Local organization is teaching kids about sharks
Minorities in Shark Sciences is fighting back against the systemic issues that keep children of color from the scientific field, especially marine biology.
When four Black female scientists in the Sarasota-Manatee area teamed up to create Minorities in Shark Sciences (MISS), they understood the positive impact they’d be making on the Black community. Children of color who attend Title 1 schools or have little access to the ocean are less likely to be in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs.
Co-founder Jasmin Graham, a biologist at Mote Marine Lab, also understands the systemic issues that keep children of color from the scientific field, especially marine biology.
“There are particular issues and traumas surrounding water for the Black community,” Graham explains. “There are societal factors that keep Black people from being outdoors and around water, including the history of segregated schools, standardized testing and college entrance biases and financial constraints.”
Minorities in Shark Sciences is an opportunity for kids of color to explore the ocean, maybe even for the first time. The organization meets at Manatee County parks like Robinson Preserve and Emerson Point Preserve for its free programs, which include Science by the Sea and an upcoming summer camp in June on Cedar Key, taking place at the Nature Coast Biological Station in Cedar Key, Florida. The idea is to invite groups typically excluded from STEM programs, such as LGBTQ+ youth, racial/ethnic minorities and kids from under-served communities.
Minorities in Shark Sciences Summer camp registration is open until March 15th