Training future researchers
Science Education & Mentorship
I connect teachers and high school students with active scientific researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (and soon NOAA Fisheries!) who serve as mentors for authentic research experiences. Student researchers join active investigations of soundscapes and acoustic ecology, in which they are exposed to a depth and breadth of topics in oceanography, passive acoustics and conservation biology. The study of sound in marine ecosystems is naturally interdisciplinary and includes consideration of math, physics, electronics, computer science, and ecology. These research experiences range from one to multiple semesters in duration, and provide students with opportunities to directly interact with the professional tools, methods, models, theories and culture of science.
This class and research program is designed to provide high school students with field experiences, research opportunities, and direct interaction with working scientists. It is made possible through a partnership between Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Mt. Edgecumbe High School (MEHS) in Sitka, Alaska.
Through the internship, student researchers:
Explore a breadth of exposure to current topics in oceanography and marine ecology
Do hands-on technology training
Learn to access and interpret primary literature
Practice a range of research skills, including grant writing, data analysis, and basic programming in Matlab
Develop science communication skills, including oral presentations and publication in peer-reviewed journals
Interact with scientist-mentors over multiple years
Gain exposure to undergraduate research opportunities
More Details on What We Do
Student projects are designed to promote learning, including student mastery of subject matter, development of scientific reasoning, and enhanced student motivation, interest and identification with science. Through weekly (virtual and in-person) meetings, mentors supervise students as they develop and practice relevant research skills. Weekly meetings with researchers also promote scientific discussions as well as reviews of future academic, research and career development opportunities. Student participation involves literature reviews, data analysis, and various forms of science communication with lab groups and mentors. Students may join researchers in the field to deploy or retrieve acoustic recording equipment and observe other survey methods in oceanography. The culmination of the program is a research symposium, where students present conference style talks to an academic audience. During this multi-day event, students visit university research facilities and meet with undergraduate, graduate, faculty and government researchers, managers and military personnel who practice science-informed decision making.
Scientific progress thrives with a variety of viewpoints and problem-solving abilities and as a society; therefore the target audience for this program are students who come from backgrounds that have historically been underrepresented in STEM. In particular, place based learning opportunities can be especially rich for coastal communities. Teachers and mentors are selected based on experience and interest working with students from diverse backgrounds, and mentor training sessions explicitly plan for the unique affordances that each student, family and community brings to the program.
Mentors are active researchers who are committed to providing ongoing supervision and support to students throughout the period of the project. Researchers may include university staff, faculty, post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students, non-profit, government and military researchers. Although previous training in education is a plus, mentors gain training and experience to effectively support diverse STEM learners as part of this program.