SeaTech: Underserved Teens Hooked on Ocean Technology!

September 1st, 2005 - January 31st, 2010 | PROJECT

The Ocean Institute (OI), in partnership with Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Scripps), Capistrano Valley Boys & Girls Clubs (BGC) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), is developing "SeaTech," a multi-year, Youth-based ITEST program providing 120 female and minority middle and high school students from underserved populations with 391 contact hours of information technology (IT)-intensive oceanographic research experiences. SeaTech content focuses on understanding the acoustic behaviors of whales and dolphins, specifically, sound production, noise impacts and acoustic population census in California, the Bering Sea and the Southern Ocean. SeaTech offers a two-year core program for 13 & 14 year olds consisting of a "Breadth of Exposure" phase and a "Depth of Skills" phase totaling 299 hours. The core program has three distinct elements -- after-school clubs, field explorations and summer research institutes -- and is augmented with efforts before and after: an Early Pipeline Development phase (52 hours) for youth age 12, and Internships (40 hours) for youth age 15. The three-year ITEST grant will host three cohorts of 40 participants each. Each youth participant will receive 391 total contact hours. Through efforts directed at parents, SeaTech anticipates involving 60 parents in about 80 hours of activities each year. Coordinated through and with the expertise of Capistrano Valley BGC, recruitment will include orientation and information programs, a bilingual brochure and direct efforts by BGC staff. In addition, recruitment will happen from local schools. INTELLECTUAL MERIT: IT-based studies of marine mammal bio-acoustics will 'hook' student interest in after-school clubs, field explorations and summer research institutes. SeaTech advances understanding of the role of broader pipeline development in addressing chronic recruitment and retention problems in teen-targeted IT programs. BROADER IMPACTS: SeaTech programming has been meticulously and demonstrably integrated into the afterschool programming at the BGC. The SeaTech Club provides organizational structure to the teen activities at the BGC; however, the IT curriculum is also integrated into two nationally renowned extant structures called Career Launch and Club Tech. Findings from the project's examination of recruitment, retention and parental involvement will have broad implications to the field of informal science education.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Harry Helling, Principal Investigator, Ocean Institute
Kelly Reynolds, Co-Principal Investigator, Capistrano Valley Boys & Girls Clubs
John Hildebrand, Co-Principal Investigator, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Candice Dickens, Former Co-Principal Investigator, Capistrano Valley Boys & Girls Clubs


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0524799
Funding Amount: 896105


Access and Inclusion: Women and Girls
Audience: Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Parents | Caregivers | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Computing and information science | Life science | Nature of science | Technology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Afterschool Programs | Citizen Science Programs | Public Programs | Summer and Extended Camps