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Archive for science education

July 11, 2018

by Rick Cooper

Lisa Blank, a professor of science education at the University of Montana, has been named as the new director of the Oregon Coast STEM Hub.

Lisa Blank, new director of the Oregon Coast STEM Hub

Science educator Lisa Blank has been named director of the Oregon Coast STEM Hub. (Photo by Logan Parson)

Blank, who will be based in Newport and start her job on Aug. 13, has a history of building strategic partnerships across pre-kindergarten through college education, STEM industries and organizations, and higher education. She began her career as an environmental scientist mitigating Superfund sites. She later taught middle- and high-school science and held academic positions at SUNY-Cortland and the University of Montana.

“The Oregon Coast STEM Hub brings together a diverse group of partners to provide student experiences and teacher opportunities the entire length of the Oregon coast,” said Shelby Walker, director of Oregon Sea Grant, which administers the hub. “As an experienced teacher and researcher in STEM education, Dr. Blank will enhance that partnership and work to expand and improve the opportunities for students and teachers to engage in STEM learning.”

Blank, who earned her doctorate in science education at Indiana University, collaborated on projects that provided computer science curriculum, industry internships and professional development for students and teachers across Montana in partnership with Montana State University, Montana-Tech and Salish-Kootenai College. Blank said she loves “making connections between people and ideas and systems” and is “excited to serve in my new position as a partner and resource in advancing STEM opportunities throughout coastal Oregon.”

As director of the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, Blank will handle its administration, strategic leadership, resource development, management of grant funds, evaluation and high-level public exposure. She will also support the work of a multidisciplinary leadership council, lead STEM Hub staff and engage diverse stakeholders from public and private sectors to achieve regional and statewide goals.

The Oregon Coast STEM Hub promotes integrated science, technology, engineering and math education and serves coastal teachers, students and communities. It is one of several regional STEM Hubs funded by the Oregon Department of Education. The hub is based at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport and serves the entire Oregon coast. Oregon Sea Grant has been a foundational partner of the STEM Hub and recently assumed a role as the administrative home for the director.

under: k-12 teachers, kids, news, Oregon Sea Grant, people, science education, STEM education
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Now available: New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter

Posted by: | June 21, 2018 Comments Off on Now available: New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter |

June 21, 2018

The spring/summer 2018 issue of Confluence, a newsletter about Oregon Sea Grant’s research, outreach and educational programs, is now available for download. Inside this eight-page issue, you’ll find the following stories:

Cover of the spring/summer 2018 issue of Oregon Sea Grant's newsletter, Confluence

The spring/summer 2018 issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter, Confluence, is now available for free download.

Want to receive the next issue of Confluence in your email? Click here.

under: Confluence, crab, ecology, environment, events, Extension, fellowships, fisheries, fishermen, free-choice learning, HMSC Visitor Center, internships, kids, marine animals, marine education, marine mammals, marine science, news, ocean literacy, oceanography, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, people, research, scholarships, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, seafood, social science, STEM education, tsunami, whales
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Visitor Center at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center to fully reopen March 24

Posted by: | March 19, 2018 Comments Off on Visitor Center at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center to fully reopen March 24 |

3-19-18

By Tiffany Woods and Mark Floyd

The popular public education wing of Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport will fully reopen on March 24 after closing for repairs in early December.

HMSC Visitor Center entrance

A giant decal of an octopus greets the public as they enter the Visitor Center at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. Oregon Sea Grant operates the Visitor Center. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

The front part of the facility, known as the Visitor Center, reopened in February for festivities celebrating OSU’s 150th anniversary while work in the back half continued. Crews replaced the rusting, 21-year-old metal stands under many of the saltwater tanks, removed some exhibits, and created artificial rockwork modeled after real formations in Yachats.

