40 Years of Education
REU student recording data during a summer cruise. Photographer, Nicole Lehming

A CORE MISSION FOR MARYLAND SEA GRANT is preparing students to succeed in science. The U.S. ranks 24th in science education out of 71 nations analyzed in the latest survey. And roughly 40 percent of American undergraduates who try to major in science or engineering switch majors or fail to graduate. To address this national need Maryland Sea Grant develops innovative approaches to improving science education from middle school through graduate school.

Raising fish in schools: project-based science

Aquaculture in Action — a project developed by Adam Frederick of Maryland Sea Grant and by Jackie Takacs of the University of Maryland Extension — has been training middle and high school teachers to design, build, and operate recirculating systems for raising native fish in their schools. To date, 23 schools in eight counties and Baltimore City use these systems. Thousands of students have participated in programs that integrate the teaching of biology and chemistry by conducting real-world experiments.

Oysters in the classroom

Maryland Sea Grant education specialists have developed an interactive web-based resource on Crassostrea virginica, the oyster native to the U.S. eastern seaboard. The resource includes in-depth materials on such subjects as oyster biology and ecology, an anatomy lab, procedures for studying the oyster immune system, and links to articles on the history of oystering in the Chesapeake Bay. A downloadable version of these interactive lessons also features videos of the many small organisms that inhabit the oyster's world, among them, hydroids, bryozoans, mud worms, and mussels.

Undergraduate research at Maryland labs

Since 1989, Maryland Sea Grant has been matching students from universities and colleges nationwide with scientists at the Horn Point and Chesapeake Biological laboratories for summer research. With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), this program of Research Experiences for Undergraduates has prepared students for careers in marine science. Funding from NSF has also enabled Maryland Sea Grant to bring underrepresented populations into the marine sciences and to create partnerships with universities in Puerto Rico to establish a year-round program for coastal research and education.

Graduate education in cutting-edge research

To prepare future research scientists, Maryland Sea Grant has been sponsoring graduate fellowships that provide students with the freedom to focus on learning how to investigate complex marine and environmental issues, translate scientific findings for diverse constituencies, and assist policymakers in making informed decisions. In addition, the Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship offers opportunities to work in the legislative or executive branch of the U.S. government in the area of Washington, D.C.

40th Anniversary Issue
Visit Our Blogs
What's next for oyster aquaculture
A decade ago, Donald Webster could count the number of oyster farms in the state of Maryland on two hands. By Rona Kobell.
From the Water to Washington: Connecting Experiences in DC and Coastal Communities
In graduate school, I found it easy to find the impact and context of my fisheries research. By Gray Redding .
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