On Sunday, students from Montgomery Blair High School (Silver Spring, Maryland) won the National Finals of the 21stAnnual National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). An interdisciplinary ocean science education program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the NOSB tests students’ knowledge of ocean-related topics, including cross-disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology. Students on the championship team include Anish Senapati, Laura Cui, Elliot Kienzle, Noah Singer, and David Wu. They are coached by Tran Pham.
To qualify for Finals, the 23 competing teams first had to win their regional competitions. In total, more than 350 teams (made up of approximately 1,750 students representing 32 states) participated, adding to the more than 30,000 students who have passed through the ocean sciences competition over the last 21 years. A full list of the 2018 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, Our Ocean Shaping Weather. These included relationships between weather and ocean conditions and currents, technologies used to predict global climate patterns, and challenges in mitigating the impact of severe weather events. 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 – Montgomery Blair High School (Silver Spring, Maryland)
2nd Place – Santa Monica High School (Santa Monica, California)
3rd Place – Marshfield High School (Marshfield, Wisconsin)
4th Place – Albany High School (Albany, California)
5th Place – Newport High School (Bellevue, Washington)
6th Place – Fort Collins High School (Fort Collins, Colorado)
7th Place – Princeton High School (Princeton, New Jersey)
8th Place – Mount Sinai High School (Mount Sinai, New York)
The NOSB places an emphasis on sportsmanship and awarded Newport High School the James D. Watkins Sportsmanship Award. Additionally, participants were scored separately on their performance in the SEB. Santa Monica High School won this portion of the competition, Greenhills School (Ann Arbor, Michigan) took home second, and Princeton High School and Montgomery Blair High School tied for third.
The weekend was about more than just the competition. During the opening ceremony, RDML Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., USN Ret., Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, treated the students to a keynote address. They also enjoyed several hands-on activities, including participating in unmanned aircraft systems flight school (with the Integrated Remote and In Situ Sensing Initiative), planting over 200 trees along a damaged stretch of creek, contributing to citizen science projects (CrowdMag and GLOBE Clouds Protocol observations), maintaining trails near Lily Lake, and visiting Dinosaur Ridge and Triceratops Trail.
“Congratulations to our first-time winners from Montgomery Blair and to all teams who participated at both the regional and national level,” said RADM Jon White, President and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the exceptional caliber of the students, new and old, who we watched compete this weekend. They’re not just smart, articulate, hardworking teenagers—they’re considerate, compassionate, and committed to the ocean. I look forward to seeing the amazing things they will accomplish in the coming years – I truly believe we and our ocean are in good hands.”
“Thanks to everyone who made this weekend a success – from the students themselves to the volunteers serving as judges, moderators, question writers, and mentors,” added Kristen Yarincik, NOSB Program Director. “It really takes a village to put on the NOSB Finals, and our amazing community around the nation made it happen. An extra thanks to our hosts at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and Amanda Morton, our regional coordinator.”
The first and second place teams received all-expenses paid trips to Florida where they will visit SeaWorld, Mote Marine Laboratory, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, and Discovery Cove. The other top teams received Amazon gift cards to purchase marine science textbooks as well as, in recognition of Earth Day, products made out of recycled marine plastics. Newport High School, the James D. Watkins Sportsmanship prize-winning team, also received the same buzzer system used in the competition.
The 2018 national NOSB program is made possible through the following major sponsors:
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Wendy & Eric Schmidt
- Deerbrook Charitable Trust
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- Eastman Foundation
- Shell Exploration & Production Company
- Lockheed Martin
- The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation
- Sharon 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 21st 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.