Where are you from, and what is your role in Extreme 2004?
live in Bethel, Connecticut. I'm one of two shipboard education
coordinators for Extreme 2004. I wrote the curriculum materials
in 2003 and for 2004 also.
What questions are you trying to answer and why?
I'm a writer, illustrator, and educator. Although I'm not a classroom
teacher, I have frequently been involved in teaching writing -- including science
writing -- to kids, and I have written and contributed to classroom materials,
magazine articles, and books about science.
have a passion for ocean science and
have written five children's books that focus entirely or partly
on our understanding of the ocean. I almost always look at
science through someone's eyes. I've interviewed and written
about quite a few scientists, and their fascinating lives and
dedication to their work has made me think there's a big gap
between what we learn about science as children and what life
in the sciences is really like. I love to talk to scientists
about what they do, use the information to add to my own knowledge,
and turn around and share what I've learned with kids through
my writing and pictures.
thrilled to be going on this voyage because it is an opportunity
to make discoveries — first hand! — about how research at
sea works. I want to know: who are these scientists? What
are they trying to find or find out? How do they interact
with each other? and also, What is it like to be in the middle
of the ocean? Will I feel very far from home? What kind of
experience will it be? What will the stars be like? What will
the sounds be? Will I get seasick? Will I see flying fish?
Why is this research important? What are the benefits?
I think people are born just naturally in love with their world, curious
about how it works, and eager to get involved. I hope my work —
the stories and pictures I share about the science that happens on
Atlantis -- will get kids excited about the ocean, the vents, and
the discoveries the scientists are making. And I hope they will be
able to see that real, regular people can get involved in wonderful
things — including the kids themselves.
What is your background and what lured you into marine science/education?
received my degree in education from Syracuse University and
went on to work for Scholastic Magazines. I quickly realized
that of all the writing I did, the science articles I had
to write were my favorites. Scholastic always wanted quotes
in the articles, and I Iearned not to be shy about finding
out what scientists were working on in different areas, calling
them up and interviewing them. Sometimes the scientists thought
what they were working on was too complex for kids to understand,
but I would always say that this was their chance to turn
young people on to the kind of science they were involved in,
and they would figure out a way to explain their work. I found
out that I could be a link between curious kids and scientists
working on the cutting edge.
a while, I found I was doing enough research into magazine
article topics to write a whole book, so I started writing
whole books. This required learning a lot more science, and
I've done tons of reading and research to add to my understanding,
as well as talked to many more people in the sciences.
I worked on the Jason Project, started by Robert Ballard in response to
thousands of letters he received from kids interested in his discovery of the wreck
of the Titanic. That fed my certainty that, if students were directly
involved in science that was actually happening (not only the results of work that
had been done in the past) that they would be as excited about it all as I was.
I've continued this sort of independent study about science,
especially ocean science, and also about how kids can be invited
more energetically to get into the sciences. Right now I'm
working on illustrating a book about how people and animals
navigate in the ocean. Research for this book led me to the
Extreme 2004 project and an invitation to work on the curriculum
materials. Going on the actual research cruise is a dream
come true and will very likely be the subject of a book in