The Seas Are Calling for Girls to Follow Careers in Ocean Science | School Zone

Posted on September 20, 2022
| 4:16 p.m

Lizzie Duncan is one of the scientists who will be working with attendees at the Girls in Ocean Science Conference.
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Lizzie Duncan is one of the scientists who will be working with attendees at the Girls in Ocean Science Conference. (Photo courtesy.)

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) Girls in Ocean Science (GiOS) conference for young women in junior high and high school returns for a second year on October 1-2.

The conference has been expanded to two days to serve more students and will be held on Saturday, October 1st for grades 6-8 and Sunday, October 2nd for grades 9-12. Program activities, which take place daily from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., include activities on boats in the Santa Barbara Channel.

This hands-on event brings together leading women scientists with up to 40 middle school students and up to 48 high school students, all made possible by the Steinmetz Family Foundation.

As women remain in the minority in many areas of science, the conference and speakers will encourage young women to consider science-based majors. The goal is to bring bright minds together to create idea-driven conversations and hands-on experiences that foster learning, inspiration, and wonder.

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Young women who love science or are beginning to show an interest will gain insight and work with potential mentors who can educate and guide them in pursuing a possible career in marine science.

The cost to attend the conference is $20 for SBMM members and $30 for non-members. Scholarships are available. Apply for a scholarship at

Each day, girls board either the Double Dolphin (grades 6-8) or a research vessel (grades 9-12) for a range of hands-on science labs and research activities with female scientists, including:

Holly Lohuis – Co-Chair, Marine Biologist, Naturalist, Educator, Chair of the GiOS Committee, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum Education Committee and Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Futures Society.
Penny Owens – Co-Chair, Director of Education and Public Relations at Santa Barbara ChannelKeeper.
Julie Bursek – Education and Outreach Team Leader, NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, studies offshore, shallow subtidal and tidal systems and develops floating laboratory education and research programs.
Lizzie Duncan – Research Ecologist, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary; work to understand and monitor the protected area’s resources, reconciling the sustainable use of the oceans while ensuring the conservation of the Channel Islands’ ecosystems.
Anita Giraldo-Ospina – Postdoc, UCSB, studies marine ecosystems and species that grow on the seafloor, such as algae, seagrass, and coral.
Callie Leiphardt – Project Scientist, The 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.

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For more information and to register, visit or contact Lis Perry at [email protected] or 805-456-8741.

Oceans cover more than 70% of the earth’s surface, provide 90% of the habitat and are an integral part of all known life on earth. Scientists have come to understand and appreciate the important fact that oceans support all life on the planet.

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Oceans provide life-giving oxygen, regulate climate, nourish the world with needed protein, provide a place of spiritual connection, and aid in the delicate balancing act between living organisms and the physical forces of the earth.

Marine scientists report that the oceans are warming and that warming seas is having profound effects on oceanic processes and marine life. There is an urgent need to provide opportunities for young women in the community to learn all about maritime and marine science careers so that they feel educated and empowered to reverse this trend.

For more information on SBMM, visit or call 805-962-8404.

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