Although the tank stands are now finished, additional renovations are ongoing and many of the tanks’ denizens are still in other locations at Hatfield. Oregon Sea Grant, which operates the Visitor Center, plans to create a “habitat” theme around the tanks so that as visitors walk through they will move from shore to shallows to deep sea. Exhibits will be created to display examples of research taking place in each of those environments, said the center’s manager, Maureen Collson.

Every year, Collson said, about 150,000 people pass through the doors of the Visitor Center, where they can touch aquatic critters in an indoor tidepool, crash simulated tsunami waves against Lego structures, or watch an aquarist feed the octopus.

Octopus on display at the HMSC Visitor Center

A giant Pacific octopus is on display at the Visitor Center at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. This octopus was on display in 2011 but others have since replaced it. (Photo by Pat Kight)

Oregon Sea Grant commissioned an analysis in 2017 by Bruce Sorte, an economist with the OSU Extension Service, to find out the economic impact of the center. He surveyed 131 visitors and found that 39 percent said that half or more of their reason for visiting Lincoln County was to go to the center. Based on that and other numbers, he estimated that the Visitor Center annually supports $7.6 million in income for Oregonians, $13.2 million in sales for businesses in Oregon, and 156 jobs throughout the state. About three-quarters of those impacts occur in Lincoln County, Sorte said.

These figures include the salaries paid to employees at the center and a multiplier effect of those dollars, the amount of money visitors spend on food and lodging, and the household expenditures of Oregon Sea Grant employees and people who supply goods and services linked to the center.

“Since 1965, the Visitor Center has been teaching children and adults about marine science through fun, hands-on exhibits,” said Shelby Walker, the director of Oregon Sea Grant. “Although you can’t put a price tag on the value of that experience, as Bruce’s analysis shows, we can estimate the important economic contribution of the Visitor Center to Lincoln County and the state.”

The total annual cost to operate the center is $460,000, funded by the federal government, OSU and donations from visitors. The facility is staffed by Oregon Sea Grant faculty, who are assisted by more than 60 volunteers.

The Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Thursday-Monday through Memorial Day, then from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until Labor Day.

under: events, Extension, free-choice learning, HMSC Visitor Center, kids, marine animals, marine education, news, ocean literacy, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, science education
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Marine Education Coordinator position now open

Posted by: | January 5, 2018 Comments Off on Marine Education Coordinator position now open |

Oregon Sea Grant is seeking a Marine Education Coordinator. This is a full-time (1.00 FTE), 12-month, fixed-term professional faculty position. Reappointment is at the discretion of the Director.

HMSC Visitor Center entrance

The Oregon Sea Grant-operated Visitor Center at HMSC. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

Located at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon, this position serves as the coordinator for the Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) K-12 marine education program, planning and facilitating educational experiences.

This position is responsible to the Education Program Manager and works closely with the instructors/educators. This position also works directly with K-12 teachers, home-school educators and other visiting groups to plan and schedule marine educational experiences appropriate to their learning needs.

The Marine Education Coordinator leads marine science classes, labs, camps and other programs throughout the year and provides support and instruction for educator workshops and other grant-funded projects.

This position is also responsible for oversight and upkeep of OSG classrooms, educational supplies and equipment.

Occasional travel, weekend and evening work may be required.

For full consideration, apply by January 18, 2018.

under: HMSC Visitor Center, jobs, k-12 teachers, kids, marine education, news, Oregon Sea Grant, position announcements, science education
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Visitor Center at Hatfield Center to close Dec. 5 for maintenance

Posted by: | November 22, 2017 Comments Off on Visitor Center at Hatfield Center to close Dec. 5 for maintenance |

11/21/2017

by Mark Floyd

The Visitor Center at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, which annually draws some 150,000 visitors, will close on Dec. 5 for maintenance and renovation.

HMSC Visitor Center entrance

Oregon Sea Grant’s Visitor Center at HMSC will close for maintenance on Dec. 5. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

The Visitor Center’s front exhibits and auditorium are tentatively scheduled to reopen on Feb. 1, though there will be no public access to the back exhibits. The rest of the Visitor Center, which is operated by Oregon Sea Grant, is scheduled to reopen on March 25.

