Scholar educates about ocean life by drawing connections to culture, art, and STEM concepts

Education is the first step in giving communities the tools they need to make a positive impact on the environment around them. Abigail Seibel, a computer engineering student, spent the summer interning at Kaua'i Ocean Discovery, an outreach center that is part of the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

Two children facing away from the camera lean in front of a bench and work on small jigsaw puzzles. From the other side of the bench, Abigail helps one of the children, gesturing to a piece in front of them. She wears a fabric mask over her mouth and nose, as advised by the CDC during the covid-19 pandemic.

Abigail Seibel, a 2021 Hollings scholar, helps children put together turtle puzzles during turtle nesting season at Kaua`i Ocean Discovery. (Image credit: Jean Souza)

During her time at the outreach center, Abigail taught coding workshops, guided children in educational activities, and created 20 activity kits that focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) and Hawaiian culture to be used at the center. Each activity kit related to the ocean through culture, how math and science is used by animals in the ocean, or how technology could be used to explore the ocean. For example, one kit focuses on magnetism and how dolphins use the earth’s magnetic waves for navigation. Kaua'i Ocean Discovery’s volunteer staff will use these activities throughout the year to deepen the community’s connection to the ocean and foster lifelong learning. 

Appreciation and conservation of our ocean does not begin and end with marine sciences. The ocean is one of our biggest assets, and in order to know how to use it sustainably we need to begin to see how culture, engineering, technology, and math all have a place in conservation and ocean sciences

Abigail Seibel, 2021 Hollings scholar
Abigail poses at a desk with a laptop open to a design program. The desk and its surroundings have decorative figures that give the appearance of a marine science outreach center.
Abigail Seibel, 2021 Hollings scholar

Abigail Seibel is a 2021 Hollings scholar a computer engineering major at the University of Nebraska.