NOAA Teacher at Sea
(Almost) Onboard NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow
May 19 – June 3, 2015
Mission: Ecosystem Monitoring Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Northeast Atlantic Ocean
Date: May 7, 2015
Greetings from Southern California! My name is Dieuwertje or “DJ” Kast and I am currently the STEM Program Manager (K-12) for the University of Southern California (USC) Joint Educational Project (JEP) and Director of Young Scientists Program (YSP) and the USC Wonderkids Program. I am also assisting with the USC JEP Boeing project which does Teacher Professional development in Water and Sustainability. All of which are located at the JEP House on the USC Campus in Los Angeles California (seen here about 47 miles one way commute from my husband Roee and my home in Chino, CA).
I received my masters in Education and my biology teaching credential at the Rossier School of Education. A native of the Netherlands, I received my undergraduate and graduate education at USC through the progressive masters programs obtaining my BS in Biology and MS in Marine Environmental Biology. I have a passion for Science Education, have written curriculum and held leadership roles for both Wonderkids, The Young Scientist Program, the USC QuikSCience program, the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Science on Catalina Island, USC Seagrant and the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI) program (rigorous, seven-year pre-college enrichment program designed to prepare low-income neighborhood students for admission to a college or university). In my spare time I enjoy writing science books, photography, helping students with science fairs, SCUBA diving and working with marine science labs across California.
I wanted to tell other TAS Teachers about the programs that I manage or have been a part of in hopes that they may also be inspired to learn more about what I do and how their students can be involved, and the potential for teacher professional development and partnerships in the future. I am looking forward to going on my voyage and using what I learn to write curriculum and communicating it to the thousands of students in my programs.
The Young Scientists Program works in partnership with 5 USC community schools, from the greater ‘USC 10 Family of Schools’ to engage more than 1400 elementary school students, 45 LAUSD teachers, and 5 principals through a broad repertoire of science curriculum. YSP TAs are placed at each school presenting hands-on science labs to fourth and fifth grade classrooms. YSP brings scientific laboratory experiences directly to students and their teachers with the goal of supplementing current science instruction, complimenting LAUSD and state grade level science learning standards, strengthening science literacy and promoting interest in scientific careers. One of YSP’s primary objectives is to increase science activities for a larger number of our neighborhood children as a means to encourage them to consider careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and to apply what they are learning in the classroom to the real world. Additional outcomes are that our USC undergraduate students learn how to become successful mentors, gain valuable teaching experience, and learn how to directly respond to the needs of the schools, communities and families.
USC JEP Wonderkids is first-third grade after-school science program in the USC Family of Schools. It is currently in 6 schools: Foshay, Weemes, Vermont, Norwood, Mack, Norwood, and 32nd street. The program focuses on different areas of science through hands-on lesson plans and books. The program also has professional scientists from different science fields as rotating speakers come into the classroom to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM. Science fields pursued so far: neuroscience, environmental science, paleontology, deep sea, marine biology, botany, robotics, space, chemistry, DNA, animal behavior, microbiology, physics, computer science, biomedical engineering and medicine.
I will be doing Ecosystem Monitoring Survey (Fisheries) on NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow Ship from May 19 – June 3, 2015. I am so excited! I will be embarking on my research cruise in Newport, Rhode Island and disembarking there as well.
I will be working with the Narragansett Laboratory and the objectives of the investigation are:
- to monitor the fishery-relevant components of the Northeast Shelf ecosystem, to characterize the baseline conditions and their variability, and to index the seasonal, annual, and decadal changes in the conditions of the ecosystem, and
- to determine the effects of biological and physical processes on the recruitment of Northeast shelf fishes, especially gadoids.
The Investigation utilizes three survey approaches to gather data on planktonic organisms and environmental parameters:
- shelf-wide Research Vessel Surveys;
- Ship of Opportunity (SOOP) Transect Surveys;
- sampling using a variety of environmental satellites and buoys (termed Remote Sensing Surveys).