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Dead Reckoners Celebrate Year of Marine Study

Students present hands-on research projects

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Norwalk, CT | Added on June 12, 2014 At 08:56 PM

"When people think of science they think of a scientist in his lab doing something. People might not like it very much. These types of jobs are very hands on," said Juan Rosales, a member of Dead Reckoners program from Brien McMahon High School.

They are called the Dead Reckoners, and since September, they have been developing key science skills and learning about professions in the marine world.

"Each group of students - about  4 or 5 of them - they each picked their own career. Some of them picked the same ones so they did sub careers. They did reseach on it and then they built the diorama, depicting what the job is all about," said Kerry Johnston, an educator at the Maritime Aquarium with the Dead Reckoners program.

The forty 9th and 10th grade students from Brien McMahon and Norwalk High School are a part of an after-school program at the Maritime Aquarium that is the entry-level component of a larger program called TeMPEST (Teen Maritime Program Emphasizing Science & Technology).

It's goals are to promote students' STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) literacy, prepare them for college and make them aware of various career opportunities in the sciences.

Nathaly Hernandez, a member of Dead Reckoners program from Brien McMahon High School said, "Science is such a broad area in which you can study and many students don't know that. Going into biology or chemistry at school, many students don't want to take that because they think it's hard. This is a fun was to learn."

"Besides it looking good on a college application, it's always really fun to work with animals and to work at the Aquarium," said Kiara Baguio, a member of Dead Reckoners program from Brien McMahon High School.

Thursday night, the students showed off dioramas they had worked on for several month, depicting various maritime careers.

Kiara Velazquez, a member of Dead Reckoners program from Brien McMahon High School said "I want to be a marine biologist. When I heard about this program, I said to myself this is a good chance to go and learn more about it and see if I actually want to pursue this career. I told the I wanted to be a marine biologist and they helped me to become a volunteer here, so now I volunteer and do the program as well.

A $26,000 grant from The Fairfield County Community Foundation helped the Aquarium to launch the program with 10 students in the 2012-13 academic year.  A $150,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation will enable the Aquarium to continue and expand TeMPEST over the next three years, with the hope of involving as many as 120 students. 

The dioramas will be on display in the Aquarium throughout the summer.

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