With The Flip Of A Switch…

Photo Courtesy of Cayusa via Flickr Creative Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been enamored with all things ocean. I expressed my passion as a scuba instructor, taking kids diving and showing them how remarkable different ocean ecosystems are. My favorite part was always witnessing “light bulb moments”—when they saw something underwater that really triggered their excitement. This moment is often comical: their eyes grow large behind an already magnifying mask, accompanied by a whole body shimmy, and maybe even an underwater squeal.

At COMPASS, we spend a lot of energy trying to create these “ah-ha” moments for our audiences. These moments can range from scientists realizing new ways to channel their passion such as through social media, decision makers relating to science in a way that resonates with them, or journalists discovering the next big science story. COMPASS spends a lot of time creating the space to spark these moments.  Often a difficult roadblock to overcome when understanding or appreciating the importance of science is a lack of connection to the subject or purpose. By understanding what a particular audience already cares about, we help scientists highlight their “so what?”—why should I care about this? When you create the connection to why they should care, we can turn on some light bulbs. [Read more…]

In Memoriam: Scott Nixon

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We at COMPASS are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Dr. Scott Nixon, from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. We are grateful to have had even a brief opportunity to work closely with him. Just last week, he and two of his long-time colleagues and friends worked with us to share their collective insight, gleaned from decades of painstaking work, with Congressional and agency staff. His passion and dedication for his work – and for sharing it with others – inspired us, as we know it has inspired generations of his students and colleagues.

Scott dedicated his life’s work (some 43 years as he told us) to building and sharing a deeper understanding of our relationship to our coastal ocean, particularly of Narrangansett Bay. As a scientist, Scott pushed outward the boundary of knowledge of estuaries and coasts. Through his participation in National Academies of Science studies and as director of Rhode Island SeaGrant, he put that knowledge and his scientific perspective to work for society.