Press Releases

November 17, 2004

It’s All About Parrots and Peg Legs for Southampton Alum Tara Rider
Cincinnati, Ohio Native Travels from Midwest to Midmast in Study of Female Pirates

Amanda Olsen (

Southampton, NY – Southampton College alum Tara Rider (’98) grew up landlocked in the bustling city of Cincinnati, Ohio, but always fostered an interest for all things nautical. That interest culminated in choosing Southampton College as an ideal location to pursue her undergraduate studies. Now Rider is charting a new course toward a doctorate in maritime studies. Her topic: women and the sea. Right now she is concentrating on female pirates.

“I wanted to incorporate both marine science and history,” said Rider. “It piqued my interest to learn about women and boats and how they relate historically.”

Rider was driven, in part, by her own experiences on the water, both as an observer and as a sailor. During her time at Southampton College she participated in the world-renowned SEAmester program.

“I tend to want to prove I can do anything boys do,” Rider confessed.

SEAmester is more than a casual experience at sea.  It is a challenging adventure where students not only study the ocean environment, they live it.  On board the ship, students take responsibility for crewing the schooner, standing deck watch, manning the helm and setting the acre of sail.  At the same time they take a full semester’s workload, everything from navigation and seamanship to Melville and Hemingway.  The curriculum includes courses in maritime history, marine science, coastal ecology, and literature of the sea.

Disappointed with the resources that were available, Rider set out to create her own work that explores the role of women forging their own destinies as dynamic individuals. 

“There has been quite a bit of research done on women and whaling ships, but most of the books on female pirates have been poor biographies, never looking at the larger phenomenon.” Rider said.

Rider currently lives in Port Jefferson Station and attends Stony Brook University.