Science & Tech

High Seas Adventures With Aggie Oceanography

Students log their experience aboard the annual Schade Cruise, a five-day research experience in the Gulf of Mexico.
By Chrystal Houston, Texas A&M Foundation February 1, 2024

an Aggie student surveys the ocean view from the ship's bridge
An Aggie student aboard the Schade Cruise; students work in 12-hour shifts to collect and test deep-water samples.

Texas A&M University Department of Oceanography


The annual Schade Cruise in the Department of Oceanography is a five-day research experience conducted in the Gulf of Mexico. Up to 14 students and two faculty participate each summer to undertake science experiments and provide would-be oceanographers with a taste of the profession. Last summer, students collected deep water samples for dissolved oxygen and salinity levels in waters more than 8,200 feet deep and took samples of sargassum to analyze for trace metals at different sampling stations.

The cruise is supported with gifts from Hal Schade ’67, who utilizes his IRA distributions each year to underwrite the unique learning opportunity. “Hal’s annual gift helps offset costs for this trip,” said Dr. Christina Wiederwohl ’06 ’12, cruise leader and associate department head for the Department of Oceanography. “Without him, providing this high-impact opportunity would not be possible.”

Last year was challenging, as lost equipment and Tropical Storm Arlene abbreviated the cruise by one day. However, that kind of uncertainty is part of what makes the trip so instructive. “Oceanography is not for the faint of heart,” Wiederwohl said.

the group of students and a faculty member who went on the research trip, posing in matching shirts and giving the Gig 'em thumbs up on campus
Hal Schade ’67 (center) poses with oceanography students who embarked on the research cruise.

Igor Kraguljac


Schade experienced his own share of high-seas adventures during the seven years he spent sailing around the Caribbean in retirement. “I know these students will have the same love and respect for the ocean as I do,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for them to put their classroom learning to use. Nothing beats hands-on experience.”

He enjoys talking to Aggies before and after each cruise to hear their tales. “For many, it’s the first time they’ve been on the ocean. I’m just glad I can be part of giving that experience to them. It’s very satisfying,” he said.

View more photos and read Aggies’ entries in the ship’s log from Spirit Magazine.

Media contact: Dunae Reader,

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