Ocean Sciences Bowl
Coordinated by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, 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.
Santa Monica High School came out on top at this year’s regional Ocean Sciences Bowl tournament, hosted virtually Feb. 5 by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. The school has won the academic competition focused on the science and policy of Earth’s oceans every year since 2016.
Eight schools from Los Angeles and Orange counties competed this year. University High in Irvine came in second; Temple City High School placed third.
Also referred to as the Los Angeles Surf Bowl, the JPL event is one of about two dozen regional competitions across the country that send winners on to the national finals. The competitions are organized by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, a Washington-based nonprofit that represents ocean research and education institutions. This year’s theme is “Climate Change: Ocean Science and Solutions.”
Teams of four to five students have just 5 seconds to answer multiple-choice questions that are worth 4 points each. If the team answers a question correctly, they receive a bonus question worth 6 points and have 20 seconds to consult with each other before their captain must provide an answer. They also face a handful of “challenge” questions in which they can work together for a longer period to come up with an answer.
With volunteers coming largely from the Lab and University of Southern California, JPL has been hosting the regional bowl since 2000.
Santa Monica High School and the winners of the other regional contests will duke it out at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals, which is currently slated for May.
Thaddaeus Voss – National Ocean Sciences Bowl, 2008, 2009, 2010 Centerville High School
Signal Analysis Engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
He received his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California with a focus in Signal Processing. At JPL he is a Signal Analysis Engineer in the Flight Communications Systems section, which engineers cost-effective spaceborne communications systems, services, instruments, antennas and space radios for NASA/JPL and non-NASA missions. In this role, he provides telecommunications systems engineering support for all project lifecycle phases -- including early mission concepts, proposals, and flight projects -- ensuring that these spacecraft will be able to successfully send back to Earth the valuable science data they collect. Most recently he has supported the NISAR and Psyche missions.