Project Ocean Details

Project Ocean Details

Pre-residence online work: July 5-16, 2022
On-site residence experience: July 17-23, 2022
Post-residence online work: July 24-August 4, 2022

Washington College
Chestertown, Maryland


PLEASE NOTE: We are closely monitoring the potential impacts of the COVID pandemic 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 Pennsylvania Western University (PennWest). 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
  • Earn three graduate credits from Pennsylvania Western University upon completion of program requirements

Cost and Resources:

For Summer 2022, 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 to 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 including earth science in their curriculum 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 oceanography 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 national geographic distribution 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 Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. The on-site, in-person portion of the course includes lectures, tutorials, seminars, hands-on laboratory exercises, research cruises, and field trips. Faculty members from the Navy, 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 and may be asked to share "best practices" from their home institution.

Online Activities: Prior to arrival at Washington College, teacher-participants will be enrolled in the PennWest Global Online program and course management system, D2L. Teacher-participants will be required to complete multiple 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 Washington College. Participants will also have online 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 lead a peer training 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):

  • Waves and tides
  • Density and wind driven circulations
  • Sea-air interactions
  • Physical factors impacting ocean life
  • Changing climate, sea levels and coastlines
  • Ocean reservoir capacity
  • Sea level measurement
  • Direct and remote sensing
  • El Niño and La Niña
  • Winds, storms, hurricanes, and storm surges

On-site activities typically extend from 8:00 AM to 4:30 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 equipment and you can print it out, you are essentially ready for the online portion of Project Ocean. Course registration with Pennsylvania Western University will provide you with your own PennWest student email address and other resources and benefits available to all students at the University. Technical requirements for course engagement can be found here:

Participant Support

  • Stipend of $100
  • Housing for six nights, arranged by AMS
  • Meals
  • Round-trip air or land travel from US home to Chestertown, Maryland
  • Instructional and laboratory supplies
  • Tuition
  • Set of instructional materials


Project Ocean will be held in Chestertown, MD with research activities being conducted in and around the Chesapeake Bay area. The in-residence portion of the course includes a research cruise on Chesapeake Bay and one or more field trips will be made to places of oceanographic significance in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area.


Participants will be expected to stay in housing accommodations arranged by the AMS, 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 three semester hours of graduate credit in AEAS 515: Selected Topics in Ocean Science Studies through Pennsylvania Western University.

Credit will be awarded upon successful course completion and may be applied to a post-baccalaureate certificate from California University's School of Graduate Studies and Research.

Project Ocean Staff

  • Wendy Abshire, M.S., Director, Education Program, American Meteorological Society, Washington, DC
  • Joseph P. Smith, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Oceanography Department, USNA, Annapolis, MD
  • Chad M. Kaufman, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Math & Physical Science, Pennsylvania Western University, Curriculum Development Coordinator & DataStreme Lead, AMS Education Program
  • Jemima Clark, M.Ed., Education Program Manager, Washington College, Chestertown, MD
  • Abigail Stimach, K-12 Program Administrator, Education Program, American Meteorological Society, Washington, DC

Application Procedures

The 2023 application process will open in mid/late Fall.

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 Vietnam Era or disabled veteran.


Questions regarding Project Ocean 2022 should be directed to