Empowering the Blue Economy at OSM 2024

OSM 2024


The Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM) held in New Orleans the week of February 18-23 provided MTS with numerous occasions to engage with our members and connect with new colleagues who share an interest in our endeavors. 

Sunday proved to be a dynamic day with a trio of workshops. The initial workshop delved into "The Future Ocean Workforce," where participants actively engaged in discussions with an expert panel. The panel included Lisa Clough, Deputy Division Director for Ocean Sciences in the Directorate for Geosciences at the National Science Foundation, Natalie Zielinski, Product Manager at Sea-bird Scientific, and Chris Ostrander, CEO of MTS. The 2.5-hour discussion focused on new efforts to adapt ocean workforce development activities to meet the demands of the rapidly expanding Blue Economy. It showcased programs underway by MTS and marine science researchers, providing learners with opportunities to actively engage with the industry. 

The succeeding workshop, titled "Preparing the Ocean Technical Workforce," concentrated on our collective efforts to establish enticing, forward-thinking, adaptable, and inclusive educational opportunities. These initiatives aim to equip a diverse workforce with essential skill sets while fostering various pathways for engagement. Discussions prominently featured the newly introduced MTS Microcredentials initiative. Through collaboration efforts with community members, MTS is actively developing an infrastructure to issue a range for employment in the Blue Economy. The workshop presented the draft core competencies framework and outline the implementation approach, sparking vigorous discussions among attendees who provided constructive feedback. Furthermore, the Microcredentials initiative was highlighted in a dedicated poster session on Monday evening. 

The third workshop marked a collaboration between MTS's Women Leadership in Marine Technology and Science initiative and the Schmidt Ocean Institute. This session showcased a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon with the goal of advancing gender equity in ocean science. The necessity for such an initiative arises from the underrepresentation of women and non-binary individuals in the field of ocean science, with their achievements being even less highlighted in both traditional print and online media. The Edit-a-thon sought to empower volunteers interested in contributing to the narratives of accomplishments within this demographic by amplifying their online presence. Participants underwent training in Wikipedia editing before actively engaging in the task of editing, adding, or translating entries for women and non-binary individuals in the realm of ocean science. 

Following this workshop, a Town Hall titled "Here We Are!: Addressing the Wikipedia Gender Gap" took place on Tuesday. The event featured a panel discussion moderated by Hannah Nolan from Schmidt Ocean Institute. The panel included Nicole Williams, a representative from 500 Women Scientists, Catherine Ball, a Futurist, and Catalina Martinez, Equity Advisor for NOAA Ocean Exploration. 

The captivating panel discussion will be succeeded by another Wiki-Edit-a-thon session scheduled for March 8 (register here). This virtual session is open to all who are interested. Attendees will receive instructions on creating new entries and editing existing Wikipedia articles, along with some time to initiate their entries. While a list of suggested individuals deserving of Wikipedia entries will be provided, participants are encouraged to advocate for and contribute to the profiles of individuals they personally wish to highlight. 

On Tuesday, February 20, MTS and NOAA co-organized the first NOAA Accelerator Kick-Off event in New Orleans. former MTS President and Administrator of NOAA, Dr. Rick Spinrad, provided opening remarks on the importance of this program. The 16 awardees participated in discussions around ocean renewable energy, monitoring of coastal and ocean carbon sequestration, hazard mitigation, coastal resilience, and ecosystem services. 

MTS also hosted a booth in the Exhibit Hall with the aim of raising further awareness about the society and fostering connections with our current individual, institutional, and corporate members. In conclusion, the Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans provided a rich platform for MTS to actively engage with members and forge connections with new colleagues who share our passion for advancing marine technology and science. 


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