LLCC student athlete wins research trip aboard ship next month

LLCC first-year student and men’s basketball player Alex Portwood has been selected to participate in a National Science Foundation STEMSEAS experience aboard a research vessel travelling from San Diego to Honolulu next month.

The STEMSEAS (Science Technology Engineering Math Student Experience Aboard Ships) program gives students the opportunity to spend approximately 10 days on a ship working with mentor faculty on geoscience and oceanography activities. Students take part in an array of scientific research practices and techniques during the voyages.

Portwood was among hundreds of students from across the country who applied for the program. He will participate in the seagoing experience from May 8–19 with all expenses paid.

“Alex is an outstanding student and student athlete,” said Dean Butzow, LLCC professor of geography. “He completed an extensive application and interview process to reach this point. This is an incredible opportunity and LLCC will be well represented on the Pacific Ocean! I am proud to be a part of higher education where there are so many unique opportunities like this that give students the chance to learn and grow.” 

Portwood, a straight-A student and member of Phi Theta Kappa academic honor society, credited Professor Butzow with bringing the opportunity to students’ attention, encouraging him to apply and helping him prepare when he reached the interview stage of the competition.

“I grew up in a small town and you don’t get an opportunity like this very often. I’m really looking forward to this experience,” said the Milford High school graduate, adding, “It wouldn’t have been possible without Professor Butzow.”

“Alex is the perfect example of what it means to be a student athlete,” commented LLCC men’s basketball coach Chad Jones. “In addition to being a great athlete, he is a top-notch student. This opportunity isn’t afforded to many students, and the fact that he was selected speaks volumes about him. Alex is a hard worker who understands the value of his education.”