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#WeAreNMEA - Dijanna Figueroa

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Sunday, February 17, 2019

Dijanna FigueroaDijanna Figueroa

Upper School Science and Director of Lucas Scholars STEAM Program

St. Matthew's Parish School
Pacific Palisades, CA


Dijanna Figueroa has made a career of exploring the mysteries of the deep. She was featured in James Cameron’s documentary Aliens of the Deep, which follows Cameron and NASA scientists as they explore the some of the deepest parts of the ocean and learn about the unique life forms that inhabit those spaces. Recently, Figueroa has become an advocate for STEAM education—adding art and design to the science, technology, engineering, and math equation. She’s spent more than two decades teaching STEAM to grades K–8 in the greater Los Angeles area, formerly served as global director of the Muse School National Geographic Society’s Green STEAM program and has advisory roles with many STEM/STEAM nonprofits. She was recently featured on MTV’s Women Crush Wednesdays Women in STEM series. She currently teaches middle school science at St. Matthew's Parish School and runs programs that teach students how to fly drones, scuba dive and build underwater robots. If that isn’t enough, Figueroa is the director of the Lucas Scholars STEM program, a community based social justice and equity program designed to engage young people in science, engineering, design, and art. She loves the ocean and is committed to making ocean science accessible to all people.

Dijanna Figureoa SCUBA poolDijanna Figueroa Lucas Scholars

Pictured above: Diving Enrichment Educational Program SCUBA Class (left) and Lucas Scholars Summer Social Justice STEM Program (right)


Connect with Dijanna

Instagram icon  @deepoceandoctor
Twitter logo @drdijanna

Tags:  WeAreNMEA 

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#WeAreNMEA - Fostering Ocean Literacy in Asia with Tsuyoshi Sasaki

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tsuyoshi SasakiTsuyoshi Sasaki 佐々木剛

Professor, Department of Ocean Policy and Culture

Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology
Tokyo, Japan


Dr. Tsuyoshi Sasaki is a Professor at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology and Director of the Japan Aquatic Marine Environmental Education Association since 2006. His responsibilities are to link scientists, government, schools, and communities on issues ranging from aquaculture to water quality to fisheries and ecotourism across different disciplines to solve problems that stretch from the mountains to the coast. Taking this community-ecosystem-based approach, it is the idea that aquatic marine environmental education programs will integrate environmental, economic, and social expertise to find local sustainable solutions. Dr. Sasaki is also the Chairman of the Asia Marine Educators Association (AMEA).

Asia marine educators connected with Ocean Literacy

Dr. Sasaki describes the importance of his work in Ocean Literacy:

“Although we all have different individualities with respect to each other, at the root of all of our lives is a connection with nature. In particular, without the sea we cannot live. It is therefore not an exaggeration to say that all humans are connected via the sea. In that sense, Ocean Literacy has an important role to remove the boundaries of our mind and to connect each of us to others throughout the world. In this way, the significance of Ocean Literacy cannot be overstated.

Our group is working with Forest-River-Ocean Nexus Education, FRON-E. By waking up the consciousness of these connections, a fundamental relationship with nature will be nurtured and a society of sustainable peace can be developed. It is an important role of marine educators in Asia to engage in regional educational activities for that purpose.”

Pictured below are the Japan-Taiwan Forest-River-Ocean Nexus exchange program (left) and the Japan-Indonesia Forest-River-Ocean Nexus student exchange program (right).

Japan-Taiwan Forest-River-Ocean Nexus exchange programJapan-Indonesia Forest-River-Ocean Nexus student exchange Program

Connect with Tsuyoshi

Email icon  t-sasaki@kaiyodai.ac.jp
Twitter logo @Hypomesus2

Tags:  #WeAreNMEA  International  Ocean Literacy 

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#WeAreNMEA - Joey Noelle Scott

Posted By Joey Noelle Scott, Thursday, January 31, 2019

Joey Noelle ScottJoey Noelle Scott

Supervisor of Teacher Programs

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey, CA


My journey to marine education started in college - 100 miles away from the ocean. Like many 20-year-olds, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I was majoring in genetics when a friend talked me into an internship working with a 3rd-grade teacher on a science curriculum project. I quickly fell in love with education, teaching, and saw the need for science education. After finishing my degree, I went to graduate school for my Master’s in Education. The program, at the University of California - Santa Cruz, had a strong focus on social justice and inquiry-based instruction, which has significantly impacted my work to this day. I taught in public elementary and middle schools teaching science and using science to teach other content areas. In 2009, I joined the Peace Corps and served two years in Lesotho, a small country in southern Africa. As a volunteer, I worked to support elementary teachers, helped train new volunteers who would serve as English teachers, and learned to speak basic Sesotho (Lumela!). Shortly after I returned to the States, I started working in the Teacher Programs Department at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. In addition to my role leading teacher institutes and workshops, I’ve been able to work on some pretty innovative projects.

