San Diego, California
National research consistently shows that minorities are underrepresented in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and marine science, in particular, lacks diversity. Historically marginalized communities in San Diego lack access to on-water activities and quality STEM educations, which led to the implementation of the ‘Ocean Leaders Initiative’ at the Ocean Discovery Institute. This multi-year science and conservation program is designed to empower and encourage underserved students from 8th-grade onward, and individuals that are considering higher education, to pursue STEM careers and achieve higher levels of academic success.
This initiative will help to prepare a diverse group of individuals to become professionals and mentors in STEM and conservation through participation in authentic research and development of practical work skills, providing students with critical academic and social tools. Fieldwork for 9th graders will take place in Baja, California, where students will work alongside scientists focused on reducing sea turtle bycatch, and studying the effects of climate change on wetland habitats.
Ocean Discovery Institute is a nonprofit that uses science to empower young people from underserved urban communities to transform their lives, their community, and our world as scientific and conservation leaders. Ocean Discovery Institute’s unique approach and exceptional outcomes earned national recognition in 2010 when it was awarded The White House’s Presidential Award for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.