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Sheanna Steingass, Ph.D. candidate, wildlife science, OSU Marine Mammal Institute
“I grew up in Wyoming, where a career in marine biology seemed out of reach. Today, Oregon Sea Grant connects me to outreach and education opportunities with K-12 students on the Oregon coast. I get to introduce students – some of whom have never before seen the ocean – to marine biology and my research with harbor seals. I love being the person who gets to tell students that they can be whoever they want to be. And when I get thank-you notes from the kids, I really realize the impact I've had. Without Oregon Sea Grant, none of this would happen.”
Catherine Dayger, Natural Resources Policy Fellow in the Oregon governor's office and a Ph.D. candidate at Portland State University
“Without the Oregon Sea Grant fellowship, there is no way I would be able to do all that I'm doing – from researching ocean and coastal policies to communicating science to the governor's staff to developing collaborative solutions to critical environmental issues like ocean acidification, and more. Although there are similar types of fellowships in other fields, none of them puts you in the Oregon governor's office, where the entire experience opens a lot of doors.”
Kama Almasi, science teacher, Waldport High School
“Several years ago, Oregon Sea Grant helped me change the entire nature of my rather unruly middle school classes by giving me access to materials that allowed all 90 of my students to build underwater robots and participate in the Marine Advanced Technology Education's Remotely Operated Vehicle competition. This changed the lives of many of these students, who are now in high school, where I'm seeing a surprisingly high level of interest in science among them. Oregon Sea Grant has been a game changer for my students, and for my entire teaching career on the coast.”
Ben Ewing, science and STEM teacher, Toledo High School
"I teach in a school where some students don't know where their next meal will come from, or even where they'll be sleeping that night. So Sea Grant's support of everything from the lab materials I use in the classroom to the transportation costs for students traveling to local science competitions, is really critical. Last year, six of my students won first and second place at the Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge, which came with the opportunity to attend the national competition in New Orleans. Some of those kids had never been on a plane before, and now they're applying for funding so they can go to college and become engineers. Without Sea Grant, I wouldn't be able to expose my students to these opportunities."
Kessina Lee, aquaculture specialist at the Washington Department of Ecology, 2016 OSG Natural Resources Policy Fellow in the GNRO, and 2015 OSG Legislative Fellow
"When I was in the Governor’s Natural Resources Office working on ocean acidification, shellfish and other issues, Sea Grant was always the first name to come up when we were trying to get a range of people around a table. They are known for their outreach and don't have a political agenda, so when Sea Grant invites groups to come to a meeting, those people show up. On a personal note, I can draw a direct line from my work on the shellfish initiative in the Legislature and the GNRO to being hired as an aquaculture specialist for the state of Washington. I didn't get hired because I'm an expert in aquaculture, but because of the policy experience I gained from my Sea Grant fellowships."
"The Sea Grant fellowship provided me with experiences nothing like what you get in a classroom or out in the field. Working on Capitol Hill introduced me to a whole new perspective on how things work – and don't work – in Washington, D.C. In my current position, I interact with many different federal agencies and states on a variety of policy and management issues, and my Sea Grant experience has really helped me in these interactions. I'm forever grateful to Sea Grant for giving me this opportunity."
Melissa Steinman, teacher at Waldport High School
"Without the support of Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, I would not still be teaching today. I can take on science teaching projects that are outside my comfort zone because I know I will get help from Oregon Sea Grant. I've had some amazing successes, where kids went from struggling with science to taking first place at a competition. One student, who now works after school at the local fire department updating their wireless system and website, would not have stayed in school without the opportunities provided by Oregon Sea Grant."
Josh Jannusch, teacher and assistant principal at Warrenton High School
"Our school serves a lot of low-income students from rural areas, and our classroom budgets are very tight. So being able to work with Oregon Sea Grant is a huge boon – both for my students and for me. The science kits and other supplies – from microscopes to rubber boots – that kids can check out from the Oregon Coast STEM Hub’s supply trailer coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant gives them access to learning opportunities they would not otherwise have. The teacher trainings Oregon Sea Grant offers help me be a better teacher. I'm seeing more and more kids here considering careers in engineering and marine science, which is very exciting."