John Christy
Professor and Director
Don Behringer
Faculty member, Fisheries/Aquatic Science
Sharon Walker
Director of Education and Outreach
Mike Spranger
Associate Director for Extension and Education
George Crozier
Executive Director
Tina Miller-Way
Johnette Bosarge
Administrative Assistant
Jessica Kastler
Research Associate
Central Gulf of Mexico Programs
 Gulf of Mexico
COSEE Central Gulf of Mexico (COSEE CGOM) is a unique collaborative hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and its J.L. Scott Marine Education Center. Other partners include the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and its Estuarium, the University of Florida (UFL) and its Natural Museum of History and Florida Sea Grant College Program, and Mississippi State University and its Computer Technology Center. Other collaborators include the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA), the Marine Technology Society (MTS), the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the respective State Science Teachers Associations within the Gulf of Mexico, and the State Departments of Education and Public Broadcasting Stations (PBS).


  • “Bridges the gap” between ocean and coastal sciences research and the relevance of those data to a broad range of audiences via informal centers (museums, aquariums, and science centers)
  • Engages scientists in professional development programs through two-day workshops to three-week “face to face” and virtual institutes
  • Develops inquiry-based ocean sciences lesson plans for middle school teachers
  • Provides opportunities at sea for formal and informal educators aboard U.S. Navy oceanographic survey ships to work “side by side” with civilian surveyors
  • Enhances workforce diversity through programmatic recruitment efforts
Mississippi festival touch tank 
Projects and Programs

Each year, COSEE CGOM hosts two two-day workshops, each involving forty formal and informal educators and the general public, and two summer institutes, involving five to seven teams of middle school teachers and scientists. In 2010, there will be one online institute for all former COSEE CGOM workshop and institute participants.

These Summer Institutes are intense, placed-based, and field-oriented; they include the development of five to seven professional development activities, which the teachers share with their peers upon returning to their respective schools in the fall. The Institute's focus each summer is based on enhanced oceanography and coastal processes content, strengthening instructional skills, and developing lesson plans/activities that are aligned with the National Science Education Standards (NSES) and the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts.

 Sea Scholars deploying instrumentation on deck
In the spring of 2009, the COSEE CGOM 12-member Management Team was involved in the Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences (COSIA) Professional Development Workshop, implemented by COSEE California through a NOAA Environmental Literacy grant, and held at the Marine Education Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The Management Team hopes to implement COSIA in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana in the near future.

The Sea Scholars program is implemented aboard one of the U.S. Navy's 329-foot oceanographic survey ships as they become available. This effort will be a component of the JASON Project. The COSEE CGOM award, funded by NSF, has leveraged funding by NOAA and the U.S. Navy into a model collaboration since its inception in 2003.


The COSEE CGOM quarterly electronic newsletter began in March 2008 and is released every 3 to 4 months.


The COSEE CGOM Internal and External Evaluators have been administering, analyzing, and interpreting pre- and post-tests and Likert-scale evaluations, as well as conducting interviews and implementing post-Institute evaluations with three teachers in each state and select scientists, since 2006. These evaluators, in collaboration with the COSEE CGOM Management Team and through input from the COSEE CGOM Advisory Board, have developed and implemented several electronic evaluations, administered to all 2003-2007 participants, thereby strengthening overall evaluation efforts. These data have been or are being analyzed and interpreted.

 K-12 Coastal Ecology Camp

The COSEE CGOM Management Team has also been involved in working with two Master's degree students and one Doctoral student. The Master's degree students have been involved in the evaluation process, and the Doctoral student is involved in updating the COSEE CGOM data base and surveying teachers concerning the use of lesson plans and interactions with our scientists.

The Informal Centers, through which the Co-PIs are affiliated, have been a "win-win" partnership for a wide range of audiences, i.e., classroom teachers, their students, the general public, scientists, media professionals, and informal educators, as well as the COSEE CGOM Management Team and Advisory Board. All participants are involved in enhanced content knowledge. The teachers have increased their pedagogical skills and the participating scientists better understand teachers' professional needs, state and national standards, and the manner in which children learn.

Visit COSEE Central Gulf of Mexico!

Contributed by Sharon Walker. Photographs courtesy of COSEE CGOM.