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Since 2002 regional and thematic Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) have addressed calls for greater scientist involvement in public education and outreach. COSEE has catalyzed partnerships among individual ocean science researchers and educators from a variety of backgrounds, however ocean scientists newly contemplating participation in education and outreach may find it difficult to fully explore such a wide range of opportunities from far-flung Centers.
The NSF-supported COSEE Scientists Making an Impact website offers access to a variety of education and outreach examples, and allows the National COSEE Network to extend its reach by focusing on its successes with individual scientist participants. This website was a network-wide collaboration to promote the efforts of each COSEE Center in the engagement of scientists. Interactive case studies explore the work of participants who have used their COSEE experience as a springboard to excellence in addressing the broader impacts of their research. Participating scientists are engaged to produce a personalized and rich case study that documents the scientist's work in education and outreach as an equivalent extension of his or her research contribution.
These consistently produced case studies representing the successful efforts of individual COSEEs in engaging scientists provide a unifying focus for the entire COSEE Network. This website also brings the COSEE Network to new audiences through its appeal to scientists, educators, funding agencies, managers, policymakers, and the general public. Finally, the network-wide focus on engaging scientists and building capacity results in new insights of scientist engagement, lessons learned, and effective practices.
COSEE Central Gulf of Mexico was a unique collaborative hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and its J.L. Scott Marine Education Center. The Center sought to increase the innovative and analytic capacity of engagement between research scientists, formal and informal educators, precollege students, and the general public within the inland areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Jessica Kastler Gulf Coast Research Laboratory University of Southern Mississippi