UH graduate student becomes first Pacific Islander to reach the deepest region of Earth

UH graduate student becomes first Pacific Islander to reach the deepest region of Earth

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A University of Hawaii at Manoa graduate student became the first Pacific Islander to voyage to the Challenger Deep ― the deepest region of the Earth.

Nicole Yamase, a graduate student studying for a doctoral degree in marine biology, took the roughly 35,800-foot journey down the Mariana Trench.

She joined Victor Vescovo, who piloted the two-person research vessel DSSV Pressure Drop, which is the only commercially certified submersible that is capable of reaching any ocean depth multiple times.

Yamase said it took four hours to get all the way down to the bottom of the trench.

They also spent two hours exploring the eastern part of the pool ― an area no human, to their knowledge, has ever been before.

Nicole Yamase
Nicole Yamase (Source: Verola Media and Caladan Oceanic)

“I hope this experience inspires other young Pacific Islanders to pursue STEM fields and higher education, so that they can serve as role models for the next generations,” she said.

Her studies usually focus on shallow water microalgae, but she said seeing the reefs at the deepest part of the ocean showed her how everything in the Earth is connected.

Yamase was able to experience this amazing voyage after being nominated by the Micronesia Conservation Trust.

In being part of this voyage, Yamase represented her country in being the first Micronesian, first Pacific Islander, first marine botanist, youngest female and third woman to ever visit Challenger Deep.

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