NBPS/SMAST Launch Partnership

Program to involve curriculum building, resource sharing, and internships

Twenty New Bedford High School science teachers gathered at the UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) last week to tour the facility and learn about the marine science educational resources available in the community. The event was part of a budding partnership between SMAST and the New Bedford Public Schools that will involve resource sharing, internships in SMAST labs for high school seniors, and building the marine science curriculum in the city’s school system. 

After an introduction by SMAST Dean Dr. Brian Rothschild, Nettie Alexander, Science Director for New Bedford Public Schools, told the group of the partners’ mutual interest in “creating a coherent marine science curriculum that invites students to the excitement of science and engineering.” Ocean scientists from SMAST and from NOAA Fisheries then presented their research to the group, while educators offered insights into the process of introducing or enhancing marine science curricula in public education at pre-college levels. After their tour, the teachers proceeded to SeaLab, which will also be involved in the curriculum-building. 

Alexander told SMAST that NBPS would work on a marine science curriculum for juniors and seniors with the help of presenters such as Professor Wendell Brown, Chair of SMAST’s Department of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences, and Dr. Carol Carson, who spoke on the Plymouth (Massachusetts) School Oceanography Studies Project. Funding for joint activities will be sought via proposals to local, state, and federal funding agencies. The internship component of the partnership, coordinated at SMAST by Dr. Hyun-Sook Kim, is beginning immediately. 

In New Bedford High School’s senior year internship program, students spend a semester working in an area related to their academic interests. The five NBHS students interning at SMAST this semester will “roam” for the first weeks, spending short stints at a number of different SMAST laboratories. After becoming with familiar with the research of several labs, students will each will choose one lab of particular interest in which to spend the rest their internship. 

Said Dean Rothschild, "This workshop is a response to the national need for training in sciences and engineering, and a significant step in the continuing development of the strong relationship between SMAST and the New Bedford School Department. We're hoping that our interaction evolves into a long-term program in marine science education ranging from kindergarten to the Ph.D.” 

“SMAST is pleased to be involved with the public school system in New Bedford, our host community,” declared Prof. Avijit Gangopadhyay, Associate Dean of SMAST. “We’re eager to engage high school students in the research/training activities of SMAST through the internship program spearheaded by Chancellor Jean MacCormack. Several professors and senior researchers, including Profs. Kevin Stokesbury and Steve Cadrin and Dr. David Schlezinger, are already directly involved with high school interns for spring semester 2006.” 

PHOTO CAPTION: SMAST Dean Brian Rothschild addressed New Bedford science teachers last Friday [1/27] as the New Bedford Public Schools and SMAST launched a partnership in marine science education. 

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