“A couple of the larger tanks in the back exhibits need to be re-secured to the foundation, and we’ll take the opportunity to do some additional plumbing and renovation,” said Bob Cowen, director of the Newport-based HMSC. “We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but the maintenance is overdue.”

Some of the Visitor Center’s exhibits include a large octopus tank, tanks with near- and offshore sea life, touch pools, coral tanks, displays featuring marine studies and current research, three wave tanks, an augmented sand table, and a variety of other hands-on educational exhibits.

under: HMSC Visitor Center, marine education, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, science education
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‘State of the Coast’ conference draws 250 people to Florence

Posted by: | November 3, 2017 Comments Off on ‘State of the Coast’ conference draws 250 people to Florence |

11-3-17

About 250 people attended Oregon Sea Grant’s annual State of the Coast conference, which was held this year in Florence on Oct. 28.

Sarah Seabrook explains her research to Leigh Torres during the State of the Coast conference.

Sarah Seabrook (left) explains her research to Leigh Torres during the State of the Coast conference. (Photo: Tiffany Woods)

That figure includes 40 speakers, 35 students who explained their research in a poster session, and eight exhibiting artists, said Jamie Doyle, an Oregon Sea Grant faculty member who helped organize the event. The students came from Oregon State University, Portland State University and the University of Oregon.

Rick Spinrad, a former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a former vice president for research at OSU, gave the keynote address.

To see photos, visit Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page.

under: conferences, ecosystem-based-management, environment, events, fisheries, lectures, marine animals, marine education, marine mammals, marine policy, marine science, marine spatial planning, NOAA, ocean law and policy, ocean literacy, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, science education, seafood
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‘State of the Coast’ conference set for Oct. 28 in Florence

Posted by: | October 13, 2017 Comments Off on ‘State of the Coast’ conference set for Oct. 28 in Florence |

10-13-17

By Tiffany Woods

Registration has opened for Oregon Sea Grant’s annual State of the Coast conference, which will be held Oct. 28 in Florence.

Shelby Walker addresses the audience at Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast Conference at Gleneden Beach in 2016. She is the director of Oregon Sea Grant. (Photo by Charles Robinson)

Billed as Oregon’s coastal conference for everyone, the event aims to bring together the public, scientists, fishermen, resource managers, teachers, students and conservationists. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn, network and talk about the current status and future of Oregon’s marine environment.

The keynote speaker will be Rick Spinrad, the chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 2014 to January 2017. He was also the vice president of research at Oregon State University from 2010 to 2014.

Under this year’s theme of “innovation,” presentations and hands-on activities will include the following topics:

  • invasive European green crabs
  • pyrosomes, the jelly-like, tube-shaped organisms that were seen off the Oregon coast in unusually large numbers this year
  • coastal governance and coastal-related legislation
  • the science behind fresh and frozen seafood
  • innovations in observing marine mammals
  • marine gear and technology
  • engaging communities in art
  • tracking local and global seafood across the supply chain
  • forecasting ocean conditions for recreation, profit and safety
  • managing estuaries for everyone

Marie Kowalski, a former master’s student at Oregon State University, talks about her research on mitigating microplastics at Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast Conference in Coos Bay in 2015. (Photo by Anne Farrell-Matthews)

Additionally, students from various universities in Oregon will talk about their coastal research. Also, a coastal chef will demonstrate how to prepare various types of seafood.

