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Mentoring future ocean explorers (Image 3)

Mentoring at every level helps to ensure students become the next generation of leaders in science

San Diego's Ocean Discovery Institute aims to provide students with quality scientific education and the tools they need to succeed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Mentoring at every level--peer to peer, scientist to student, etc.--helps to ensure students become the next-generation leaders in ocean science.

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San Diego’s Ocean Discovery Institute was created to address a crisis in national science education: an acute need to provide students with quality scientific education and the tools they need to achieve. Shara Fisler, director of the institute, and the institute were a 2010 recipient of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Math, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). The National Science Foundation (NSF) administers PAESMEM on behalf of the White House. The institute empowers more than 4,500 low-income diverse youth from local communities to explore the oceans and natural environment. Its tuition-free programs incorporate education, scientific research and lessons on environmental stewardship of the oceans, our planet’s defining feature.

Fisler says scientists and policymakers need to do more to spark an interest in science among young people through mentoring and other means.

"There are roadblocks, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation today if the road to the STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] workforce wasn’t littered with blockades, unfortunately," she said at a recent event in Washington, co-hosted by NSF and AAAS entitled "New Directions for Inclusive STEM Education and Career Mentoring."

NSF works to improve STEM mentoring by supporting educators and organizations, like Fisler and the Ocean Discovery Institute, through PAESMEM. (Date image taken: 2000-2015; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Oct. 4, 2016) [Image 3 of 8 related images. See Image 4.]

Credit: Ocean Discovery Institute
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