Imagine a nation where all of our young people succeed. Imagine these young people become the diverse and thoughtful leadership we need. And because of this, cities are resilient to climate change, ecosystems thrive, and discoveries are made that protect our loved ones and make our time on earth even richer.
Ocean Discovery Institute imagines just that. But we aren’t there yet.
Today, many young people in our country live in poverty and lack opportunities to succeed. One of the opportunities that is glaringly absent is access to rigorous science education. Because of this, kids who grow up in underserved communities don’t believe science is something they can do or that a scientist is someone they can be. This means that we are missing the chance for great discoveries by not including all young people.
Ocean Discovery Institute has a solution. By providing continuous science opportunities paired with mentoring and the tools to overcome challenges, young people unlock their potential.
Today, Ocean Discovery reaches 4,000 students in San Diego, CA. We provide tuition-free opportunities – in and out of the classroom. In California, a state that ranks second to last in science test scores, our in-school program participants increase their science knowledge by 30%. Against a backdrop in which less than 10% of low-income, first-generation college students earn a degree, 70% of our after-school participants earn a college degree within six years.
Ocean Discovery students defy the odds.
Our students believe that a scientist is someone they can be. They think critically and they achieve because of it. They enter the fields of biotech, engineering, environmental consulting, fisheries, marine biology, education, and public policy. They are committed to making a difference.
How We Do It
Ocean Discovery’s model targets one community or “school-shed” at a time. By beginning in City Heights, a San Diego neighborhood that is among the most diverse in the nation, we have tested this approach. The results have been unprecedented, earning the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.
We support our students growing from curious youngsters to science and conservation leaders — from seed to tree. This is why we envision our business model as a “sustainable ecosystem” where resources are sufficient to support growth and evolution.
Our community — families, schools, scientific entities, and other partners — make up the rich soil that nourishes these young people. Tuition-free programs provide the sunlight — energy that makes growth over time possible. And a diverse network of donors, investors, and volunteers act as clouds, providing resources needed for kids to grow. For seed-to-tree growth to occur, this ecosystem must act in harmony in a single community — our school-shed.
Ocean Discovery Institute’s work is grounded in the following core values:
We believe that education and discovery are remarkable opportunities and that every person has the potential to improve their future, and that of our world, through the acquisition of knowledge and new ideas. True learning requires courage to face the unknown, belief in one’s own ability, and strategic use of resources.
We believe that diversity results in the most productive, sustainable, and resilient communities. Rich interactions between those with diverse perspectives result in the evolution of thought and innovation.
We believe that, as stewards, we have the responsibility to use our resources wisely. Whether we are working in the natural environment or with our donors’ capital, our commitment is to find the most sustainable use of those resources in order to have the greatest impact.
We believe that all individuals have the capacity to lead with conviction and integrity. We improve our world by instilling leadership principles that include “walking the talk”, challenging the process, empowering and encouraging others, and inspiring a shared vision.
We believe that passion elicits the persistence necessary for discovery and accomplishment. By engaging in all action with curiosity and commitment, we can ignite a passion in each person that, collectively, will benefit our world.