Kelp Forest e-BookKelp Forest Game Screen

I help manage all of the curriculum available on our website, but developing our two digital curriculum products -- an ebook and accompanying app -- was new for all of us. They are designed to help kids learn more about the amazing animals that live in the kelp forest ecosystem. They are free, interactive, and device-neutral. In addition to some great artwork, they help kids see the biotic and abiotic components and their interactions in this system.

MBA Teacher WorkshopLately I've also been working with a group of folks on a new program model that brings local environmental education providers together with classroom teachers. With training by and for each other, they work collaboratively to build a unit that includes both inside- and outside-the-classroom experiences. These activities are relevant to the students they serve and include authentic scientific experiences. This program will start its third year this summer and the evaluations so far have been pretty inspiring. We're hoping to share our experience with this program at the NMEA conference in June!

I am also the president of SWMEA (Southwest Marine/Aquatic Educators Association) this year and have the pleasure of working with amazing people from all over the region in sharing best practices and building community. Join your local NMEA chapter if you haven't already and hope to see you all in New Hampshire at #NMEA19!


Connect with Joey:

Twitter logo @joeyelle
Instagram logo @joeyelle

Tags:  WeAreNMEA 

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#WeAreNMEA - Jaime Thom

Posted By Jaime Thom, Monday, January 28, 2019

Jaime ThomJaime Thom

School Programs Manager

South Carolina Aquarium
Charleston, SC


I began my marine educator career as a School Programs Intern at the South Carolina Aquarium in 2001. I now manage that same program and have been with the Aquarium for over 15 years!

As the School Programs Manager, I run the Aquarium's school programs, which teach school-age children science topics in a fun, hands-on way. Students can interact with animals as well as participate in fun labs to learn about everything from habitats to sea turtle rehabilitation.
I am also in charge of teacher workshops, curriculum writing and teaching programs. I lead a staff of 15 fantastic educators who spend everyday "making people's day" here at the Aquarium.

Jaime Thom teaching a invertebrate lessonThe best part of my job as a marine educator is that no single day is like any other. One day I could spend writing a new lesson for kindergarten students and the next day I could be teaching a group of high school students about sea turtle rescue and rehab. Then I might get to run a teacher workshop before switching gears and walking around the Aquarium with a snake for our visitors to see. Never a dull moment and we always say, "there is no such day as a typical day". I love that about my job!

Because of this, I get to interact with many people throughout our community as well as around the US and the world. If a handful of them learn to appreciate the environment and find a way to make it better, I've done my part.

Most recently we've added a stronger message about plastic pollution to our school programs. Everyone has heard, "pick up trash" or "don't litter", which are both great messages that we continue to share, but now we are adding in more specifics about decreasing single use plastic and saying no to straws. From our kindergarten programs that focus on habitats to our high school programs that focus on sea turtles, we are hoping to make a difference by planting the seeds of conservation.


Connect with Jaime:

Email icon  jthom@scaquarium.org
Facebook logo Jaime Coomes Thom

Tags:  WeAreNMEA 

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#WeAreNMEA - #SciArt through Diaphonization with Leann Winn

Posted By Leann Winn, Monday, January 21, 2019

Leann WinnLeann Winn

Upper School Science Faculty

Trevor Day School
New York, NY


It is my deeply held belief as a scientist that one continues to pursue knowledge and experience in their field of study. While doing just that, an unexpected journey presented itself.

It started back in 2017 when I accepted a position at Trevor Day School. The school was highly interested in adding Marine Science to their course offerings and who better to develop the curriculum than someone with that as their forte.

In the summer of 2018, an opportunity for professional development took me to the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories. Here, I participated in the Fish Biomechanics course where I learned about clearing and staining under the direction of Dr. Adam Summers.

Example of Alcian blue (Photo credit: Adam Summers)Example of Alizarin red (Photo credit: Andie Hernandez)

Let me provide you with a quick overview. Clearing and staining is a chemical process also known as diaphonization used for comparative anatomy. This process can be used on small vertebrate specimen after being chemically fixed to keep from rotting. Between the Alcian blue and Alizarin red staining stages, Trypsin is used to break down organs and major tissues. Yet, the collagen remains in order to hold the specimen together. Following these stages, the specimen can be preserved in glycerin in order to analyze the bony and cartilage attachments, collect vertebral measurements, and photograph for further investigation.

