Project Ocean Details

Project Ocean Details
Important Notice: Project Ocean will not be offered for Summer 2024 while we find a new source of funding for the course and plan for future offerings. We anticipate that the next time this course will be offered is in Summer 2025. Please feel free to read over these pages to better understand what Project Ocean is about. Please note, however, that specific details of how the course is conducted are subject to change (for example, we can already share that Project Ocean will NOT be a formal course at Pennsylvania Western University and therefore will not have graduate credits associated with this course).

Also, you are welcome to check out our other two summer courses (Project Atmosphere and/or Project Ice), which will be running in Summer 2024 (more information on the 2024 offerings will be available later this fall).

Pre-residence online work: July 10-15, 2023
On-site residence experience: July 16-22, 2023
Post-residence online work: July 23-August 10, 2023

St. Mary's College of Maryland
St. Mary's City, Maryland


PLEASE NOTE: We closely monitor potential health and safety impacts on the planned residence component of this course. A decision regarding the residence component also going virtual will be made BEFORE invitations to participate are sent.


Project Ocean is an online and in-residence teacher professional development course with a one-week residence experience offered by the American Meteorological Society's Education Program in partnership with SMCM. This course is specifically designed for K-12 teachers who desire to include ocean content in their curriculum.

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Gain an understanding of the physical foundations of oceanographic topics and issues
  • Help promote oceanographic education by peer training fellow teachers in their community
  • Gain access to scientifically accurate and pedagogically sound instructional resource materials designed for teachers

Cost and Resources:

For Summer 2023, the academic fee is being waived for all who are selected to participate.

Each participant will be supplied with a variety of instructional resource materials, including those that can be used in peer-led teacher training sessions.

After successful completion of course activities, participants will:

  • Demonstrate updated knowledge concerning the physical foundations of oceanographic topics and issues
  • Show evidence of being able to interpret and analyze oceanographic information acquired through direct and remote sensing of the ocean environment
  • Exhibit understanding of current science education research findings and their classroom applications
  • Indicate how they intend to promote oceanographic education in their home areas by peer training fellow teachers, especially those who teach students who are members of groups underrepresented in the sciences


To be eligible for Project Ocean, teachers and supervisors of science at the K-12 level should:

  • Have enough background knowledge or practice/experience with content to benefit from the course
  • Teach or supervise the instruction of an ocean related course or relevant subject area
  • Demonstrate interest in teaching, curriculum development, and/or the training of fellow teachers
  • Demonstrate willingness to promote the teaching of physical oceanography concepts in their home region through a minimum of one training session for colleagues upon completion of the summer course

Participants will be selected to provide a broad geographic distribution, with focus on areas particularly vulnerable to ocean-related natural hazards and climate change, and a cross-section of school environments. Teachers interested in promoting participation by those traditionally underserved in STEM are strongly encouraged to apply.


There are three main components to Project Ocean: the residence experience, online activities, and post course peer training. Successful completion of all aspects of these components is required to earn the graduate credits for the course.

Residence Experience: The Project Ocean on-site portion will be held at St. Mary's College of Maryland in St. Mary's City, Maryland. The on-site, in-person portion of the course includes lectures, tutorials, seminars, hands-on laboratory exercises, a research cruise, and field trips. SMCM faculty members, Navy scientists, as well as other scientists and science educators, will present course topics. Presentations will be articulated with science content and oceanographic education presentations led by course faculty. Participants will have an active role in the course and will be placed in breakout groups at times to collaborate with other colleagues on how materials can be integrated into their classrooms.

Online Activities: Prior to arrival at St. Mary's College of Maryland, teacher-participants will be required to complete multiple, asynchronous online learning modules related to the oceanographic and related sciences. This preparatory work will enable teacher-participants to engage at a similar level of competency prior to arrival at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Participants will also have asynchronous modules/activities to complete after the conclusion of the in-person component of the course.

Post Course Peer Training: After the on-site and online components conclude, participants are required to submit a plan for and/or lead a synchronous peer training session for other K-12 teachers in their schools, districts, or communities that utilizes the concepts and materials learned during their Project Ocean experience. More information about this component can be found on the page linked here (although in-depth details are shared with participants during the residence experience).

The course will include the following topics (online or on-site):

  • Wind-driven ocean circulation, geostrophic flow, and oceanic gyres
  • Density-driven ocean circulation
  • Ocean tides
  • Deep ocean and shallow water waves
  • Wind-driven ocean circulation, Ekman Transport, and coastal upwelling
  • El Niño and La Niña
  • Sea level change

On-site residence activities typically run from about 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM EDT each day.

Equipment Requirements

You will need a computer and high-speed Internet connection. If you are reading this on-screen with your own computing hardware and you can print it out, you are essentially ready for the online portion of Project Ocean.

Participant Support

  • Stipend of $90 to cover food for two travel days and incidentals during the week (based on Federal M&IE rates)
  • Housing for six nights, arranged by AMS
  • Group meals
  • Round-trip air or land travel from US home to St. Mary's City, MD
  • Local transportation/toll stipend of $100
  • Instructional and laboratory supplies
  • Tuition
  • Set of instructional materials


Project Ocean will be held in St. Mary's City, MD with field activities in the nearby lower Potomac and Patuxent Rivers, close to the Chesapeake Bay. The in-residence portion of the course includes a research cruise and field trip to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.


Participants will be expected to stay in housing accommodations arranged by the AMS and SMCM, as the course will be intensive and involve several evening meetings. Informal interaction among participants during meals and evenings will be an integral component of the course.

Participants should attend without families as their presence is likely to detract from full participation. No support will be provided for dependents.

Academic Credit

Participants who complete all course requirements, including the submission of a follow-up report on their peer-training session, will earn continuing education credits.

Project Ocean Staff

  • Randolph Larsen, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry/Marine Science Program, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Maryland
  • Chad M. Kauffman, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biology, Earth, & Environmental Sciences, Pennsylvania Western University, Curriculum Development Coordinator & DataStreme Lead, AMS Education Program
  • Abigail Stimach, K-12 Program Administrator, Education Program, American Meteorological Society, Washington, DC

Application Procedures

The 2025 application process will open in mid/late Fall 2024.

Click here to learn how to apply to Project Ocean.

The application deadline will be posted in mid/late Fall, at the same time as the instructions to apply.

In selecting individuals for participation and otherwise in the administration of this course, the AMS will not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, and status as a Military veteran.


Questions regarding Project Ocean 2025 should be directed to [email protected].