The Impact of STEM Mentorship: JASON Argonaut Theresa Huyser

by Tommy Cornelis

According to Argonaut Alumni Theresa, her adventures with JASON completely changed the course of her life—and those around her.

“The exposure to science expeditions, researchers and the JASON support team was the highlight of my childhood. I was inspired by my experiences as an Argonaut, and as a result was the first person in my family to go to college. I then went on to graduate school. This indirectly affected my siblings as they all followed in my footsteps and went to college too.”

Theresa’s JASON experience took her to Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, where the expedition team examined tubeworms and other organisms that live off hydrothermal vents in the Guaymas Basin of the Sea of Cortez. She also conducted research on migrating gray whales in the San Ignacio lagoon on the Pacific coast. This was the first JASON expedition that allowed scientific research to be conducted remotely, with scientists in laboratories thousands of miles away directing the JASON submersible to retrieve specimens, measure temperature, collect water, and photograph rare creatures.

“JASON helped me to develop a deeper appreciation of our planet and all life on earth. I have kept in touch with many JASON staff members and scientists because they have continued to be active mentors for me throughout my academic and professional career.”

Originally from Colorado, Theresa now resides in Montana. She works as a regenerative ecological designer, designing spaces, communities, and products that are healthy for the Earth and its inhabitants.

“I certainly believe my JASON Argonaut experience helped me to get where I am right now,” says Theresa. “All my love to the global JASON family!”

JASON’s ongoing mission is to inspire and educate students everywhere through real science and exploration. JASON’s Student and Teacher Argonauts—named after the band of explorers in Greek mythology who accompanied Jason in his quest to find the Golden Fleece—travel to research locations around the world to work with role model scientists and engineers. In doing so, they become the eyes and ears for their peers back home, experiencing firsthand what it’s like to pursue a STEM career, sharing that knowledge when they return to their local communities, and making real-world connections to the STEM topics they’ve learned about in JASON’s classroom curricula. Returning Argonauts are given rock-star treatment, celebrated for their achievements and recognized themselves as STEM role models in their schools and communities.

Since JASON’s founding in 1989 over 500 students and teachers have participated in the Argonaut Program, inspiring millions of their peers in the process.