Longnose skate (Raja rhina) after clearing and staining processUsing a Longnose skate (Raja rhina), my now dear friend, Andie Hernandez guided me through this process. Andie is a Master’s student in the Florida Atlantic Biomechanics Lab under the direction of Dr. Marianne Porter. It was awe inspiring to see how the skate turned out.

As the summer came to an end, we discovered the photograph had circulated throughout social media and caught the attention of some fellow K-12 educators. Given that interest, Andie offered to do a Google Hangout with me to explain how it worked for Sharks4Kids. Following this, one of my seniors, whose passion is photography, asked if they could learn the process. Furthermore, multiple students were simply drawn to and curious about the specimen on my desk. I had planned on integrating what I learned within the course to my curriculum, but could not have predicted that it would gain such momentum in my school.

As the semester continued, my department head, Jeff, patiently listened as I processed my ideas out loud. As the year commenced, we decided to make this the 10th grade coordinated science final project. What a great application of Biochemistry! More recently, I began to consider if we could make this an interdisciplinary project and include the art department. The resulting product could go beyond the act of compiling a photograph and branch out into other artistic media. We just went from STEM to STEAM!

Presently, we are working out the details. Stay tuned for updates!


Photo captions (clockwise from top left):

Example of Alcian blue (Photo credit: Adam Summers)
Example of Alizarin red (Photo credit: Andie Hernandez)
Longnose skate (Raja rhina) after clearing and staining process

Connect with Leann:

Email icon  lwinn@trevor.org
Twitter logo @JrzyShark
Instagram logo @JrzyShark

Tags:  WeAreNMEA 

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2019 Webinar Series - Curiosity to Careers: Engaging People of Color in STEM

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Thursday, January 17, 2019

NMEA presents the first in our 2019 Webinar Series:

Curiosity to Careers: Engaging People of Color in STEM

Dr. Dijanna Figueroa
Friday, February 8th at 4PM Pacific/7PM Eastern

In this webinar we will explore

  1. The stories of people of color in STEM
  2. Developing and implementing strategies for engaging and retaining students of color in STEM
  3. Using the power of curiosity, storytelling, and mentorship to teach science to diverse audiences

Watch the recorded webinar here!


Dijanna FigueroaDijanna Figueroa has made a career of exploring the mysteries of the deep. She was featured in James Cameron’s documentary Aliens of the Deep, which follows Cameron and NASA scientists as they explore the some of the deepest parts of the ocean and learn about the unique life forms that inhabit those spaces. Recently, Figueroa has become an advocate for STEAM education—adding art and design to the science, technology, engineering, and math equation. She’s spent more than a decade teaching STEAM to grades K–8 in the greater Los Angeles area, formerly served as global director of the National Geographic Society’s Green STEAM program, and has advisory roles with many STEAM nonprofits. She was recently featured on MTV’s Women Crush Wednesdays STEM series. She leads a middle school science program that teaches students how to fly drones, scuba dive and build underwater robots. If that isn’t enough, Figueroa is the director the Lucas Scholars STEM program, a community based social justice and equity program designed to engage young people in science, engineering, design and art.

Tags:  expanding audiences  STEM  webinar 

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#WeAreNMEA Guest Blog - International Ocean Literacy Survey Version 4

Posted By Craig Strang, Sunday, January 13, 2019

Craig Strang

Associate Director

Lawrence Hall of Science
Berkeley, CA


A bunch of us Ocean Literacy-types launched the International Ocean Literacy Survey Version 4 last week! Now we need your help to get as many 15-17 year old students as possible to take the survey! We are so excited that this huge volunteer, international effort is moving forward to the next level.

Three years ago, one of my Lawrence Hall of Science psychometrician colleagues, Mac Cannady, gave a presentation at the EMSEA Conference in Crete about some incomplete work we had done several years before through COSEE California to begin development of an evaluation instrument that might measure levels of Ocean Literacy. We were surprised that poor Mac was deluged with questions, and then had people approaching him throughout the conference, saying how much they needed such an instrument, and how they would gladly contribute to its development if an organization like the Hall would lead the effort. They all agreed that the Survey should be based on "Ocean Literacy: The essential principles of ocean sciences for learners of all ages" and "The Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence for Grades K-12." Amazing that our work here in the US to define Ocean Literacy is finding value in countries like Bangladesh, Taiwan, Sweden, Japan...

We didn't have a penny in the bank for the project, but we got swept up and inspired by the enthusiasm of our colleagues and decided to give it a try. Three years later, we think we are very close having a finished survey instrument that will be community developed, open-source and freely available to any organization, practitioner or researcher. Version 2 was translated into 17 languages and tested in 24 countries. Almost 7,000 students participated. It was the largest survey of Ocean Literacy ever conducted! Version 4 has been translated into 12 languages—we'll see how many countries and how many students we can recruit to use it!