Registration in advance is recommended as space is limited. Cost is $35 for the public and $25 for students. It includes refreshments, lunch and a raffle ticket. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes with a reception that starts at 4 p.m. For more information and to register, visit www.stateofthecoast.com. The event will take place at the Florence Events Center at 715 Quince St.

under: beach safety, citizen science, ecology, environment, events, fisheries, fishermen, invasive species, lectures, marine animals, marine education, marine mammals, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, people, science education, seafood, Seafood preparation, seafood safety, waterfronts
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Video: Summer internships prepare undergrads for marine science careers

Posted by: | August 24, 2017 Comments Off on Video: Summer internships prepare undergrads for marine science careers |

This new video shows how Oregon Sea Grant’s Summer Scholars program helps prepare high-caliber junior and senior undergraduates from around the U.S. for careers in the marine sciences or the management of coastal resources. The program places students with Oregon-based federal and state agencies and nongovernmental organizations for paid, 10-week internships.

Students are assigned to a specific project under a mentor. They may assist their mentors with field work, lab work, analysis, research, policy development or public engagement efforts.

The video, produced by Oregon Sea Grant (OSG), also highlights some of this summer’s activities and includes interviews with students and mentors.

Ten students from seven different states participated in this year’s program, interning with agencies such as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), the USDA, the OSU Extension Tourism Program, the EPA and the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Students worked on topics ranging from monitoring recovering sea star populations to spreading awareness about marine reserves to testing unmanned aircraft systems’ viability in shellfish surveys.

Students also participated in a professional-development workshop on science communication and outreach and engagement. The workshop was followed by a hiking and camping trip, allowing students both to explore more of Oregon’s scenic beauty and spend some quality time with their cohort.

The program culminated with a symposium that was open to the public. Friends, family, mentors and coworkers came to watch the scholars present on their summer’s work.

“The skills I’ve gained this summer as a scholar seem a little difficult to quantify because it feels like there’s a lot,” student Catie Michel said in the video. “But I’ve especially appreciated learning about successful collaboration with people and effective communication, especially in terms of science and research.”

In addition to aligning with OSG’s vision, mission and values, the goals of the Summer Scholars program are to

  • prepare students for graduate school and/or careers in marine science, policy, management, and outreach through funding support and hands-on experience;
  • support host organization program initiatives and facilitate scholars’ understanding of their work’s importance in accomplishing the broader host organization goals; and
  • promote integration of diverse perspectives into problem solving for coastal Oregon to provide richer and more inclusive solutions.

The program also strives to encourage student success during and after their internships through cultivating an inclusive environment, creating a broad professional network in the marine field, offering professional development opportunities with an emphasis on science communication, and fostering a supportive mentor/mentee relationship.

“What I enjoy about mentoring a Sea Grant scholar is watching the students enjoy the learning experience,” Tommy Swearingen, a researcher with the ODFW, said in the video. “As an agency scientist, it is a huge benefit to our program to have the contribution that students make.”

Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholars Program was filmed and edited by Haley Epperly.

More information about the Summer Scholars program can be found here.

under: ecology, ecosystem-based-management, environment, Extension, higher education, internships, marine animals, marine education, marine policy, marine reserves, marine science, marine spatial planning, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, public communication, research, scholarships, science communication, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, summer activities, videos, water quality & conservation, watersheds
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New video shows how underwater robotics contest prepares kids for technical jobs

Posted by: | July 25, 2017 Comments Off on New video shows how underwater robotics contest prepares kids for technical jobs |

July 25, 2017

A new video shows how Oregon students are preparing for technical careers by building underwater robots for an annual competition in which they demonstrate their skills in front of engineers and scientists.

Contestants in MATE ROV competition learn engineering and problem solving skills. (photo by Daniel Cespedes)

The video, which was produced by Oregon State University with funding from Oregon Sea Grant, was filmed during the 2017 Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition, which Oregon Sea Grant coordinates. It is one of about 30 regional contests around the world in which students qualify for an annual international competition.

Contestants operate their underwater devices remotely, and sometimes with a video monitor. (photo by Daniel Cespedes)

“Our goal is to really get students interested in science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — and connect them with marine technicians and engineers and marine scientists that utilize remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs,” Tracy Crews, the manager of Oregon Sea Grant’s marine education program, said in the video.

