National Ocean Sciences Bowl Winning Team
Santa Monica High School's regional Ocean Sciences Bowl team, from left to right: Derek Wen; Addie Lloyd; Nanki Chugh; Ryu Akiba; Josh Sheng; and Coach Ingo. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl, coordinated by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, is in many ways similar to the National Science Bowl, but focuses specifically on ocean-related topics. The competition is comprised of three elements: a round robin competition, critical thinking based team challenge questions, and a double elimination competition. Student teams compete nationwide, answering questions about biology, chemistry, geology and physics of the oceans, as well as navigation, geography and related history and literature.

Santa Monica High School, based in Santa Monica, California, won this year’s National Ocean Sciences Bowl regional competition. The competition was held on Saturday, February 24 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. It was the 19th year that JPL has hosted the event.

On April 19th, 2018, the team members travelled to Boulder, Colorado to compete in the National Finals of the 21st Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl.  Santa Monica finished in second place out of the 23 competing teams that went to the Finals.  Additionally, Santa Monica High School won the Science Expert Briefing (SEB), which is a mock congressional hearing that enhances the critical thinking elements of the competition and focuses on real-world skills.

The top three teams at the Finals Competition were: 1st Place –  Montgomery Blair High School (Silver Spring, Maryland); 2nd Place – Santa Monica High School (Santa Monica, California); 3rd Place – Marshfield High School (Marshfield, Wisconsin).

The first and second place teams received all-expenses paid trips to Florida where they will visit SeaWorld, Mote Marine Laboratory, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, and Discovery Cove.

The National Ocean Sciences Bowl is designed to address a national gap in environmental and earth sciences in public education by introducing high school students to and engaging them in ocean science, preparing them for ocean science-related and other STEM careers, and helping them become knowledgeable citizens and environmental stewards.