The aim of the SEAS program is to cut through traditional barriers that exist between research and education by linking the process of scientific inquiry to the process of learning.
The SEAS program offers hands-on experience in marine research, to high school students and their teachers. The program plays an important role in making science accessible to young people and their schools by including the results of the research into this interactive Web site. The Web based information can accessed by other schools to aid in the teaching of science, through web-based curriculum currently being designed.
The SEAS program is run through the University Programs at Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama, U.S.A.
SEAS is a innovative, new educational program established by a traditional research entity. DISL already has a nationally renowned educational program, called the Discovery Hall Program. The objectives of Discovery Hall are to increase understanding and appreciation for the marine environment by directly involving participants with dynamic, hands-on activities. Discovery Hall's marine education program includes K-12 students, teacher training/enhancement programs, teacher in-service facilities and Elderhostel seminars. Historically, the K-12 Discovery Hall Program and the University Programs have been independent of one another.
If we, as federally-supported scientists, expect a continued or increased appreciation of scientific research, then we have an obligation to link our own research directly to the surrounding communities.
SEAS extends the learning environment, by providing access for students and teachers to participate directly in marine research in the Gulf of Mexico and for other students and teachers to interact with this research via the internet. The SEAS program provides a direct linkage between the Discovery Hall Program and the University Programs offered at DISL. This will facilitate the path of talented young people into careers in science and engineering.
Reaching out to teachers appears to be the best mechanism for getting students excited about science. A selected student-teacher team (one high school student and their teacher) will carry out a research project aboard an oceanographic cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. To expand the impact of this experience beyond the student-teacher team, graduate students will help design the research topic, providing them with valuable educational experiences. In addition, other students will share in the experience through daily updates of data and cruise information on a project-dedicated Web page.
Our goals include increasing science literacy in the public, attracting talented young persons to seek science and engineering career paths, and promoting diversity within the basic research fields.
SEAS hopes to promote diversity in science and create much needed role models for young students. This project seeks to educate both students and the general public about the principles of science. In doing so, this will encourage the public to support sound science-related legislation.
The results of the SEAS cruises' will be displayed in a unique public forum - The Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. This estuarine aquarium, devoted solely to the habitats of the local area, is attended by a wide range of audiences, from kindergarten classes down the street to foreign visitors from around the world.
The SEAS program is a collaboration between The Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Alabama high schools. Funding for the program has been granted by the National Science Foundation as part of Dr. Monty Graham's ongoing research through the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. It is Dr. Graham's and DISL's commitment to education that has made the SEAS program a reality.