Ocean Discovery Institute is a nationally recognized model for empowering students from the most urban and underserved communities to become leaders in science and conservation. The unprecedented achievements of Ocean Discovery students resulted in The White House awarding the organization the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.
The effectiveness of this model, paired with our nation’s critical need to enable the greatest untapped talent pool to participate in science, has inspired Ocean Discovery Institute, its partners, and community leaders in San Diego, CA and Norfolk, VA to embark upon a growth initiative. The growth envisioned (Figure 1) will result in local scaling at its current site in San Diego and national replication, beginning with Norfolk.
Local scaling will result in impacting the entire school-shed targeted in San Diego – growing from 6,000 to 10,000 students annually. In doing so, we will actualize the Ocean Discovery model in full and create the standard of success for future replication sites. Simultaneously, we will work alongside Norfolk champions, through the establishment of a Founding Committee, to pilot an initial replication site. Finally, we will replicate a tested and proven model to other sites in need across the nation.
Our growth strategy has been informed by experts and practitioners in the field, literature reviews, and Ocean Discovery Institute’s 18 years of experience, research, and assessment. The growth strategy has been supported by foundations, individuals, and government entities. The most important replication partner has been NOAA’s Office of Education and Chesapeake Bay Watershed Education and Training (BWET), whose expertise and funding support has enabled a feasibility study and the development of this resource and supporting activities. To learn more, read our “Feasibility Study Executive Summary”.