Lizzie Duncan is one of the scientists who will be working with participants in the Girls in Ocean Science Conference.

Lizzie Duncan is one of the scientists who will be working with participants in the Girls in Ocean Science Conference. (Courtesy photo.)

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s (SBMM) Girls in Ocean Science (GiOS) Conference for young women in junior and senior high school returns for a second year Oct. 1-2.

Expanded to two days in order to serve more students, the conference will take place Saturday, Oct. 1 for those in grades six-eight and Sunday, Oct. 2 for grades nine-12. Program activities that will take place 9 a.m.-3 p.m. each day include activities on boats in the Santa Barbara Channel.

This hands-on event will connect leading female scientists with up to 40 junior high school students and up to 48 senior high school students, all made possible by the Steinmetz Family Foundation.

Because women continue to be the minority in many fields of science, the conference and speakers will be encouraging the young women to consider pursuing science-based fields of study. The goal is to bring together bright minds to create idea-focused conversations and hands-on experiences that foster learning, inspiration and wonder.

Young women who love science or are beginning to show an interest will gain insight and work with potential mentors who can educate and guide them in pursuit of a possible career in ocean science.

Cost to attend the conference is $20 for SBMM members, $30 for non-members. Scholarships are available. Apply for a scholarship at

Each day, the girls will board either the Double Dolphin (grades 6-8) or a research vessel (grades nine-12) for a series of hands-on science laboratories and research activities with female scientists including:

Holly Lohuis — co-chair, marine biologist, naturalist, educator, GiOS committee chair, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum education committee, and Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Futures Society.
Penny Owens — co-chair, education and community outreach director, Santa Barbara ChannelKeeper.
Julie Bursek — team lead education and outreach, NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, studying offshore, shallow subtidal, and intertidal systems and developing floating laboratory educational and research programs.
Lizzie Duncan — research ecologist, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary; working to understand and monitor the resources of the sanctuary, balancing sustainable ocean use while ensuring conservation of the Channel Islands’ ecosystems.
Anita Giraldo-Ospina — post-doctoral researcher, UCSB, studying marine ecosystems and species that grow on the seafloor, such as algae, seagrass and coral.
Callie Leiphardt — project scientist, The Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory, developing science- and technology-based solutions to ocean problems.
Kelsi Rutledge — Ph.D candidate at UCLA, visiting researcher at Caltech, and National Defense Science and Engineering Fellow, studying the shape, biomechanics, and fluid dynamics of marine animals, with a focus on stingrays.

For more information and to register, visit or contact Lis Perry at or 805-456-8741.

Oceans cover more than 70% of the surface of the earth, provide 90% of the living space, and are integral to all known life on Earth. Scientists have come to understand and value the important fact that oceans sustain all life on the planet.

Oceans provide life-giving oxygen, regulate the climate, feed the world with needed protein, provide a place of spiritual connection, and sustain the delicate balancing act between living organisms and the physical forces of Earth.

Marine scientists are reporting that the oceans are warming and the warming seas are having a profound effect on oceanic processes and marine life. There is an urgent need to provide opportunities for young women in the community to learn all about maritime and marine science careers so they can feel educated and empowered to help turn this trend around.

For more about SBMM, visit or call 805-962-8404.