‘Girls in Ocean Science’ – Santa Barbara News-Press

Conference brings experts together with potential scientists

The Girls in Ocean Science Conference connects students with experts like Kelsi Rutledge, a UCLA graduate student, visiting researcher at Caltech, and National Defense Science and Engineering Fellow.

The Girls in Ocean Science Conference, designed to bring together leading women experts with the next generation of would-be scientists, returns to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum for its second year.

The program has been expanded to two program days – October 1 for students in grades 6-8 and October 2 for students in grades 9-12.

Every day, from 9am to 3pm, the girls board boats and sail the Santa Barbara Channel to test the waters, collect and explore marine life there, and conduct hands-on experiments with respected female scientists.

Speakers at the conference will include Lizzie Duncan, Research Ecologist at Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

They include:

— Holly Lohuis, marine biologist, naturalist, educator, Santa Barbara. Maritime Museum Education Committee and Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Futures Society.

— Penny Owens, director of education and public relations, Santa Barbara ChannelKeeper.

— Julie Bursek, NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, studies offshore, shallow subtidal and intertidal systems and develops floating laboratory teaching and research programs.

– Lizzie Duncan, Research Ecologist, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, who works to understand and monitor the sanctuary’s resources, reconciling sustainable marine use while ensuring the preservation of the Channel Islands’ ecosystems.

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– Anita Giraldo-Ospina, postdoctoral researcher, UCSB, studies marine ecosystems and species that grow on the seafloor, such as algae, seagrass and coral.

— Callie Leiphardt, Project Scientist, Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory, develops science and technology-based solutions to ocean problems.

– Kelsi Rutledge, UCLA graduate student, visiting researcher at Caltech, and National Defense Science and Engineering Fellow, studies the shape, biomechanics, and fluid dynamics of marine animals with a focus on stingrays.

The conference co-chairs are Ms. Lohuis and Ms. Owens.

This hands-on event, which will bring together the scientists with up to 40 middle school students and up to 48 high school students, is made possible through the generosity of the Steinmetz Family Foundation.

During the GiOS conference, experts share their lives, careers and interests with the participants.

“I was very fortunate that my family always encouraged me to follow my dreams and goals and pursue a career in marine science,” said Ms. Liephardt. “Throughout my journey into my current career I have always been looking for opportunities that could help me learn and grow as an aspiring marine scientist and I have met some very inspiring female role models along the way who have positively impacted my journey have affected.

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“That was crucial for me because I had role models who not only did the kind of work I wanted to do and showed that it’s possible, but also someone who was willing to help aspiring women scientists.”

Mrs. Giraldo-Ospina also had a supportive family.

“My family encouraged me to continue my education,” she said. “They always respected my career choice and my ambition to become a researcher and supported me every step of the way.

Girls in Ocean Science gather for a group photo on the Double Dolphin at the Santa Barbara Sailing Center before departing the dock. Penny Owens is on the far left and Lis Perry, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s Director of Education, is on the far right. The all-female group included the boat’s captain, seated at the back on the right-hand side.

“I’ve had many female leaders I look up to in my career, but the most influential to date has been my Ph.D. Supervisor. She was always there to help me solve problems, but gave me enough independence to pursue my own research and make decisions.”

Ms Lohuis said she “loves to share my personal experiences of diving the world’s oceans and exploring the local nature, hoping to inspire people to seek their own personal connection to the natural environment and the ocean.”

“What I particularly enjoy is seeing people develop a desire to work hard to protect our oceans and wilderness areas.”

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Scientists say evidence shows humans are causing deteriorating ocean health around the world. According to a press release from the Maritime Museum, oceans cover more than 70% of the earth’s surface, provide 90% of the habitat and are an integral part of all known life.

Scientists have come to understand and appreciate the important fact that oceans support all life on the planet.

According to the press release, oceans provide life-giving oxygen, regulate climate, nourish the world with needed protein, provide a place of spiritual connection, and assist in the delicate balancing act between living organisms and the physical forces of Earth.

Marine scientists report that the oceans are warming and that this warming of the seas is having profound effects on oceanic processes and marine life. Scientists say today’s loss of ocean biodiversity is staggering.

Through Girls in Ocean Science, participating scientists will learn about the importance of marine ecology and the conditions that make the Santa Barbara Channel so prolific and diverse with wildlife.

Email: [email protected]


The Girls in Ocean Science Conference will be held October 1-2 at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way Suite 190, Santa Barbara.

The cost is $20 for museum members and $30 for non-members. To apply for a scholarship go to sbmm.org/girls-in-ocean-science-scholarship-application-2/.

To register for the conference, call Lis Perry at 805-456-8741, email [email protected], or visit sbmm.org/santa-barbara-event/girls-in-ocean- science-2022/.

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