October 15, 2021
Congratulations to Maile Sullivan, Washington Sea Grant education specialist, for receiving the 2021 Johnette D. Bosarge Memorial Award at the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) Conference. This award honors service and dedication to NMEA, and loyalty, efficiency and enthusiasm for marine and aquatic education.
As stated in her award nomination letter, Maile has shown leadership by developing lasting education programs that have given students K-12 access to marine science knowledge throughout Washington state. Maile is the driving force behind the NOAA Science Camp, a two-week summer camp for student to submerge themselves into many aspects of marine science. The students learn directly from NOAA scientists and educators on the NOAA Western Regional Center campus about how NOAA research addresses environmental issues on both local and international scales.
Maile’s naturally creative mind lends itself most to innovation, particularly in advancing marine science initiatives that make marine science education accessible. Over the years, she has continued to develop pathways for youth to stay engaged in the field. For example, she created the high school Junior Leadership Program, developed a speed-networking event for participants with regional scientists, and has provided mentorship opportunities through programs like the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars. When in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic required closure of in-person events across the nation, Maile forged ahead, recreating the NOAA Science Camp experience as an online program. She and her colleagues creatively solved the challenge by partnering with Woods Hole Sea Grant and the NOAA Regional Collaboration Network to offer four “NOAA Live! Webinars” using the established “NOAA Live!” interactive webinar program. She also partnered with NOAA Scientists to create 4 virtual at-home activities that highlighted some of the scientists’ exciting research. The results from this first digital camp are impressive: The program reached over 430 students from 28 states.
Maile also coordinates Orca Bowl each year, the state’s regional National Ocean Sciences Bowl event. Among Maile’s many innovative initiatives perhaps the one that says the most about Maile’s values and innovative spirit was the creation of the Megan Vogel Sportsmanship Award. She introduced this award to recognize a team of students for their positive attitude and team spirit throughout the competition, a distinction that she created in memory of one of her most dedicated volunteer coaches. This award is important to Maile because it elevates the Orca Bowl competition to a higher level, reminding students that this competition is not just about winning, but about how they conduct themselves in the greater world as citizens.
These are just a few examples of how Maile has been a local and national leader in marine education. Well deserved, Maile!