Girls in Ocean Science Teen Conferences

GIOS Middle School Teen Conference: February 8, 2014

GIOS High School Teen Conference: March 15, 2014


These exciting conferences are dedicated to inspiring young women to pursue degrees and careers in the sciences. Sixteen prominent female scientists from around the country will interact with the girls in a series of hands-on workshops aboard our research vessel, Sea Explorer, and in the Ocean Institute’s teaching labs. The conferences, split into two day-long programs, are designed for enthusiastic middle and high school girls who have an interest in science. Girls will explore careers in areas such as oceanography, marine ecology, astronomy, biochemistry, and deep sea and space exploration. Reservations are required; please see below for registration dates.

Time: 8:30am – 3pm
Cost: $20/participant (includes lunch)


Registration dates for both conferences:

***Both conferences are currently SOLD OUT.*** 

Register online or call (949) 496-2274.

For any other questions about the GIOS conferences, please contact


Presenters for the GIOS Middle School Teen Conference – February 8, 2014


Tiffany Gubala

Marine Field Scientist/Scientific Diver, Seattle Aquarium, Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

For many people, traveling all around the world and having adventures is just another item on their bucket list.  For scientist Tiffany Gubala, however, it is just another day in her wild life!  As a marine biologist, Tiffany has trekked across the globe, working in Australia, Fiji, the Bahamas, and Alaska.  Currently, she works as a fishery observer for Saltwater Inc., a company dedicated to collecting data to improve the health of fisheries.  If you’d like to read more about Tiffany’sadventures, check out her blog at


Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza

Shark Biologist, Director of Research and Education, Ocean Classrooms

As animals that don't have a single bone in their bodies, sharks are among some of the most fascinating of marine animals.  In fact, it was these incredible creatures that first drew Dr. McComb-Kobza into marine science.  She is currently working for Ocean Classrooms and Teens4Oceans, where she works with children and young adults to introduce them to the scientific process first-hand.  Try catching a glimpse of a shark or another ocean animal on live ocean webcams at!


Alexa Alldredge

Whale Acoustics Research Associate, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Have you ever wondered how whales communicate and why it’s important?  Well, Alexa Alldredge could answer many of your questions!  Alexa studies the acoustics of marine mammals and uses her data of whale sounds to better understand the behavior and interactions between different types of marine mammals.  She got her foot in the door and started young when it came to exploring her passion for marine science, and now she studies at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.  Explore all sorts of whale sounds and other sounds from the ocean at


Leslie Harris

Polychaete Collections Manager, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; Vice-President, SoCal Association of Marine Invertebrate Taxonomists

As a “certified wormaholic”, Leslie Harris is an expert in marine worms and invertebrates.  Leslie began her studies on the effects of invasive species after the Japan tsunami brought many new marine invertebrates to the waters of the west coast.  Marine invertebrates are sea animals without backbones such as clams, barnacles, and polychaete worms.  Leslie also specializes in identifying marine invertebrates as the polychaete collections manager at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.  Listen to Leslie’s audio clip about the tsunami’s effects on sea life at 


Dr. Carrie Nugent

Astronomer, Asteroid Scientist, JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), NASA

Asteroids.  The interstellar rubble that may have led to the extinction of dinosaurs and might fly dangerously close to Earth within the next 20 years.  It is these asteroids–the ones that may collide with our planet—that Dr. Nugent and her JPL team are chasing down with an infrared telescope.  Dr. Nugent also enjoys sharing the science of astronomy with her students through hands-on activities such as building telescopes, exploring tide pools, and examining moon rocks to learn how our planet might be different if the Moon didn’t exist.  To learn more about Dr. Nugent and her telescope, visit


Kim Anthony

Senior Marine Biologist, Southern California Edison

Although she has studied many different sea animals, fish are marine biologist, Kim Anthony’s, specialty.  From local rockfish to commercially caught species, Kim’s goal is to promote the conservation and proper use of our fishery resources.  Have you ever caught a rockfish on your reel and line?  Watch this funny video and learn how to safely catch and release rockfish on your next fishing trip:


Kelly Hickman

Education and Restoration Coordinator, Sierra Streams Institute, Nevada City, CA

What is a watershed?  A big wooden shed that stores water?  Or, something much, much bigger?...Luckily, science educator, Kelly Hickman, is happy to answer this and many other environmental science questions.  As an education coordinator, every day Kelly gets to explore the beautiful landscape at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills and teach kids about their local watershed – an area of land where water drains into a lake, river, or ocean.  With her students, Kelly explores the health of the animals, plants, water, and soil in her local watershed, which can tell us a lot about the overall health of the environment.  Everyone lives in a watershed!  Find your local watershed at


Erin Eberhardt

Travelling Scientist and Program Naturalist, Inside the Outdoors, Orange County Department of Education

