IEEE OES Supports COL’s 2018 National Ocean Science Bowl Competition
For the 16th consecutive year the OES provided financial support to the Consortium for Ocean Leadership’s (COL) National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). The support was used to help pay for the 3rd through 8th place prizes and operational expenses.
A U.S. based competition, the NOSB is for pre-collegiate students. Generally, there are 25 regional competitions held in the late winter with the winners of the regional events gathering the end of April to vie for top honors. This year, due to the strong hurricanes that hit Texas, only 23 regional events were held. However, in the NOSB spirit of good sportsmanship, respect for others and all participants are family, the Texas teams were invited to participate in the regional competitions held in surrounding states. In all, 351 teams (involving ~1600 students) competed in the regional events in 2018.
The finals competition was held in Boulder, Colorado, April 19–22, 2018. The event was kicked off with a Career Night hosted by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). In a speed dating style setting, small groups of students circulated between mentors from government, industry and academia (including UCAR, NCAR, CIRES, NOAA, Kongsberg and CU Boulder), spending 10 minutes with each representative. In each 10-minute session, the mentors discussed their education, career path, a typical work day and answered the student’s questions. (Fig. 1)
On Friday, the students and their faculty mentor(s) spent the day participating in one of several field trips. The trips ranged from planting trees along a damaged stretch of a creek to participating in an unmanned aircraft systems flight school; contributing to citizen science projects (CrowdMag and GLOBE Clouds Protocol observations), maintaining trails near Lily Lake, and visiting Dinosaur Ridge and Triceratops Trail.
On Friday evening, RDML Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., USN Ret., Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, provided the Keynote address at the Opening Ceremony. Within the first 30 seconds of his talk, he had the full attention of all in the room by mentioning a number of the team biographies included in the program and asking questions of the team members. The biographies range from serious to whimsical and the line of questioning by Dr. Gallaudet followed suit. His presentation then described the variety of jobs available at NOAA and mentioned some employees by name and described their present duties as well as the career path that each had taken to get to their current position.
The actual competition was held on Saturday and Sunday—starting with double elimination rounds and ending with the final match between Santa Monica High School, Los Angeles, CA and Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, MD—which Montgomery Blair won (Fig. 3).At the awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon, each team received a plaque. The 3rd through 8th place teams received Amazon gift certificates to purchase text books and other training materials as well as items made from recycled plastics such as backpacks. The 1st and 2nd place winners each received a one week trip to Florida this summer provided by Sea World. The teams will work with Sea World personnel at their Rescue and Rehabilitation facility as well as travel to Mote Marine Laboratory, and FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. Finally, the team demonstrating the best sportsmanship throughout the competition, as seen by the judges, was named. The recipient was first time Finals competitor Newport High School, Bellevue, WA (Fig. 4).
“Overall, the four-day event provided over 100 students from across the country opportunities to learn about ocean sciences and the wealth of career paths in ocean science and STEM fields; participate in hands-on research and conservation projects; meet like-minded peers and potential mentors; and gain leadership, critical thinking, and communications skills to assist them in high school, college, and future careers.” (NOSB website)
A 2017 competitor from Marshfield High School, Marshfield, WI, Suhaas Bhat, summed up his NOSB experience as “The great thing about the Ocean Bowl, and oceanography as a whole, is its ability to integrate all the sciences into one field, seamlessly using physics, chemistry, biology and earth science to understand the whole world around us.”
Photos are courtesy of the NOSB.