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NOSB at the College of Exploration

Orignal invitation to participate in the online alumni porject from Admiral West, former President of CORE, now known as the Center for Ocean Leadership.

9 July 2007: Click here for the letter from Admiral West inviting you to participate.

NOSB Evaluation Annual Reports

August 10, 2010 - Update

In the 2009-2010 project year we continued to track NOSB past participants in their college and career pathways.  As of August 2010 there were 432 individuals who had registered on the College of Exploration NOSB alumni web site only a slight increase for 2010. The former NOSB participants who registered in this database showed a predominant interest in the sciences with a significant number desiring to pursue STEM majors. The registered alumni represented all of the regional Bowls.

Email Surveys of College Students
This year we continued to survey students from this database in the fall and spring to ascertain the college courses they are taking and the major they have chosen. In the spring of 2010 a total of 147 past participants ultimately responded to the request for information. A large percentage (86% in this 2010 survey) of respondents are enrolled in STEM related degree fields (up from 77% in the 2009 survey).  This continues to suggest that the NOSB program—while not necessarily causally related to student education planning and decision-making—is at least a participant in the educational path of many students who are ultimately ending up in STEM related fields of inquiry.  It is also important to observe that there remains a high percentage of students who report that they have taken marine, aquatic, or ocean related courses—32 of the respondents in this survey.  While only 37% of respondents in this survey (38% in 2009) report an interest in ultimately working in a marine, aquatic, or ocean-related career, the larger number of respondents who are taking marine and ocean related courses suggests that NOSB is influencing the creation of a broadly educated community who will have formal knowledge of the oceans regardless of their employment area. 

Degree Completion Study  
54 individuals completed questions related to college completion and their major/degree. 37% of these 54 graduates reported that they obtained their college degrees in an area that “included an emphasis in marine, ocean, or aquatic science.” This finding should be viewed as a significant success for the NOSB program and for COL, as credible evidence that the funding provided to support the NOSB competition has “paid off” as, at least, support for a group of students who will and have completed STEM degrees and entered the workforce with those degrees at a higher rate than the general population. 

Graduate Career Survey 2010
Fifteen past participants who were finished with their schooling completed a survey about their current professional work. Their responses showed that 9 of the 15 were working an area that was connected to the oceans, Great Lakes, or aquatic systems. Several aspired to longer-term aspirations that included conservation and research about wetlands and marine or aquatic systems. Their employers ranged from corporations to non-profit groups to local and state government organizations.

Volunteer/Scientist Study
This year we placed special focus on the volunteers for the NOSB who are scientists or prospective scientists (including undergraduate and graduate students in the sciences) and their participation in the NOSB. The research team gathered information about these volunteers through an online survey, which included Likert-scale and open ended questions. There were 288 respondents representing 17 regional bowls who replied to the survey. Demographic data revealed that study respondents included a balanced mix of early career scientists, mid career scientists and late career or retired scientists as well as the undergraduate and graduate students.   These scientist volunteers filled a number of roles in the NOSB from writing questions to judging to preparation and setup as well as sharing their research and offering field trips. They highlighted the benefits they received both for themselves and for their organizations including:

  • networking and recruitment of future students, or employees in the STEM career bracket
  • promotion of community outreach and public relations
  • promotion of pure science education;  desire to promote knowledge and immersion in science
  • desire to give back and the fulfillment that is achieved through interaction with students

The scientist volunteers stressed student benefits such as

  • stimulating an interest in science,
  • providing them contact with “authentic” scientists, and
  • educating young people, not only in sciences, but also in teamwork, work ethic, and confidence.

When asked   “What are your reasons for volunteering with NOSB?” generally, the responses seemed to cluster around four primary themes:

  • The most observed theme was directly related to working with children and fostering their understanding and relationship with science
  • The second theme that emerged was that the individual volunteer had been involved in NOSB as a student and wanted to remain active and promote the prosperity of the organization
  • The third theme to appear is directly associated with the desire to volunteer, or the requirement of community outreach and public relations for an individual's job
  • The final evidential theme to emerge was one of personal interest, attraction to and promotion of the field. Volunteers expressed their desire to promote the sciences, and spark an interest in STEM related fields for education and career choices.