Do you enjoy science, liberal arts, and travelling?  Can’t choose which one to pursue?  Then combine them all like scientist, Erin Eberhardt!  After studying Nature and Culture at UC Davis, Erin now pursues her passions for both subjects as a travelling scientist at Inside the Outdoors.  She teaches hands-on science lessons to students of all ages and cultural backgrounds around Southern California.  In the future, maybe you will get to meet Erin in your classroom with one of her cool animal friends – a hawk, snake, or tarantula!  See more of the awesome wild animals and science labs that Erin teaches about at


Presenters for the GIOS High School Teen Conference – March 15, 2014


Dr. Dawn Wright

Chief Scientist, Deep Sea Geographer, Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri)

The deep blue?  What’s it like?!  Dr. Dawn Wright, aka “Deepsea Dawn”, can tell you all about it!  Dr. Wright has been studying the all aspects of the deep ocean: its chemistry, geography, and ecology.  Not much of the ocean has been discovered, let alone the bottom of the ocean, and Deepsea Dawn gets to be a part of the new discoveries that lie beneath the ocean surface.  Learn more about Dawn and her research plus many other amazing women oceanographers at


Dr. Mandë Holford

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The City University of New York

This deadly ocean predator spears its prey and injects a toxin strong enough to kill a human.  We’re not talking about a jellyfish; it’s actually the cone snail.  Dr. Mandë Holford is fascinated with these pretty yet dangerous shelled sea creatures.  Her goal is to perfect how this venomous sea snail’s neurotoxin can be used as medicine to relieve pain in cancer patients.  View great photos of these shells and others from Dr. Holford’s lab at


Kelsey Bisson

Biogeochemical Oceanographer, Ph.D. Student, UC Santa Barbara

Sometimes in science you just have to go with the flow!  Kelsey Bisson, a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara, takes a more literal spin on this.  As a biogeochemical oceanographer, Kelsey analyzes satellite ocean color data to understand the circulation of things, such as nutrients and chlorophyll, through the global ocean. For more information on her research, check out!


Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides

Space and Deep Sea Explorer, Science and Project Coordinator, Virgin Oceanic

Loretta Whitesides has quite possibly one of the coolest jobs out there.  As both a highly trained space and deep sea explorer, Loretta has been to the bottom of the ocean five times and has been on over 85 “weightless” flights.  She has also visited some of the ocean’s most extreme environments such as hydrothermal vents, which are like underwater volcanoes, and the icy Canadian Arctic to see what kinds of unique plants and animals could possibly survive there.  How amazing is that?!  Currently, Loretta and the team at Virgin Oceanic are collaborating to engineer and “fly” a one-person, plane-like submarine to the deepest part of each of the world’s five oceans.  Learn more about this record setting journey and Loretta at     


Dr. Carol Blanchette

Research Biologist, Marine Science Institute, UC Santa Barbara

As a research biologist in marine science, Dr. Carol Blanchette is interested in many different topics, from marine ecology to biomechanics and science education.  Her studies include and bring together diverse science subjects and ideas to better understand and protect our oceans.  However, when Dr. Blanchette isn’t working in the tide pools or doing research at the Channel Islands National Park, she loves to get outside and play!  Read about Carol’s research and some of her favorite activities like rock climbing, snowboarding, and surfing at!  


Elizabeth Lenz

Coral Reef and Climate Change Researcher, Graduate Student, Cal State University, Northridge

The ocean is ever changing.  Over time, scientists have noticed that the ocean is becoming both slightly warmer and more acidic.  Researcher Beth Lenz wants to find out how these climate changes might affect sensitive coral reefs.  Beth’s career has taken her to many tropical and fun locations such as French Polynesia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Hawaii.  What is ocean acidification?  Visit NOAA’s link at to find out more.   


Catherine Nickels

Ph.D. Student, Integrative Oceanography Division, Blue Whale Feeding Specialist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

As an oceanographer, Catherine Nickels studies the feeding habits of an animal with a really big appetite, the biggest in the world, in fact – that’s right, the blue whale!  Even though these animals are enormous, their prey is not.  Catherine has to use a microscope to study the tiny krill or shrimp-like plankton, which is the blue whales favorite snack.  But like potato chips, there are many different flavors and types of krill.  Which one is the blue whale’s favorite?  What other factors in the ocean affect their feeding preferences?  Catherine hopes to answer these questions and many more through her research at Scripps.  Learn more blue whale facts at


Jesse Traller

Algal Biofuels Scientist, Graduate Researcher, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

How do you get to school every day?  Do you walk, ride a bike, take the bus, or carpool with a friend?  All of these ways require energy, whether they are powered by gasoline, electricity, or a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs.  But, there are only so many fossil fuels like gas and coal on Earth.  What if you could power your school bus or family car with something else like a clean and abundant energy source that grows quickly, something like…algae!  Algae are similar to plants, like the green scum on top of a pond or the beautiful brown fronds of kelp that sway back and forth in the ocean.  As an algal biofuels scientist, Jesse Traller knows all about algae.  She is searching for new and improved ways to cultivate algae and use it to produce energy to power the many automobiles and machines on our busy planet.  Check out this algae-powered car at