On Sunday, students from Santa Monica High School (Santa Monica, California) won the National Finals of the 20th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl. 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 Santa Monica’s first national championship team include Amy Amatya, Nanki Chung, Rhys Gaida, Ryu Akiba, and Josh Sheng. They are coached by Mr. Ingo Gaida.
To qualify for Finals, the 25 competing teams first had to win their regional competitions. In total, approximately 392 teams (made up of 1,960 students representing 33 states) participated, adding to the more than 30,000 students who have passed through the ocean sciences competition over the last 20 years. A full list of the 2017 NOSB Finals participants is available here.
At both the regional and national levels, the NOSB consists of buzzer-style, multiple choice questions and longer, critical thinking-based team challenge questions. The Finals also includes the Scientific Expert Briefing (SEB), a mock congressional hearing where students present science recommendations on a piece of legislation, enhancing the critical thinking elements of the competition and focusing on real-world skills. This year’s theme was Blue Energy: Powering the Planet With Our Ocean. The use of marine renewable energy (generated from the continuous movement of surface winds, tides, and currents, as well as differences in salinity and temperature) will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, keeping our ocean healthy and productive as it helps meet the world’s growing energy demand.
The top eight teams at the Finals Competition were:
1st Place – Santa Monica High School (Santa Monica, California)
2nd Place – Marshfield High School (Marshfield, Wisconsin)
3rd Place – North Carolina School of Science and Math (Durham, North Carolina)
4th Place – Centerville High School (Dayton, Ohio)
5th Place – Bishop Sullivan Catholic High (Virginia Beach, Virginia)
6th Place – Eastside High School (Gainesville, Florida)
7th Place – Liberty Common High School (Fort Collins, Colorado)
8th Place – Oxford High School (Oxford, Mississippi)
Students competed for several additional awards during Finals. The NOSB places an emphasis on sportsmanship, awarding Kalani High School (Honolulu, Hawaii) the James D. Watkins Sportsmanship Award. Additionally, participants are scored separately on their performance in the SEB. Montgomery Blair High School (Silver Spring, Maryland) won this portion of the competition, Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School (Virginia Beach, Virginia) took home second, and North Carolina School of Science and Math (Durham, North Carolina) came in third.
“This was an amazing way to celebrate our 20th anniversary,” said RADM Jon White, President and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. “I’m extremely impressed by the knowledge, sportsmanship, and enthusiasm for ocean science displayed by all of the teams. I look forward to the next 20 years – both watching how the NOSB will grow and develop, as well as seeing the innovative accomplishments of today’s students, who are tomorrow’s leaders.”
“You can’t help but walk away from this competition feeling inspired and hopeful for the future,” added Kristen Yarincik, NOSB Program Director. “The students put in countless hours, on top of their regular school requirements, and we got to see that all come to fruition this weekend. But they aren’t the only ones putting in long hours. We have hundreds of volunteers—including our hosts at OSU—who, combined, have dedicated thousands of hours as judges, moderators, question writers, timers, and scorers to make this event possible.”
The first and second place teams received all-expenses paid trips to coastal states, Georgia/South Carolina and New Jersey, respectively, to join local experts in conducting scientific research. The third place team received H20 Ninja snorkel masks, and the other top teams received Amazon gift cards to purchase marine science textbooks. The James D. Watkins Sportsmanship prize-winning team received a gift card as well as the same buzzer system used in the competition.
Students enjoyed several hands-on science activities over the weekend, including a beach cleanup with Surfrider Foundation, a tour of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Operations Center – Pacific, a trip aboard the OSU Research Vessel Pacific Storm, a clamming adventure with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and a tour of OSU’s OH Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory.
The 2017 national NOSB program is made possible through the following major sponsors:
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Office of Naval Research
- Schwab Charitable Fund made possible by the generosity of Wendy and Eric Schmidt
- Deerbrook Charitable Trust
- Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
- Eastman Foundation
- Lockheed Martin
- Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
A complete list of sponsors can be found here.