Having a common instrument that can be used anywhere in the world is a huge benefit to our entire community, and will allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of various programs, establish baselines of Ocean Literacy in various communities and measure growth in Ocean Literacy over time. We hope that the International Ocean Literacy Survey will become an essential component of the Ocean Literacy Framework along with the Principles and Concepts, the Scope and Sequence, and the Ocean Literacy/NGSS Alignment document.

NMEA has been a leader in the Ocean Literacy Campaign in US and on other continents. We can all be proud of that. When you pay your membership dues, you get a newsletter and a journal, but you're also supporting the spread of Ocean Literacy around the world.

You should have seen information on Scuttlebutt and other list serves about the International Ocean Literacy Survey V4 field test. If you haven't, you can find everything you need to know at https://www.geraldinefauville.com/international-ocean-literacy-survey. Please give the survey to students 15-17 years old and distribute the information to other educators who have access to students. Thanks in advance for your help!

Connect with Craig:

Email icon  cstrang@berkeley.edu
Twitter logo @CraigStrang2
Instagram logo @ccstrang

Tags:  Ocean Literacy  WeAreNMEA 

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#WeAreNMEA - George Matsumoto

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Thursday, January 3, 2019

George MatsumotoGeorge Matsumoto

Senior Education and Research Specialist

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Moss Landing, CA


As a long time member of NMEA and former board member, I am very pleased to be able to share my enthusiasm for the ocean with you. I've been diving since college and still use SCUBA for research at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), although we usually focus on the deep sea environment. I'm fortunate to be able to work with the Monterey Bay Aquarium as well as teach as a local community college, Monterey Peninsula College. For the past few years, I've been helping to run a unique educator professional development workshop called EARTH (www.mbari.org/EARTH) but we are retooling the workshop this year - stay tuned to see what develops. MBARI also runs an internship program that is open to educators. My wife was an educator for over twenty years and now, in her 'retirement', is busier than ever working with Our Little Roses, a school for girls in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

As 2019 begins, our ocean is faced with some extreme challenges and I look forward to working with you to help stem the flow of misinformation and better inform our future/students.

Connect with George:

Email icon  mage@mbari.org
Twitter logo @george_mage

Tags:  WeAreNMEA 

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Check your inbox for our December 2018 newsletter

Posted By Jennifer Magnusson, Wednesday, December 19, 2018

December Newsletter

Our December 2018 newsletter is out!

It features our annual appeal from our president, Meg Marrero, updates about the NMEA19 conference in NH, inspiration for blue-green giving, and announcements from our chapters and committees, as well as other news items and reminders!

Didn't see it in your inbox? No worries, you can access it here! In order to ensure that you receive future mailings, make sure that your current contact email is listed in your NMEA profile, or sign-up for our email list here >

Tags:  newsletter 

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Blue-Green Giving

Posted By Conservation Committee, Monday, December 17, 2018

If you are looking for a way to be “blue-green” this holiday season, consider sustainable giving!  With the numerous options for the conservation minded individual these days, deciding on what to purchase can be tricky.  Not to mention, pricey.  Why not put your creative talents to the test and make something yourself?  If you are saying, “I’m not crafty, this isn’t going to happen”, let me just be the first to say “Give it a try, it’s easier than you think.”  I’ve been witness to those with the not-so-crafty thumb do exceptionally well and enjoy it at the same time.  So this holiday season let the good times roll and make sustainable giving a priority!

Check out a few of my favorite sustainable gift ideas!

Make Gift Bows from Magazines

Tutorial via Condo Blues

DIY Bows

Make A No Sew T-Shirt Tote Bag

Tutorial via Mommypotamus

DIY Tote Bag

Crayon Melt Glass Ornaments

Tutorial via Instructables

DIY Ornaments

Homemade Aromatherapy Candles

Tutorial via The Healthy Maven

Homemade Aromatherapy Candles

Vintage Scarf Eye Pillows

Tutorial via Sadie Seasongoods

DIY Eye Pillows

Homemade Toothpaste

Tutorial via Don't Waste the Crumbs

Homemade Toothpaste

DIY Photo Coasters

Tutorial via Just a Little About Nothing

DIY Photo Coasters

Thrift Store Sweater Pillow Covers

Tutorial via Live from Julie's House

Thrift Store Sweater Pillow Covers

Make Your Own Reusable Food Wrap

Tutorial via Apartment Therapy

Reusable Food Wrap

Happy Holidays,

Heather Segura, Conservation Committee Vice Chair

Tags:  Conservation 

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