drilling partners with me
We are family
Time to drill down under the sea…


Over the past two decades, it’s been a joy watching my family grow, thrive, and accomplish so much. While I haven’t been a constant presence, I’ve been invited to assist at critical junctures, helping to make sure that they continue to achieve great things and break new ground globally, as well as nurture the newest family members. At other times, I keep up with their activities by reading and occasionally chatting with old friends. Busy with current projects, I kvell2 from afar.

Of course, I’m talking about my scientific ocean drilling family. Although it’s been more than two decades since I was a program manager for the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) at Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI), I still consider myself a devoted member of this community.

When I arrived at JOI as a young PhD, the senior program managers at both JOI and the National Science Foundation—Tom Pyle and Bruce Malfait (both sadly no longer with us)3, as well as Paul Dauphin—took me under their wings, welcomed me to the family. They were generous with their time and taught me the ropes. I learned how dedicated, thoughtful, and sometimes creative management could help the community achieve its goals. These awesome people remain an inspiration.

So too does the scientific community involved in ODP. As a result of attending numerous ODP and US Science Support Program meetings and other activities, I was surrounded by outstanding and generous mentors, too many to name here. They shared their passion for the program and the science, and also their ideas about new technologies that could transform data collection in boreholes. Some of those dreams led to breakthroughs highlighted in this special issue of Oceanography. Through their actions and words, this community demonstrated how true scientific collaboration can create a whole that is much, much more than the sum of its parts.

I should add that employment at JOI was also the beginning of a lifelong friendship and working relationship with two very special people who make The Oceanography Society tick. Jenny Ramarui, the TOS Executive Director, and Johanna Adams, the Oceanography designer and TOS webmaster, were part of the JOI ODP team way back when. I thank them for making each workday fun and for their continued outstanding service and dedication to the ocean sciences community.

It is said that first jobs can have an impact that lasts a whole lifetime. No doubt, scientific ocean drilling has done that for me—and I’m certain for tens or even hundreds of others. It’s been an honor serving and being a part of this large, wonderful family.

– Ellen S. Kappel, Editor


1 With apologies to Sister Sledge.
2 From the Yiddish kveln, meaning “to be delighted,” which, in turn, comes from the Middle High German word quellen, meaning “to well, gush, or swell.”
3 Read tributes to Tom and Bruce at https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2011.82 and https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2014.97

Kappel, E.S. 2019. We are family. Oceanography 32(1):5, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2019.101.

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