MANKATO, MN - A Mankato West Physics teacher got to take the trip of a lifetime, thanks to a program that takes teachers out of the classroom and onto an ocean research ship.  
 
"The beauty of Southeast Alaska is amazing.  The opportunity to be on a ship for 17 days was something I've never experienced.  Certainly on a ship of this size and the opportunity to do that was exciting."

Eric Koser was chosen to participate in the Teacher at Sea program through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Out of hundreds of applications, only he and 35 others were chosen for this rare opportunity.  The teachers learn and help on NOAA ships all over the country, from both coasts, the great lakes, plus Alaska, and Hawaii.
 
Koser said: "I love to learn, I love to be around water, I've been around water all my life, and it seemed like a really neat opportunity to apply for that I didn't want to miss."

He was stationed aboard the ship, Ranier, a research vessel based out of Oregon, which is used to map the oceans and coastline.

"One of the things we found along one of the inlets was a long skinny trench about 6 to 8 feet wide that was about 8 to 10 feet deep and ran most of the length of the inlet.  The scientists were curious and surprised about what that was and weren't quite sure yet." he said.

Koser also had the opportunity to learn about the ship's crew and how they pilot the massive vessel.

"We plotted our course all the way from Ketchikan, Alaska all the way to Oregon.  I had the chance to learn how and plot the route that we took."

He hopes to take what he learned on the ship and teach his students about the world they live in.

"As a science teacher, that's one of my goals is to use my experience to help people really understand how our planet is changing and I've got some real firsthand experience now to help share that." Koser said.