Albany High School Sails to Victory in 22nd Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl

2019-04-16T11:05:37+00:00 April 14, 2019|

The Albany High School team with Senior Education Program Manager at NOAA Sarah Schoedinger and Consortium for Ocean Leadership President and CEO RADM Jon White USN (Ret.)

Ketchikan High School Takes Home James D. Watkins Sportsmanship Award

(Washington, D.C.) – On Sunday, students from Albany High School (Albany, California) won the National Finals of the 22nd Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). This is Albany High School’s fifth time at Finals and their second National title. An interdisciplinary ocean science education program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the NOSB tests students’ knowledge of ocean science topics, including cross-disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology. Students on the championship team include James Hort, Evan Zhong, Nathan Skinner, Maria Fedyk, and Ruby Tang (team photo below). They are coached by Andy Marsh.

To qualify for Finals, the 24 competing teams first had to win their regional competitions. In total, more than 365 teams (made up of approximately 1,825 students representing 33 states) participated, adding to the over than 30,000 students who have passed through the ocean sciences competition over the last 22 years. A full list of the 2019 NOSB Finals participants is available here.

Buzzer-style multiple choice and longer, critical thinking-based questions covered cross-disciplinary ocean science knowledge as well as topics relevant to the theme, Observe the Ocean, Secure the Future. These questions tested students on their knowledge of the technology needed to observe the ocean, how and why scientists gather ocean data, the challenges of processing such huge data sets, and how ocean observations address societal needs. Teams also presented science recommendations on a piece of legislation in the Science Expert Briefing (SEB), a mock congressional hearing that enhances the critical thinking elements of the competition and focuses on real-world skills.

The top eight teams at the Finals Competition were:

1st Place – Albany High School (Albany, California)

2nd Place – Santa Monica High School (Santa Monica, California)

3rd Place – Ladue Horton Watkins High School (St. Louis, Missouri)

4th Place – Centerville High School (Centerville, Ohio)

5th Place – Marine Academy of Science and Technology (Highlands, New Jersey)

6th Place – Oregon Coast Aquarium (Newport, Oregon)

7th Place – Newport High School (Bellevue, Washington)

8th Place – Science and Technology Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut (New London, Connecticut)

The NOSB places an emphasis on sportsmanship and awarded Ketchikan High School (Ketchikan, Alaska) the James D. Watkins Sportsmanship Award. Additionally, participants were scored separately on their performance in the SEB. Albany High School also won this portion of the competition, while Santa Monica High School took home second, and Raleigh Charter High School (Raleigh, North Carolina) and Newport High School tied for third.

The weekend was about more than just the competition. During the opening ceremony, Dr. Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences, delivered the keynote address, commending the students for their hard work and passion for ocean science. Students also got to take part in hands-on field trips that took them in and around Washington, D.C., visualizing global data at Science on a Sphere (NOAA National Center for Weather and Climate Prediction), touring the Anacostia by boat followed by the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, modeling scientific practices in a “Reefs Unleashed” Q?ruis workshop (Smithsonian Museum of Natural History), going behind the scenes at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, seeing a demonstration of the Johns Hopkins University remotely operated underwater robotic vehicle, enjoying a VIP tour of the Smithsonian National Zoo, and learning how to advocate and engage members of Congress (ThinkOcean).

“Congratulations to our winners from Albany High School and to all teams who participated in our regional bowls and at the national level,” said RADM Jon White, President and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. “Every year, I’m tremendously impressed with the students competing in the NOSB, and this year is no exception. These students and their peers are our next generation of ocean leaders, and they show that both in their commitment to the study of ocean science and the passion with which they approach all facets of the competition. This year’s theme feels especially apt—with these students at the helm, I’m confident we will ‘Secure the Future’ of our ocean.”

“Thanks to everyone who made this weekend a success – from the students themselves to their dedicated teachers and the many volunteers serving as judges, moderators, question writers, and mentors,” added Kristen Yarincik, NOSB Program Director. “Hosting the NOSB Finals in Washington, D.C. provided an opportunity to highlight for the students the important ocean observing and related work being done by our federal sponsors and to remind our agencies why ocean education is critical to our future workforce and environmental sustainability. Thanks to all who made this a great Finals.”

For their first-place win, Albany High School was awarded a trip to Monterey Bay this summer, where they will visit many of the nearby oceanographic institutions and learn about local scientific and conservation efforts. Santa Monica High School was also awarded a trip and will visit the Virginia Institute of Marine Science later this summer to learn about their coastal Virginia research first-hand. The third-place team, Ladue Horton Watkins High School, was awarded reclaimed sail backpacks for each team member. The other top teams received Amazon gift cards to purchase marine science textbooks as well as products made from recycled plastic and reclaimed sails. Ketchikan High School, the James D. Watkins Sportsmanship prize-winning team, received the same buzzer system used in the competition and an Amazon gift certificate.

The 2019 national NOSB program is made possible through the following major sponsors:

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Office of Naval Research
  • Wendy & Eric Schmidt
  • Deerbrook Charitable Trust
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • American Honda Foundation
  • Shell Exploration & Production Company
  • Eastman Foundation
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Sea World and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund
  • The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation
  • Shari and Wayne Sternberger

A complete list of sponsors can be found here.

About National Ocean Sciences Bowl

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) is a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership based in Washington, D.C. Now in its 22nd year, the NOSB seeks to interest students in pursuing a college degree and a future career in the ocean sciences. Through this educational forum, the NOSB strives to encourage and support the next generation of marine scientists, policy makers, teachers, explorers, researchers, technicians, environmental advocates, and informed citizens to consider and appreciate the ocean. Most high school students do not have the opportunity to study ocean science as part of their formal coursework, which makes the NOSB one of the only ways students gain exposure to this field.  Many past NOSB participants have moved on to pursue college degrees and careers in ocean science, helping to solve the growing environmental, economic and security issues facing our ocean and planet.

About Consortium for Ocean Leadership

The Consortium for Ocean Leadership (COL) is a Washington, D.C. nonprofit organization that represents the leading public and private ocean research education institutions, aquaria, and industry with the mission to shape the future of ocean science and technology. In addition to its advocacy role as the voice of the ocean research and technology community, COL manages a variety of community-wide research and education programs in areas of ocean observing, ocean exploration, and ocean partnerships.