Twenty-four bright and enthusiastic students from across the country descended upon Monterey in July for the fourth iteration of the MARINE (Monterey Area Research Institutions’ Network for Education) Ocean Policy Course.
The course introduces ocean-interested early career professionals to ocean policy and governance, and how science influences public policy decisions at the international, national, and state levels. Participants learn about pressing challenges to ocean health, and together with leaders in ocean science and policy, examine how scientists (e.g., social, economic, natural) and researchers can and do work within the policy-making process to address these challenges.
Using current case studies in ocean policy along with interactive activities, discussions, and field trips, the course aims to immerse students in the complexity of ocean-related decision-making. For example, students spent one full day engaged in a role-playing scenario acting out stakeholder meetings to discuss oil drilling in the Arctic. They also had the opportunity to get outside and talk to members of the public about ocean issues, meet leaders in the field of ocean management at a career night, and mingle with students from China during a crossover day with the Middlebury Institute for International Studies’ Blue Pioneers program. For their final project, the participants worked in groups to draft and submit a public comment letter on a current listing in the Federal Register.
This year’s course organizers included Laura Good, Education Manager at the Center for Ocean Solutions (COS); Angee Doerr, Research Associate in coupled human-natural systems at COS; and Whit Saumweber, a visiting fellow at COS who has worked with the White House Council on Environmental Quality and on the National Ocean Policy. Several guest lecturers, whose backgrounds spanned environmental law, policy, management, and science, also helped lead interactive sessions throughout the course. By the end of two weeks, the course participants had not only covered a wide range of topics and material, but also forged friendships and made connections that will stay with them into the future.
Watch a video of students talking about their experience during the course.
View course photos on the COS Facebook page.