Ocean Discovery Institute, Leaders Initiative.


2020 – 2022


San Diego, CA

Ocean Discovery Institute

Leaders Initiative

Historically marginalized communities in San Diego lack access to coastal environments and quality STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, 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 under-resourced 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 students to become professionals and mentors in STEM and conservation through participation in authentic research and development of practical work skills, providing them with critical academic and social tools.

SCOPE 2021
  • Launch a 12-week intensive summer program that will engage 8th-grade students in hands-on science labs, learning to swim and snorkel, science writing and personal reflection, as well as significant mentoring and career exploration.
  • Provide year-round Leaders Initiative program opportunities: 8th – 11th-grade students will receive virtual bi-weekly mentoring, and 12th-grade students will receive intensive one-on-one College Access Mentoring Program designed to support a successful transition to higher education.
  • Engage college graduates and three, near-graduates in the Career Access Mentoring Program designed to support their successful transitions into the workforce.
SCOPE 2020
  • Engage 120 students in grades 8-12 in first-hand research experience, mentoring, and weekly academic support.
  • Work with partners at Sea Grant to develop a multi-week research experience for 20 8th grade students to learn how to swim and explore marine environments.
  • Coordinate monthly field trips to participate in research-focused snorkeling trips with scientists, visit local research institutions, and tour universities to explore higher-education opportunities and careers in STEM. 
  • Develop an intensive, two-week summer program tailored to 9th graders, where students will conduct field research led by NOAA scientists in Baja, California.

About Ocean Discovery Institute

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.

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