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Sea Researcher Lassos Internet and the ‘Marine Science Educator of the Year’ Award

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    By Annette Gallagher
    UM News


    David Shiffman engages students in a discussion via Skype about ocean conservation.

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 26, 2014)—David Shiffman is the Florida Marine Science Educators Association’s (FMSEA) John Beakley Marine Science Educator of the Year. A third-year Ph.D. candidate at the Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, Shiffman was honored Saturday at the annual FMSEA meeting in Panama City for organizing a conference on using the Internet to educate the public about ocean science and reaching more than 500 schoolchildren, in person and via Skype, to talk about sharks and ocean conservation.

    The FMSEA began recognizing the outstanding marine educator of the year in 1986, in honor of John Beakley, a marine science resources teacher in Palm Beach County and one of FMSEA’s founders. It is awarded annually to an educator who has demonstrated dedication to promoting and developing marine science in Florida.

    “Billions of people rely on the oceans for food and employment, and we’re in danger of losing many of these critical resources due to mismanagement,” Shiffman said. “It’s so important for marine scientists to talk to the public about these issues, and I’m grateful that the University of Miami has given me a wonderful platform to do that. I am honored and humbled to receive this award from FMSEA, and I thank my colleagues at the University of Miami for their advice and support.”

    Shiffman’s advisor, Neil Hammerschlag, who holds dual appointments at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and the Abess Center, has worked closely with Shiffman through the R.J. Dunlop  Marine Conservation Program. He lauded Shiffman for his commitment to “educating the public of all ages about marine conservation issues using a variety of innovative tools, including blogs, social media, and workshops, as well as both in-person and virtual presentations.”

    “I am especially thankful for the great job he has done in helping train some of the new students in my lab on our research and outreach techniques,” Hammerschlag said.


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