Alaska Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence hires noted Homer educator



NR: SG-2009/NR290

Fairbanks, Alaska—Marilyn Sigman, a respected marine science educator from Homer, has been named education specialist for the recently established Alaska Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE Alaska) in Anchorage.

Funding for COSEE Alaska comes from the National Science Foundation. The goal of the program is to increase ocean and climate change literacy by linking scientists with formal and informal audiences, particularly educators. A central focus of COSEE Alaska is to heighten public understanding of climate change occurring in Alaska and the circumpolar north.

In her new position, Sigman will serve as the marine education specialist for the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, and will oversee development of marine education initiatives for COSEE Alaska.

Sigman will engage ocean scientists, teachers, informal educators and community members in the region in a broad range of programs, including statewide ocean science fairs, teacher workshops, expanded Communicating Ocean Science Workshops and hands-on sessions for scientists at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium, plus distance learning and virtual field trips through the COSEE Alaska web site.

“We are thrilled to have Marilyn join our program,” said Paula Cullenberg, Interim Director of Alaska Sea Grant. “Her skills and years of experience as a marine educator are a perfect fit to develop this new and long-needed initiative in Alaska. Marilyn will be the first faculty member at any of the University of Alaska campuses to focus specifically on ocean and marine education at the K-12 level.”

Sigman’s roots in environmental education run deep in Alaska. Since 1998, Sigman has been the executive director of the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. Based in Homer, the center promotes environmental understanding and appreciation through school field trips, nature hikes, beach walks, and programs for teachers and parents, community members and visitors that make use of Kachemak Bay’s many educational resources and facilities.

Sigman has created and conducted numerous marine education and outreach programs, and is the recipient of several awards for her environmental stewardship and educational work, including the Alaska Conservation Foundation’s 2008 Jerry S. Dixon Award for Excellence in Environmental Education.

There are 12 COSEE programs across the country. COSEE Alaska is a partnership between the Alaska Ocean Observing System, the Alaska SeaLife Center, the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, the UAF Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, the Anchorage School District, and the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program.

Sigman began her new job March 16.