Welcome to the MBC “Summer Course!”

In Articles by hmtannenbaum

When we say the MAS MBC program is accelerated, we mean it! The MAS MBC program starts with an intensive, 16-unit 10-week course, with runs Monday – Friday, from 8:30am – 4pm,  which we affectionately call The Summer Course.

Get your reef-safe sunscreen and reusable water bottles, and strap in to learn what the Summer Course is all about!

Big picture: The Summer Course is intentional and intensive!

We have no time to waste! We seek to provide MBCers with as many opportunities as possible in 12-months. This starts with the Summer Course, during which students will hear from 80+ guest speakers, from SIO faculty and researchers, to scientists at NOAA and other Federal and State Agencies, to leaders of Kumayaay and Chumash tribes, to founders of marine non-governmental agencies, filmmakers, MBC Alumni, and so many more!

The average time since undergrad in the 2023-2024 cohort is 7 years! The intensity of the Summer Course helps MBCers get back into the swing of academia, and prepares them for the rigor of graduate-level courses at Scripps Institution of Oceanography for the rest of their year.

MBCers come from all different backgrounds and disciplines. Some students will have a background in marine, or environmental science, but we also have folks who have degrees in journalism, economics, policy, IT and technology, communications, and more! The Summer Course provides all the MBC students with a baseline of foundational knowledge on marine conservation and the current state of the oceans.

(Photo by Hannah Tannenbaum. The MAS MBC Class of 2024)

Diving In: What does the Summer Course actually look like? 

Each week of the Summer Course has a different intention and focus, with relevant guest speakers, labs, field trips, panels, and more!

Each Summer also has an overall theme, which can frame some of the topics during each week, and also provides the theme for an overall group-project competed throughout the course of the Summer.

The 2023 Summer theme is Extreme Environments! This year, MBCers will work in groups throughout the Summer to create short-films on Extreme Environments. Films will focus on Extreme Environments such as Polar, Intertidal, Deep Sea, Wetlands, Coral Reefs, and Microorganisms. Their films will be interdisciplinary, and inclusive of the topics covered of the 10-weeks of the Summer.

Week 0: Orientation. Orientation gives students an Academic and Summer overview, and emphasizes diversity, equity and inclusion in the MBC program.  Students are exposed to UCSD and SIO resources,  and we facilitate a safe space for the MBC cohort to get to know each other and become a cohesive unit.

(photo from Nicky Rosenberg. During Orientation students work with acting coach, Sean Cook, to build trust, openness and vulnerability)

Week 1: Science Communication. We start the program with a focus on simple, concrete stories, and creating effective science communicators. Students complete their first presentations, receive feedback from their professors and classmates, and turn around and complete their second presentations. We continue to reinforce the principles of science communication from week 1 throughout the rest of the year.

Week 2: Biodiversity Week. MBCers start engaging with more science and scientists directly, from overviews on Taxonomy and the Tree of Life, to detailed lectures on Ichthyology, Marine Mammals, Deep Sea Biology and so much more. Learning objectives are supported by lab exercises, and continued exposure to resources at SIO including the Scripps Collections, the WAVE lab, and the Birch Aquarium. 

The Summer Course is facilitated by MAS MBC program staff, especially our Summer Course Coordinator, Alex Thornton (MBC 2014), and our Summer TA, Nicky Rosenberg (MBC 2023). They take all the complicated coordination of the Summer Course, and contextualize and make digestible all the disparate speakers and activities so students achieve their learning objectives. Thanks Alex and Nicky! 

(Photo from Nicky Rosenberg. Nicky on left, Alex on right)

Want to hear more about the following weeks of the Summer Course? Stay tuned, as we will continue to post updates as the 2023-2024 MAS MBC cohort digs deeper into the Summer!