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What is the Scientist in Residence program? 

The Scientist in Residence Program at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) is a partnership between UTMSI scientists and the Port Aransas Independent School District (PAISD).  The goals of this program are to:

  • increase enthusiasm for science learning among K-12 students
  • enhance scientific communication and teaching skills in participating graduate fellows
  • increase environmental outreach/education in the community 


How does it work?

Each year, 1-2 UTMSI graduate students are selected to serve as Scientist in Residence. The fellows job is to work with teachers and fellow scientists to develop activities that enhance student learning and love for science. Although collaboration is a key part of the process, fellows works in the same classrooms year round, allowing him or her to develop a relationship with every student and create a truly unique learning opportunity. 


Examples of what we do...

  • elementary school science fair
  • mock-conference poster sessions 
  • regular environmental surveys & sampling
  • data analysis and presentation
  • scientific method practice & development
  • peer evaluation of scientific work
  • maintaining a scientific notebook
  • Field excursions to local habitats (e.g. marshes, mangrove forests, rivers, beaches, water treatment centers, forestry areas)
  • evaluating sources of marine pollution
  • question & answer sessions with scientists/environmentalists
  • water quality monitoring
  • parent & student science nights
  • field instrument techniques (e.g. YSI SONDE, refractometer, Van Dorn water sampler, wind meter, nutrient test kits, secchi disk, etc.)
  • original, hands-on activities in alignment with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) criteria

Graduate Fellow Profiles


Former Scientist in Residence Fellows

  • 2011-2012 Aubrey Lashaway, M.S.
  • 2012-2013 Catalina Cuellar Gempler, Ph.D.
  • 2013-2014 Gene Oh, M.S / Stephanie Smith, M.S.
  • 2014-2015 Carrie Harris, M.S. / Meredith Evans, M.S.
  • 2015-2016 Craig Connolly, Ph.D student
  • 2016-2017 Meaghan Cuddy, M.S. student / Angelina Dicheira, M.S. student 


Scientist in Residence Events


To read more about some of the current SIR events, please select the event name below.  

Science Fair

4th and 5th Grade Science fair 2016

Thursday, November 10th 2016

The 4th and 5th grade students at Olsen Elementary School spent the first two months of the school year learning how to design and conduct an experiment and communicate their results using visual and oral presentations. Each student designed his or her own experiment and poster board to display to our panel of judges and their family and friends. Student projects covered a wide range of topics, from chemistry to biology to engineering! Our judges from the Port Aransas community and the Marine Science Institute commented on the impressive level of creativity and originality in the students' experiments, and the scientific literacy our students exhibited. 

Check out the article about the 2016 Olsen Elementary Science Fair in the Port Aransas South Jetty: http://www.portasouthjetty.com/news/2016-11-17/Youth/Projects_impress_at_OES_science_fair.html

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Congratulations to our Science Fair winners, special award recipients, and all of our students for your enthusiasm and excitement! We're looking forward to another great Science Fair in 2017.