Photo of two silhouetted people walking along a beach in the morning, with the sun shining brightly into the camera. Their footprints are clearly visible on the sand of the beach.

Bright Spots & Barriers: Taking Action for Justice, Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity in California’s Ocean Sciences

We will convene a series of roundtable discussions to identify successes and foster solutions for empowering a more inclusive and diverse next generation of scientists and professionals.


As coast and ocean science researchers, practitioners, and advisors to California, we acknowledge that credible and legitimate science advice and effective solutions can only come from a science community and workforce that is reflective of California’s diversity. Underrepresentation due to the historical exclusion and marginalization of racial and ethnic minorities in STEM is stark and persists into the workforce. Despite an upward trend in overall degrees granted over the last few decades, the ocean sciences continues to be one of the least diverse STEM fields. California needs diverse ocean leaders.

Ocean Science Trust is forming a new partnership with the San Francisco State University Estuary & Ocean Science Center (EOS Center) and University of California, Davis Coastal & Marine Sciences Institute (CMSI) to further understand successes and identify continued needs in the design and uptake of programs and initiatives to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the coastal and ocean sciences in California’s universities. Supporting graduate education to strengthen the links between ocean science and management is a core element of each of our missions and mandates. Today, effectively executing this mission demands an understanding and focus on justice, diversity, equity and inclusion in coastal and marine science education.

This project will identify, explore, and elevate ‘bright spots’ or common denominators of institutional advancement in improving justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. We aim to cultivate dialogue between non-traditional collaborators to produce actionable recommendations and catalyze the communication and implementation of new initiatives across the ocean science communities in California.

Convening Roundtable Discussions

Ocean Science Trust, in collaboration with the EOS Center and the CMSI, will be convening a series of roundtable discussions with CSU/UC leaders and diversity representatives, research and training funders, faculty, student association representatives, and higher education policy professionals. These roundtable discussions will focus on three main themes:

  1. The Student Experience to highlight successes and challenges with recruitment, retention, culture, mentorship, curriculum development, belonging, and more.
  2. Research and Training Funding to identify more equitable and inclusive funding mechanisms, practices, applications, and private/public funding systems.
  3. Career Pathway Development to illuminate career pathways and connectivity including access to professional experiences such as internships, fellowships, and addressing hiring and selection practices.

Steering Committee

We will conduct this project by drawing on the breadth of expertise outside of ourselves, forming a Steering Committee of leaders and change agents to provide guidance on designing an inclusive and equitable process.

Committee Members

Davis Asai, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Jeanette Davis, NOAA

Laura Good, CSU Monterey Bay

Carole Hom, UC Davis CMSI

Lekelia Jenkins, Arizona State University

Randall Hughes, Northeastern University

Kate Lowry, Science Philanthropy Alliance

Anne-Marie Núñez, Ohio State University

Karina Nielsen, SFSU EOS Center

Craig Strang, UC Berkeley

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