Contestants often have to troubleshoot in real time. (photo by Daniel Cespedes)

Thirty-one teams from Oregon participated in this year’s competition, which was held in April at the pool at the Lincoln City Community Center. More than 200 students from elementary school through college demonstrated devices they built.

“For students who struggle with conventional school, it’s a chance for them to really shine,” Melissa Steinman, a teacher at Waldport High School, said in the video.

A new theme is chosen each year. This year’s theme highlighted the role of remotely operated vehicles in monitoring the environment and supporting industries in port cities. Like port managers and marine researchers, the students guided their robots through tasks that simulated identifying cargo containers that fell overboard, repairing equipment, and taking samples of hypothetically contaminated sediment and shellfish. Students also presented marketing materials they created and gave engineering presentations.

“A couple of teams, they just nailed it,” Ken Sexton, one of the judges and owner of The Sexton Corp., said in the video.

Students were also tasked with creating mock companies, thinking like entrepreneurs and working together to “manufacture, market, and sell” their robots. The students gained project management and communication skills as they managed a budget, worked as a team, brainstormed solutions and delivered presentations.

“Some of my team members are really, really good at programming, now,” Natalie DeWitt, a senior at Newport High School, said in the video. “And we have one kid who is really good at using CAD software design, now. And they actually had internships over the summer … those experiences we had in robotics gave us qualifications for jobs that we wouldn’t have had before.”

“It’s really good problem-solving, teamwork, just everything all together. It really helps … you have better skills for the future,” said Kyle Brown, a junior at Bandon High School.

Photos from the 2017 contest in Oregon are on Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page at c.kr/s/aHskYZdMiF

Volunteer scuba divers helped out at Oregon’s 6th annual Marine Advanced Technology Education Remotely Operated Vehicle competition at the pool at the Lincoln City Community Center. (photo by Daniel Cespedes)

under: engineering, environment, events, kids, marine education, marine science, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, science education, technology, videos
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Students to compete in underwater robot contest in Lincoln City

Posted by: | April 21, 2017 Comments Off on Students to compete in underwater robot contest in Lincoln City |

Oregon students from elementary school through community college will compete in Lincoln City on April 29 in an underwater robotics contest that tests their engineering and problem-solving skills.

The students, who hail from 20 schools largely along the coast, will be showing off devices they built for the annual Oregon Regional MATE ROV competition, which is coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant and aims to prepare students for technical careers.

The public is invited to attend the event, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the swimming pool at the Lincoln City Community Center at 2150 N.E. Oar Place.

The event is one of about 30 regional contests around the world that are coordinated by the California-based Marine Advanced Technology Center (MATE). Top teams from Oregon qualify to compete in the International MATE ROV Competition, which will be held June 23-25 in Long Beach, Calif.

Each year a new theme is chosen. This year’s contest highlights the role of remotely operated vehicles — or ROVs — in securing the health and safety of seaports and helping lay the groundwork for “port cities of the future.” Like port managers, the students will guide their ROVs through tasks that simulate finding cargo containers that fell overboard, constructing an underwater tunnel, and cleaning up contaminated sediment. Students will also present posters or marketing displays they created and give engineering presentations.

Students are also tasked with creating mock companies, thinking like entrepreneurs and working together to “manufacture, market, and sell” their ROVs. The students gain project management and communication skills as they manage a budget, work as a team, brainstorm solutions and deliver presentations, all skills transferable to other careers.

Local marine technology professionals, engineers, and scientists from Oregon State University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency volunteer as judges. Volunteer divers from the Oregon Coast Aquarium and OSU’s Scientific Dive Team also support the competition.

under: engineering, environment, events, jobs, k-12 teachers, kids, marine education, marine science, National Sea Grant Program, news, NOAA, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, science communication, science education, technology
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