Whether presenting marine science in classrooms, exhibiting at public events, or conducting cooperative research with the fishing industry, SMAST students, along with professors and staff, fan out into the community to help fulfill the school's public engagement mandate.
SMAST has contributed exhibits to New Bedford's annual Working Waterfront Festival since its inception in 2003. The Festival is a celebration of fishing, marine and maritime enterprise, and the unique communities that grow up around actively working waterfronts.
Each September, teams of SMAST students, staff, and faculty mount research displays and demonstrations and spend the weekend talking to stakeholders and festival-goers about marine science and its role in the furtherance of sustainable fisheries and other traditional activities of a harbor city.
As part of its ongoing outreach effort, SMAST maintains a public presence at trade shows, professional meetings, and other events with a marine theme—Ocean Sciences Meeting, National Marine Educators Conference—and students play a major role.
At the Commercial Marine Expo, SMAST mounted a virtual portable museum of research, where attendees wandered among life-size exhibits of innovative fishing gear, ocean gliders, scallop survey equipment, and other displays, chatting with scientists, learning about current research, and offering input from their own perspectives as ocean stakeholders.