Jasmin John, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
January – March, 2018
Jasmin John (Jasmin.firstname.lastname@example.org), a climate scientist at NOAA, is a true trailblazer with the honor of serving as Ocean Discovery’s first Scientist-in-Residence. Jasmin worked closely with Ocean Discover staff to design a new field trip experience for 6th grade classes in partnership with Dr. Andreas Andersson at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Jasmin designed a field trip lesson in which students visit various locations throughout San Diego’s Mission Bay to sample temperature, salinity, and pH. The students’ measurements will become a new database tracking changes in ocean conditions over time. Jasmin’s personal journey and her courage in the face of challenges resonated in all the students she interacted with during her stay.
catalina martinez, NOAA office of exploration and research
January – March, 2019
Catalina Martinez (email@example.com), a Regional Program Manager at NOAA, was the first scientist to complete a residency after the opening of the Living Lab in October 2018. Catalina worked on a project to better understand the barriers to access to NOAA resources and opportunities for young people from underserved communities such as City Heights. She helped pilot new programming based around her area of expertise, deep-sea exploration; facilitated a listening session with our partner teachers to understand barriers they face in the classroom to accessing NOAA educational resources; and collected information from high school, college, and early-career students about barriers they encountered. Catalina’s commitment to being a champion for our students and our programs will leave a lasting legacy.
Dr. S. James “Jim” Gates Jr., brown university
July 2019 and December 2019
Dr. Jim, as our students fondly referred to him, was Ocean Discovery’s first “short-term” Scientist-in-Residence, staying for an impactful 10-day residency in July and returning for 1 more week in December. Jim, one of the world’s preeminent theoretical physicists and experts on super string theory, is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Science and was a member of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Jim shared stories about his childhood, family, and career with hundreds of elementary and middle school students. He also had a conversation with Ocean Leader program alumni and participated in a panel discussion with Shara Fisler, Ocean Discovery’s Executive Director, at a special event held in Jim’s honor with partners, supporters, and the community. In December, Jim returned to the Living Lab for a special event with our community to read passages from his new book, “Proving Einstein Right: The Daring Expeditions that Changed How We Look at the Universe”.
ERIKA SANTACRUZ LOPEZ, GRUPO TORTUGUERO
Erika, a biologist who studies the physiology and conservation of sea turtles, joined us for a short-term residency and was our first international scientist to visit. Erika is originally from Spain but now lives in Bahía de los Ángeles, Baja California, Mexico. Erika leads the local chapter of Grupo Tortuguero, a sea turtle conservation and monitoring organization that works throughout all of Mexico. In 2019, we partnered with Erika and Grupo Tortuguero on our long-term sea turtle research project in collaboration with NOAA Fisheries. Near the end of this project, Erika traveled to San Diego to deliver our project data, meet with our Ocean Leader Research Fellows and NOAA partner scientists, and talk to students about her career in sea turtle research. It was an honor to host a visiting scientist from Bahía de los Ángeles, the site of our BAHIA program, and we look forward to continued collaboration with Erika.
dr. joyonna “joy” gamble-george, new york university
We welcomed Joy as our first Scientist-in-Residence since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was incredible to finally have a visiting scientist with us again, and we couldn’t have asked for a better mentor than Joy, a neuroscientist who studies brain disorders and mental health. During her two-week stay, Joy visited a wetland habitat and built ROVs with 5th graders during school; discovered invertebrates with students during after-school camp; discussed her personal journey with students during daily programs; visited high school Ocean Leaders at Hoover High; and enjoyed an intimate evening of dinner & conversation with some of our closest partners and supporters. We are happy to have built this relationship with Joy that persists as she continues to mentor students and connect other mentors to the organization.
dr. solomon bililign, North carolina a&T state university
Joined by his wife, Abeba Merga, a Kindergarten teacher
We first met Solomon more than a decade ago, when he also received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring alongside Ocean Discovery. As Shara says, “You never forget someone who was in the room with you when you met President Obama.” After their visit in October, our community will never forget Solomon and Abeba. Solomon uses chemistry and physics to study the impacts of biomass burning on air quality and public health in Africa. He inspired our students and staff by sharing how he uses science to make a difference to improve human lives, as well as sharing about his personal journey to overcome oppression and become a science leader. His wife, Abeba, also worked with our students and used her exceptional skills as a longtime educator to mentor City Heights students. Their visit was capped off with a special event at the Living Lab where nearly 100 community members, partners, and supporters had the opportunity to hear Solomon speak about his life and his work.
alfonso macias tapia, noaa office of education & old dominion university
We closed out 2022 with a bang as Alfonso brought infectious energy and passion to the Scientist-in-Residence position. At the time of his residency, Alfonso was finishing his PhD in Ocean & Earth Science at Old Dominion University, while also serving as a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow with the NOAA Office of Education. Alfonso’s week-long residency overlapped with our 8th grade In-School Program, so he had the opportunity to share his journey, including growing up in Mexico and discovering his passion for science, with more than 150 8th grade students during his stay. He also spent several afternoons building mentoring relationships with a close-knit group of students during the after-school camp. Alfonso’s residency coincided with the annual meeting of the Ocean Discovery & NOAA Vision Council, so we closed out his visit with a special dinner at the Living Lab where we celebrated Alfonso’s time with us alongside our other NOAA partners.