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Oceanography Camp History and Goals

The Oceanography Camp for Girls was developed to inspire and motivate young women entering high school to consider career opportunities in the sciences. Each three week program provides hands-on, real-world experiences in both laboratory and field environments. Under the interdisciplinary umbrella of oceanography, participants are directly involved in disciplines in which women and minorities are most often underrepresented -- chemistry, geology, physics, engineering and mathematics. The strengths of this program are:

  • interdisciplinary learning that focuses on both physical and natural sciences as well as math and ecology
  • participation in real-world research projects and problem solving
  • graduate student mentors capable of not only teaching science but also identifying with campers on levels that both inspire and increase their confidence about science
  • one-on-one mentoring between teen-aged girls and research scientists
  • alumni campers, who serve as peer mentors to "new" campers while enhancing their communication and leadership skills

Why Girls?

In the 1990s several national studies revealed a tremendous drop in the number of women pursuing math and science degrees. To address this shortfall on a local level, the USF College of Marine Science began the first Oceanography Camp for Girls. The all-girls setting dissolves social barriers to learning, creates a "risk-free" environment, and creates a positive sense of self.

Probably the best way to describe the benefits of an all girls camp is to look at what camp participants have to say:

" fun it was to get their hands dirty and not be concerned with their appearance, because there were no boys, ... just girls with the same interest in learning."

Why Oceanography?

Oceanography combines biology, chemistry, geology, math, and physics. This makes oceanography a perfect discipline for our unified approach to learning. The Oceanography Camp provides hands-on learning experience in real-world research environments and introduces participants to female graduate students, scientists and other professionals, who provide mentoring.

Perhaps most importantly, oceanography is FUN. And having fun makes learning easy.