St. Thomas Source » Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program Introduces Marine Careers to Students

YOE students are assessing the variety of different marine life found in the nearshore environment. This includes urchins, crabs, snails, etc.

This summer, 20 middle school and high school students spent four weeks having fun learning about the marine ecosystem and marine careers in the Youth Ocean Explorers (YOE) Summer Program.

From July 10 to Aug. 4, students from local public and private schools spent their summer in or near the ocean at the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies (CMES). The students got hands-on knowledge of the marine environment – whether they were on land examining sea life or through swimming and snorkeling to see them in their environment.

“The Youth Ocean Explorers camp is a great experience for both the campers and the researchers working at UVI,” said Dr. Paul Jobsis, CMES director. “The kids get to learn more about the ocean and to see what it is like to do marine science. The camp introduces the students to the many different aspects of marine science, and shows them the impact they can have to make positive changes for the environment.”

The YOE program, supported through the University of the Virgin Islands with funds awarded from the National Science Foundation (NSF), this year included a new infusion of geoscience curriculum to teach students about careers in this field. The program recruited seven guest speakers through the Coastal Estuarine Research Federation (CERF), all of whom are scientists and underrepresented minorities.

“Our students quickly learned of the many career paths in marine science such as studying coral, fish populations, assessing water quality and marine plants, to name a few,” said Howard Forbes Jr., VI Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS) coordinator on St. Thomas and YOE director. (VIMAS administers the YOE program).

“I see the ocean much more clearly now,” said Kaylin Wallen, All Saints Cathedral School eighth grader. “After attending this program, I see myself now…

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