Engaging with the public, working with K-12 students and their teachers, hosting press visits and science journalists, and encouraging undergraduate students interested in scientific careers are important aspects to our work as scientists. Every year a variety of education and outreach activities are conducted either through oceanographic expeditions, departmental outreach activities, or more specifically related to the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (CMORE). Some examples of this activity are highlighted below.
Mentoring undergraduates onboard research expeditions We regularly take undergraduates who are interested in pursuing a career in oceanography out to sea. They are typically recruited a few weeks prior to departure to get them involved with the preparation and onboard they help with the research and are allocated specific tasks. While some of them go on to pursue an oceanographic career, one item they all agree on is the unique and rewarding experience.
Teachers at sea I have co-led science expeditions which have been part of the Science Teachers Aboard Research Ships (STARS) program. Teachers worked alongside scientists who conducted their regular research including sampling the water-column, analyzing seawater samples in the lab. Teachers discussed how to incorporate this activity into classroom-ready exercises and lectures with a member of CMORE.
Open house and science fairs Science fairs and contests are a good opportunity to establish links with schools and their students. The open house hosted by School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawaii attracts over 1000 K-12 students.
Work with journalists A conference session that I co-organized at Ocean Sciences in Honolulu discussed the scientific research being conducted at the long-term time-series monitoring station in the North Pacific Ocean. A local journalist attended and published the adjacent article in the Hawaii state newspaper, the Star Advertiser.
Writing articles intended for general audience In addition to scientific articles, I have also written for more general audiences. Such articles provide a contextual background to the microbial oceanography research and highlight the importance of new discoveries being made. A recent article (Wilson and Karl, 2013) was published in Current, the Journal of Marine Education about the ocean research conducted in NSF-sponsored Science and Technology Centers