College of Science

Coastal and Marine Ecosystems


Ship at sea

Through funding provided by the National Science Foundation, we are enhancing the capacity of polar scientists for communicating and engaging with diverse audiences. The Polar-ICE (Interdisciplinary Coordinated Education) project will create scalable, in-person and virtual research opportunities for educators and students to engage with polar scientists and their research through data visualizations, data activities, educator workshops, webinars, and student research symposia. The desired product is a set of data rich instructional materials and customized professional development training that will virtually expand access and opportunity to engage more educators and students in polar science research.

This effort will also improve the communication capacity of the polar science community. It will help bring real-world datasets, models, and simulations into the classroom and make scientific data from the poles and information about polar research widely available and useful to various audiences. The project will engage under-represented and underserved students in polar scientific research and many of the materials created and connections between scientists and educators are likely to be sustainable. Additional information can be found on our main project page, Polar Interdisciplinary Coordinated Education (ICE).

Participating Institutions

  • California State University, Monterey Bay
  • Rutgers University
  • Indiana University
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

For additional information or questions about how to get involved, contact CMEP Director Dr. Corey Garza at or visit our main Polar-ICE website.

  • Ocean opportunities
    UC San Diego

    Ocean Opportunities was a partnership to develop a new, coordinated strategy by the ocean sciences community to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in ocean science and ocean engineering graduate programs. This strategy was discussed and endorsed at the Fall 2010 Ocean Science Educators Retreat (OSER), hosted by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington, D.C. As a follow-up to the OSER meeting, a workshop held in June 2012 brought together faculty from minority-serving, undergraduate institutions with those who manage ocean science and engineering graduate programs.

    Ocean Opportunities acquainted underrepresented minority undergraduate students with these opportunities, encouraging students to pursue a graduate degree in ocean science and engineering programs. The partnership promulgated the career and educational possibilities of these programs by supporting institutional-neutral booths at scientific meetings that attract undergraduate students, distributing brochures and other promotional information, supporting a web page informing potential students of programs and careers in ocean science and ocean engineering fields, and coordinating campus visits by representatives from institutions offering graduate studies in ocean science and engineering to minority-serving colleges and universities. Funding is provided by the Deerbrook Charitable Trust.

    Student Support

    • Funded graduate school visits
    • Online professional development webinars
    • Support for conference participation

    For additional information or to get involved in the program activities, contact CMEP Director Dr. Corey Garza at or visit the Ocean Opportunities website. Applications for program support are accepted on a continuous basis.

  • Polar ICE Logo
    Sci-I Teachers

    The Polar ICE Science Investigations (Sci-I) Project is designed to increase educator and student skills in designing and conducting science investigations as well as analyzing and interpreting data in alignment with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) requirements through the lens of polar science.

    The Sci-I Project is a year-long project that consists of:

    The Sci-I Project is available to science teachers from grades 6-9. Preference will be given to teachers that work in school districts that serve predominately underserved and underrepresented communities.

    For additional information and application instructions please visit the Polar-ICE web page or contact Sci-I Program lead Kristin Hunter-Thomson at

  • Polar ICE
    Student Researcher

    Scientists travel to professional conferences to present their research to peers, and so should students. Students participating in the Polar ICE Sci-I Project Educator Workshops will present their own investigations to polar scientists and one another. Posters from the top groups of each Sci-I Project school are showcased at the SPRS Poster Session. Members of the group rotate through presenting on their investigation and observing other students’ investigations. At least one scientist, one educator, and one group of students are assigned to review each poster (as happens at professional science conferences). The agenda for the day has been developed to ensure that each reviewer will be able to spend roughly 10 minutes at each poster they are reviewing.

    For additional information and application instructions visit the Polar-ICE website or contact program lead Kristin Hunter-Thomson at

  • EARTH Logo

    Recognizing the need to educate the public about the value of research and help them understand scientific methodology, this MBARI/Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) and Polar-ICE collaboration allows us to test new ideas for public outreach and education. One of MBARI’s joint projects with MBA, Education and Research: Testing Hypotheses (EARTH) lays new groundwork, providing teachers with a means for integrating real-time data with existing educational standards and tested curriculum in an interactive and engaging way.

    EARTH uses near-real-time data from ocean observatories to design and test outreach with the Internet as an interface to scientists, teachers, students, and the public. Since 2006 MBARI has partnered with a variety of organizations across the country to host the EARTH workshop.

    Participants include educators from other research institutions, universities, community colleges, and high schools as well as MBARI and MBA staff. Initial efforts of EARTH target high school and undergraduate students, with the ultimate goal of reaching kindergarten through college. This effort will enhance online education material on the ocean and resources for teachers already available on MBARI’s website and the Aquarium’s "E-quarium" website and "Learning Center".

    Application deadline for the 2017 EARTH program is February 14, 2017. For additional program information and application instructions, visit the EARTH web page or contact program lead Dr. George Matsumoto at