This longitudinal study has shown that NOSB is far more than “just a competition.”  It has grown into a significant social community, comprised of current and past participants, educators, scientists, public and private sector personnel—all making contributions and connections to and for the continuation of this program.

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16 September 2009 - Update

In the 2008-2009 project year we continued to track NOSB past participants in their college and career pathways.  As of August 2009 there were 429 individuals who had registered on the College of Exploration NOSB alumni web site. Since May 2009 an additional 36 students had registered.  The new students in the database expressed interest in the sciences with a significant majority desiring to pursue STEM majors. The registered alumni represented all of the regional Bowls.

This year we continued to survey students in the fall and spring to ascertain the college courses they are taking and the major they have chosen. In addition this year we have placed special focus on diversity within NOSB. The team gathered information from NOSB about their diversity initiative and reviewed this information in preparation for a diversity study of NOSB alumni.  Feedback was solicited from those who self-identified as diversity participants.  A summary report of the responses from this select number of diversity participants gave perspectives about participation by diverse students.

In 2008 we interviewed two past participants in OR who are pursuing graduate study and career choices in marine sciences. We also interviewed two past participant team leaders from Animo Leadership Charter High School in Inglewood, CA. These interviews were in video format and have been placed here on this web site. We thank Paul, Erin, Cinthia and Brian for sharing their perspectives about the NOSB. Additional video interviews are planned for October with a coach and a past participant from WI.

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9 April 2008 - Update on our Longitudinal Study of NOSB Past Participants

We first wanted to let everyone know that there has been a major change at CORE this year. CORE has merged with JOI to form the Consortium for Ocean Leadership (COL) “to better represent the ocean research and education community.” Here is the link to their new web site

Throughout 2007 we continued to register past NOSB participants. As of August 2007 329 past participants were in our registration database. They came from all 25 of the regional NOSB sites. Students have provided extensive data to the research team through completing a survey. Students are attending a broad spectrum of universities and it is interesting to note that a number of students in the respondent pool are enrolled in COL member institutions.

These institutions include:

  • The College of William and Mary
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Naval Postgraduate School
  • The Pennsylvania State University
  • Stanford University
  • Stony Brook University
  • The University of California — San Diego
  • The University of New Hampshire
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina — Wilmington
  • University of Rhode Island
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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During the last half of 2007 and into the first half of 2008 the research team has been continuing to track the progress of the past participants through updated email surveys and emerging case studies. Email surveys request information from students about their university course selections and their majors. A January report (PDF document) provided an update of the study, including summaries of the registration database and email survey results. It also provided a look at the role of mentorship in the NOSB in response to a question about the role of mentoring in selection of courses, college, or career.

A coaches’ survey (Spring 2008) will provide coaches’ perspectives on: 1. The impact of the NOSB program on student participants and in particular on their college and career selection 2. The ways that the NOSB has helped infuse ocean sciences content into classroom teaching (in addition to NOSB competition preparation) 3. The impact of coaches as mentors for NOSB students.

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Link to the 2007 Survey

Research Reports

Executive Report—NOSB® Longitudinal Study 2006-2007 (Year 1)


National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB®) Longitudinal Study: The Impact of the NOSB System on Participants’ College and Career Choices in Science Disciplines Year 1 Executive Summary:  April 27, 2007

Dr. Tina Bishop of the College of Exploration and Dr. Howard Walters from Ashland University completed a study to determine the effects of the NOSB in 2002 -2004.A short summary of the research study is available here. A copy of the full report can be downloaded here.

National Marine Educators Association Special Report #2

The National Marine Educators Assoiation published a Special Report on the National Ocean Sciences Bowl in March 2006. You can read the Special Edition in PDF format here.

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