STEMING the Tide

STEMAs a coastal center for ocean related science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), Texas A&M University at Galveston offers teens a unique opportunity to dive, so to speak, into STEM experiences in an ocean environment.

This year alone, the university hosted nearly 1,000 junior and high school students and their teachers at major STEM events. These forums include the National Ocean Sciences Bowl –Dolphin Challenge, the Galveston County Science and Engineering Fair, and the Science Olympiad.

The Dolphin Challenge

Sponsored by Texas A&M Sea Grant, Dolphin Challenge is the north Texas Regional competition of the National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB®) competitions—a nationally recognized and highly acclaimed high school academic science and technology competition.

Dolphin Challenge raises visibility and public understanding of the importance in national investments in ocean-related research.  Students demonstrate their knowledge of marine and coastal science by answering questions from biology, physics, chemistry, geology, geography, mathematics, and the social sciences. The winning team advances to the national competition in May at Seattle.

Galveston County Science and Engineering Fair

Faculty and staff from Texas A&M at Galveston, the University of Texas Medical Branch and Galveston College continue a long-standing tradition of collaboration to encourage Galveston County students from 7th through 12th grade to engage in STEM areas through competitive exhibitions.

Fourteen schools and more than 200 students participated in the fair. Student participants who won in their category were awarded trophies, certificates, scholarships, and cash awards.

David Baca, Texas A&M at Galveston Library Director who is the university’s representative to the science and engineering fair, said working with these students was a wonderful experience.

“You can really see the spark of curiosity and challenge that Science Fair brings out in these young people,” he said. “The skills they use to put their research projects together will last them a lifetime.”

Science Olympiad

Science Olympiad’s ever-changing line-up of events in all STEM disciplines introduces students to practicing scientists and career choices and energizes classroom teachers. This is the seventh year the Galveston campus has hosted the Olympiad. This year’s regional Texas Science Olympiad tournament was a rigorous academic interscholastic competition. It consisted of a series of team events which students prepare for during the year. Competitions followed the format of popular board games, TV shows, and athletic games. These challenging and motivational events are well balanced between various science and engineering disciplines requiring knowledge of facts, concepts, processes, skills, and science applications.

“Our Olympiad is made possible by hard work and preparation involving many of our faculty, staff, and student volunteers as well as a few folks from the local community,” said Dr. Melanie Lesko, Regional Science Olympiad Director who is Texas A&M Galveston interim department head of Marine Sciences. “The competition is a fun and challenging day for future scientists and engineers.”

She says many of the 500 visitors were on campus for the first time and some are expected to return as students on our campus.

Texas Academy of Science Conference

Beyond offering teens a chance to step into a STEM adventure, the Galveston campus of Texas A&M extends opportunities to Texas college students and their professors to join in STEM-related activities. 

The university is now gearing up for approximately 500 participants who will be attending the Texas Academy of Science meeting to be held on campus on March 7.

This gathering brings together those dedicated to improve academy members through presentations of faculty and student research projects and networking opportunities.

Each year professors, undergraduate and, graduate students from 20 public and private Texas universities as well scientists from Texas environmental and agricultural agencies participate in the conference. The conference will include presentations from all the scientific specialties in various sessions. Awards are given to students (total amount $16,000) for best presentations.

Dr. Tom Linton, Texas A&M Galveston marine resources researcher and the Texas Academy of Science conference coordinator said, “this forum gives students an opportunity to put scientific data in a presentable form to present it to colleagues and professors.”

Linton commented that STEM events like those hosted at Texas A&M Galveston offer opportunities of a lifetime. “Attending meetings like this is the way I got my offer to go to graduate school for both my master’s in Zoology and doctorate in Resource Management,” he said.

Media contact, Cathy Cashio Bertrand, Texas A&M at Galveston Communications and Media Relations, at (409) 740-4830.

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