Chevron’s JASON Learning program made the scientific expedition possible.
In May, [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]JASON Learning named Sharmonei Narcisse and educator Karen Thomas among the 2015 JASON Argonauts. Fourteen-year-old Narcisse knew exactly what that meant. The pair would be going on an adventure of a lifetime this summer. They along with a select group of Argos traveled in July to the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas.
Chevron selected Aldine ISD in 2012 to take part in the award-winning program. [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Chevron funds the JASON project in 12 Houston-area school districts. The JASON Learning curriculum engages and motivates middle school students while they learn about science. Many of these students have gone on to pursue degrees and careers in STEM. The acronym stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. According to Xandra Williams-Earlie, the JASON Argonauts program is the pinnacle experience for students and teachers. She serves as program director of secondary science.
“Students and teachers take part in hands-on scientific fieldwork,” said Williams. “They work with scientists in a variety of marine science projects. JASON Learning is a wonderful curriculum. And the National Argonaut Program is an incredible opportunity that has helped shape the career path for many students. I thank Chevron for sponsoring the expedition.“
The 2015 Argonauts travelled to the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas where the Argos spent a week for the scientific expedition. The Argos spent their days on exciting outdoor excursions. They got to cliff jump into the Atlantic and explore the range of the island’s scenic bodies of water. The Argos took part in many interactive lessons that made science come alive. And they documented their experience on blogs and social media.
JASON Learning selected Narcisse and Thomas through a competitive application process. Each year, JASON Learning selects only a few teachers and students across the country. The work on the expedition makes learning relevant for students. They learn how they can apply scientific research in real-world settings. They learn how to identify invasive species and their impact on the environment. The expedition also teaches students about the importance of marine life conservation.
In the Houston area, 11 teams of student and teacher Argos joined JASON Learning. This is part of a collaborative public-private partnership underwritten by Chevron. The energy corporation has made a financial commitment to STEM education.
According to Joni Baird, the goal is not only to connect students to real science and exploration. Everyone involved also wants to inspire and motivate students to pursue careers in STEM. Baird is the public affairs manager at Chevron.
“Chevron’s partnership with JASON Learning is an extension of our commitment to supporting STEM education in public schools,” said Baird. “A major focus of Chevron’s education initiative is getting students, parents and teachers excited about STEM by applying real-world applications, such as JASON’s National Argonaut program. A strong STEM education is critical to U.S. global competitiveness, to our ability to create good jobs and to the overall economic growth of our community.“
Narcisse was an eighth grade student at [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Drew Academy last year. She is headed to [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Carver High School this fall. She found the trip educational and fun. The freshman is also excited to serve as a mentor and role model. The program encourages National Argonauts to share their experiences with others.
“It was exciting to get out to the CEI,” said Narcisse. “The whole experience was awesome. I loved the hands-on activities. I liked listening on the hydrophone. Then I would point the researcher in the direction of the tagged sea turtles. Tagging and searching for turtles was my favorite adventure. In school, you don’t get to do these unique hands on experiences. This program has motivated me to pursue my dream job working in the field of water science and engineering.
“My trip was wonderful. I got a chance to do new things that I never would have thought about doing before. I got to do things that I might have otherwise not gotten to experience. For example, I got to snorkel, dissect and eat lionfish. And I got to jump off a cliff at the Ocean Hole. I learned new information about conservation and the fragile ecosystem at Cape Eleuthera.
“I will definitely share my stories about the expedition. Thank you Chevron and JASON Learning for this incredible opportunity. If I had I chance to do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat!“
Thomas serves as chair and specialist of the Science Department at Drew Academy. She feels her adventure will influence learning activities at Drew Academy.
“Getting a chance to experience science as a JASON Argonaut was incredible,” said Thomas. ” My time as an Argonaut has already affected how I develop lessons. I will now have a chance to help other teachers and students become JASON Argo alumni.“
This is the second time AISD has had a team go to the Bahamas as part of the program. [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Student Dejon King and educator Ryan Sweat went in 2013. King currently attends [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Aldine High School.
Visit [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]JASON Learning to learn more about its exploration-based program.
See more images from the scientific expedition.